Certain Songs #1067: M – “Pop Muzik (Long Version)”

Album: New York * London * Paris * Munich
Year: 1979

An absolutely deft fusion of disco, pop and new wave — with the tiniest bit of rap tossed in there as well — M’s “Pop Muzik” was an insanely huge worldwide smash that somehow landed just this side of being a full-blown novelty number.

Or, it was the most fucking irritating thing you’d ever heard in your life, and I’m an asshole for putting it into your head again. Hee-hee. Because you’re totally stuck with it now, aren’t you?

But to me, there are so many great things about “Pop Muzik,” even beyond the classic simplicity of the chord changes. For one thing, dig how Robin Scott — the Mmmmmmastermmmmmmind behind the whole thing — spaces out his vocals at the beginning of each verse, only to accelerate towards the chorus.

And while the words are purposely nonsense — part of his point was that we’re always overthinking pop music — they’re full of alliteration and clever references.

Singing in the subway
Shovel with a shoeshine
Mix me a molotov
I’m on the headline
Wanna be a gun slinger
Don’t be a rock singer
Eenie, meenie, mienie, mo
Whichever way you wanna go

Talk about
Pop muzik
Talk about
Pop muzik

And then again, “Pop Muzik” isn’t really about the words, which is why its most transcendent moment — the bit that will forever solidify it to me as a song that’s worthy of its subject — is when Scott gives up on all of the irony and cleverness and goes directly to to the whole goddamned point:

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la

To me, it’s an absolutely transcendent moment, an glorious singalong that is pretty much the climax of the song, and because it happens halfway through, you spend the rest of the song in vain hoping for another one, but — especially on the long version — after that, it’s mostly reiteration of the title and the “New York, London, Paris, Munich” chant.

“Pop Muzik (Long Version)”

“Pop Muzik (Long Version)” Official Video (muddy sound)

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