Daft Punk have a lot to answer for. First of all, their helmets are stupid. Secondly, they have to take some responsibility for the prominent use of obnoxious vocoder and autotune in pop-music. I doubt 'Believe' by Cher would have polluted our airways back in 1998 to quite the same extent if it wasn't for theuse of the singy-fixy machines they popularised. But as well as these things, two years on from the release of 'Get Lucky' the faux-funk revival steamrolls on through the 10's with no-sign of stopping.
Trends come and go in music. Normally by the time it can be identified as a trend people are bored of it and something else comes along and replaces it. Take for example the rise of the British guitar band of the mid-00's. On the back of the success of The Strokes and Interpol cominng from the New York indie scene, Britain fought back with bands like Kaiser Chiefs and Mercury-prize winning Franz Ferdinand. The scene exploded with countless bands. Simple choruses and plenty of sing-along 'la-la-la's. Then pop-music starting latching on to this scene before it reached an apex and exploded, but this time in a bad way. Now, there are very few of these bands still going. Bands like Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs keep going despite diminishing returns. Like Earth will do one day, it reached out into the stars and was eaten by the sun.
I can't wait for a similar death to meet this trend of 80's funk revivalism. However, it has already lasted longer than I thought and the success of the brazenly titled 'Uptown Funk' by personality impersonator Mark Ronson seems to be beckoning a continuation of the trend. Olly Murs, Take That, Jason Derulo and countless other pop schlock have shamelessly pumped out factory-line funk this year. But what troubles me most about this is that it isn't just pop chart music which is suffering from this. Indie bands such as Tame Impala and Everything Everything have both released good albums this year, but both are clearly heavily inspired by this trend. They both do interesting things with the template but I can't help but feel this temptation to be inspired by the past rather than looking to the future is hurting music at the moment. I mean even Nickleback have jumped on bandwagon. Nickleback! And if that isn't enough to stop a trend in its tracks I don't know what is.
My main problem is that trends should be, for better or worse, a representation of our times. Music should be used as shorthand in films to identify when it is set. That becomes complicated when the trend is based on another time period. There is so much to talk about in current society, the rise of the internet, the current ongoing political disillusionment, the dismantling of the NHS, Cecil the lion and Lenny Kravitz's flaccid cock, a this strain funk music may be catchy and upbeat, but it doesn't lend itself to dealing with complex issues lyrically. Pop is always going to be meaningless and that is part of its appeal, but this trend has made its way far too far into the indie scenes as well. It's all currently quite empty and vacuous.
Daft Punk doing funk is one thing but I don't think they aticipated how eager everybody would be to copy them. In their defence they do it well. But one thing I will never forgive them for is making Pharrell a family-friendly, Radio 2, free toy with your cereal, household name. For that Mr Daft and Mr Punk should be sent to the Hague for crimes against humanity.