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December 29, 2005

New from Burberry: Wiffle Ball.

Juliet B. Schor's Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture is a fact-flying, stat-crunching look at bucks, brands, and the ad industry's unchecked encroachment into childhood brains. Disney, Nickelodeon, Fox, AOL. Sprite: Obey Your Thirst! [not your parents]. It's really scary, and I don't even have kids.

It's also fascinating, which I can say for the same reason. According to Schor (and I agree), kids are now the center not only of trendcasting, but consumer culture in general. The method: Adults don't matter; sell to the kids. Transform them into smiling, carbon-based popup ads and they'll do your work for you. As she writes, "Marketing is fundamentally altering the experience of childhood." Anybody want to play Running Bases?

Here are links to reviews of teen, tween, and dance-pop records that all figure into this big branding picture. Of course, you can also visit Radio Disney and throw up all over your monitor.

Stevie Brock - Stevie Brock (Wire, 2003)
"If you've ever wondered how Chicago's adult contemporary classic 'You're the Inspiration' would sound as interpreted by a pint-sized kid..."

Angel, Believe in Angels...Believe in Me (Midas, 2004)
"...Even the normally Midas-touched Matrix phones it in with 'Once Upon Our Time'..."

Play, Don't Stop the Music (Columbia, 2004)
"This time around, Play's people have gotten it right, or at least found an ingenious cross-branding opportunity."

Nikki Cleary, Nikki Cleary (Jive, 2003)
"...Cleary performs [Grease's 'You're the One That I Want'] with Dream Street dreamboat-in-training Chris Trousdale, who sounds almost exactly like Nikki."

Bérénice, Imperfect Girl (Universal International, 2003)
"Despite [some broad dance pop and electro-lite arrangements], [Imperfect] has no patience for the prudish game of hard-to-get that typifies American pop."

Harlemm Lee, Introducing Harlemm Lee (Wire, 2003)
"With [his] hard-luck story, Woo's rebirth as Lee might have been a real vindication..."

Jay-Kid, "Blame it on the Boogie/Who's Loving You" (Motown, 2003)
"No word on what Jay-Z has to say about all this..."

Brie Larson, Finally Out of PE (Casablanca, 2005)
"It's pretty standard fare for the Nickelodeon nation."

And, of course, JoJo.

JoJo, JoJo (Da Family, 2004)
"Throughout [the album] there's talk of sheezies, throwbacks in the mix, cell phones, and the boy next door jilting poor JoJo."

Your parents no longer put it together.


Other News

Jamie Foxx probably had one of the best years ever in 2005. So why is Unpredictable so utterly opposite its title?

Also, random review roundup:

Akron/Family - Akron/Family (Young God)

Josephine Foster, Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You (Locust)

"Wrest screams like an anarchic evangelist over a foggy midnight radio broadcast..." - is Leviathan's Howl Mockery at the Cross 2005's best Christmas album?

Coptic Light - Coptic Light (No Quarter)

Ellen Allien, Thrills (Bpitch Control



Posted by Johnny Loftus at December 29, 2005 12:47 PM