Pop Muzik
by M

Album: New York London Paris Munich (1979)
Charted: 2 1

Songfacts®:

  • The name of M's album comes from a line in this song's chorus, "New York, London, Paris, Munich, everybody's talkin' 'bout pop music." That line reflects his world travels, as he worked in England, America and France before coming up with this song.
  • This song brought together a variety of influences, including a disco sound that was a hybrid of the European style popularized by producer Georgio Moroder, and the American disco from acts like Earth, Wind & Fire. The song is often categorized as New Wave, and considered one of the first singles in that genre to top the Hot 100. It was also one of the first synthesizer-driven tracks to top the chart.
  • M is the British musician Robin Scott, who wrote, produced and sang lead on this track. He attended Croydon College Of Art, where he became good friends with Malcolm McLaren, the man who brought us the Sex Pistols. In 1969, he got a record deal and released a folk album called Woman From The Warm Grass. He walked away from this record deal and turned to electronic music.

    After moving to New York and then back to London, he wrote a musical called Heartaches And Teardrops, and started producing other acts, including the band Roogalator. In 1977, he moved to Paris and worked with the female punk band The Slits. In 1978, he became "M" when he released the song "Moderne Man" on his own label: Do It Records. The song dealt with identity, so he decided to create the alter-ego M, which he called "a cynical reflection of contemporary politics." He also felt it had a strong curiosity factor, and he thought that symbols were trendy at the time. He explained that "M" could also mean "Mirror," which was reflecting the present.
  • This song is sung from the perspective of a disc jockey spinning records at a dance club. This being 1979, the Pop Music of the time was the finest disco in all the land. While on the surface, the song is about enjoying the sound and losing your inhibitions on the dance floor, M (Robin Scott) sees a far deeper meaning in the track. In disco music, he saw people coming together from all over the world, and the DJ was their voice of authority giving them direction. He explained to Melody Maker: "At the end of the track, I say 'Do you read me Loud And Clear.' It's very pushy. I'm not sure that I like to be spoken to like that, but I get the feeling that people want to know that someone is in control. I see everybody in the disco like being in an enormous army which is waiting to be told what to do. They've all rallied under this call, and now they're sweating out their hang-ups there."
  • M's backing musicians were known as "The Factor." He said they were more of an "organization" than a band.
  • M is very much a one-hit wonder in America, where this was his only chart single. He hit #33 in the UK with a follow-up song called "Moonlight and Muzak," and a 1989 remix of "Pop Muzik" made it to #15 there. M went on to collaborate with Oscar-winner Ryuichi Sakamoto on some lesser-known pop music.
  • The video for this song gave it a big push in the UK, where it aired on a popular program called The Kenny Everett Video Show. There weren't many video directors out there, so MCA Records hired a British TV producer named Brian Grant to make the clip. With the £2000 budget, he combined performance footage with some fancy (for the time) switcher effects to create one of the few early high-concept videos of the sort that David Bowie and Queen were making. Grant quickly got a lot more work as a video director, making promos for The Human League, The Fixx, Duran Duran and many others. When MTV launched in 1981, "Pop Muzik" was one of their most popular videos, as the song had already topped the charts and was much more familiar to Americans than most of the other songs they had to choose from.

Comments: 17

  • AnonymousBrendan from Cape Town .... Ray Parker Jnr took inspiration for His song Ghostbusters From Huey Lewis & The News’ Got A New Drug.... RPJ was actually successfully sued by Huey Lewis for plagiarism.
  • Es Zek from PenangThe voice and the sound very much like Falco or After The Fire.
  • Topher from MinnesotaSaying this song had a "crappy video" is kind of like saying Alexander Graham Bell had a "crappy phone". In 1979 they were basically inventing music video, so of course they're not going to be as good as today (or even as good as five years later.)
  • Maxine from LondonCan anyone recall the film or programme this song featured in?
  • Paul from Detroit, MiLoved the song. Great hook and it was addictive. Yeah, the video was lame, but who was doing videos in 1979? This was a couple years before it's time and I give M kudos for their effort.
  • Brendan from Cape Town, South AfricaRay Parker Jr. reworked the music and used it for the song "Ghostbusters"
  • Bob from Hallanedale, Flgood,catchy song with upbeat tones--crappy video--this guy looks like a Wall Street loser.
    This just shows you that many woman will go for anyone in the Rock and Roll business, even if they look like dweebs
  • Robert from Denver, CoThe bands original name was Q. They changed it to M later on and had to stick with it after this hit.
  • Dale from Santa Fe, NmRobin Scott describes the genesis of "Pop Muzik" this way:

    "I was looking to make a fusion of various styles which somehow would summarize the last 25 years of pop music. It was a deliberate point I was trying to make. Whereas rock and roll had created a generation gap, disco was bringing people together on an enormous scale. That's why I really wanted to make a simple, bland statement, which was, 'All we're talking about basically (is) pop music."
    from wikipedia which credits: superseventies.com interview
  • Nunzio from Darwin, AustraliaMoonlight & Muzak made No.40 for one week in Australia in Jan,1980.
  • Andrew from London, EnglandNot actually their only hit: the follow up "moonlight and muzak" charted at least in the UK
  • Mjn Seifer from Not Listed For Personal Reason, EnglandI'm a bit confused, after seeing the video.

    Is the song suposed to simply be a song about Pop? Ir is it taking the piss out of Pop?
  • Seth from Thornhill, CanadaThis has one of the worst music videos, but the song is so catchy.
  • Jeremy from Hopedale, MaU2 sang this song as an intro to there popmart tour (1996-1998).
  • Francois from Paris, FranceI have the vynil version which is a maxi single. On one side there are 2 songs (grooves) intertwined, not one after the other, so depending upon where you drop the needle on the outer side of the disc, you'll hear one or the other. (hope you see what I mean)
  • Adrian from Birmingham, EnglandThis was not M's only chart single in the UK, where it only reached #2.
  • Emery from London, EnglandRobin re-made this song in 2000 as "Pop Muzik Y2K".
see more comments

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