The Music Must Carry On, But Cannot Carry On
Published by Richard on
Pop music is based on the banalities of everyday life, and it attempts to convert these banalities in such a way that they make a break possible with everyday boredom. In pop music a hope is formulated that these banalities can become something more. For example, that a form of love exists that can release us from life's heavy burdens or burdensome lightness. And in the absence of thls release, pop music can remove some of the excess time, for 'there's still time to kill' (Up Against It). As long as the music lasts, we escape boredom, but, sooner or later, the music will stop. In the absence of meaning, the club becomes a place of refuge, and in dancing, embraced by the music, we gain a foretaste of a kairological eternity: 'When you dance with me, we dance forever' (Hit Music). But the Pet Shop Boys are also well aware that, ultimately, this is escapism: 'Live a lie, dance forever.' It gives some consolation, but no solution. The aesthetic revelation - like the anaesthetic revelation - is at most temporary. The Pet Shop Boys' album Bilingual takes us from an opening question in Discoteca: 'is there a disco around?' to the final song Saturday Night Forever, where one has entered the club. But as the penultimate track says: 'I know that it's not gonna last forever" They have a Schopenhauer-like belief in music but, like Schopenhauer, know that it will not last. The music must carry on, but cannot carry on, just like Beckett's voice has to carry on despite the fact that it cannot. When one is not out clubbing, there is nothing to do but to try to live an everyday life, in boredom and waiting, yet with hope. Music, or anything else in the aesthetic dimension, is not a solution in itself.