It struck me this evening, listening to the radio, that it’s become cool to be a pseudo-blend. What?? you might ask. And the thought didn’t come to me exactly like that, as I only found out what a pseudo-blend was when I looked it up just now. But still, the news struck me when I heard a song by VCMG on the radio. If I were a younger person I might have been fooled into thinking that the composers behind the track were a pair of young people too. But no, this ‘new’ electronic dance duo turned out to be none other than Vince Clarke and Martin Gore, former bandmates from way back in 1980 when they formed Depeche Mode with Dave Gahan and Andy Fletcher, and frankly even less like young people than me. So that’s when I thought, how clever, they too have jumped (or maybe slid unconsciously) on the band wagon of the 4-piece acronym along with so many others right now.
Sorry if I sound like I’m jibbering. I will try and explain what I mean. I first noticed the stirring of this band wagon when I was writing up my thoughts on the Mark Ronson gig I went to last summer. One of his special guests was someone I’d not heard of at the time, Amanda Warner, who I understood was part of a duo called MNDR. Looking more closely at her website, I find that MNDR is basically Amanda Warner, and MNDR is basically some of the consonants in her name…Hopefully you are starting to get the picture.
Then there’s the also American group called MGMT whose songs Kids and Time to Pretend I liked, but other than that I didn’t know anything about. I didn’t know what MGMT ‘meant’ either (not having enough time on my hands to ponder on what every band’s name actually means), but looking it up now, MGMT are so-called because another band already existed with the original name The Management, hence like Eliza Dolittle they dropped their vowels.
Of course talk of the moment is MDNA, the new album by Madonna (another rather more famous American) which is due for release on March 26, 2012. I assumed that the pop diva was using her name in a pun with MDMA (or Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) but, knowing her for keeping with the times and for being more ‘on the pulse’ than your average teenager despite being in her early fifties, I now take this nomenclature as being part of the trend for pseudo-blends. In the wake of the first single, the slightly dubiously spelt Give Me All Your Luvin (featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.) being released last week, Madonna performed this weekend in the Superbowl halftime show. Talk of today is how M.I.A. is actually short for ‘Madonna Is Angry’, as Madonna is allegedly furious with M.I.A. for ‘flipping the bird’ during the song – for offending any young people watching by putting up her middle finger or, as some cynical journalists have suggested, for taking the attention away from the usually attention-grabbing headliner. Not technically a pseudo-blend, I would call M.I.A. some straight-up initials, or is it an acronym? Nonetheless, if my name was Mathangi Arulpragasam and I was a rapper and ‘visual artist’ I probably would shorten it too. And maybe making the crude gesture at an audience of 111 million American viewers was down to ‘on-stage nerves’ and ‘adrenaline’, and maybe it was because she realised she was unlikely to have a career of one year, let alone 30 years. You have to do something to get your name or at least your initials known.
I’m not quite sure what it is, but when it comes to the trend of the pseudo-blend, there’s something about all the Ms. If I were Vince Clarke I would probably have left Martin Gore go first. MGVC suits this trend so much better. I suppose it just doesn’t come so naturally to us Brits.