We live in a pop culture of weird, and for whatever reason the only thing that is talked about is shock value. Lady Gaga’s videos were the new Madonna’s–but oh wait, Madonna is still trying to be relevant and be risqué.
When it comes to music video culture, weird rules out. And when the weird piques our curiosity, sales go up simply because the American public cannot resist looking. As proof, look no further than Lady Gaga’s latest involvement, American Horror Story: Hotel. The show’s negative reviews after the first episode appeared to prove that story and substance still play an important role in the consumption of art, but nonetheless the second episode earned the second best rating ever for a telecast on the Fx network.
Meanwhile, Madonna is trying too hard to remain relevant with the same weird formula that she has relied on in the past, and, alas, it is working. Her new video has close to 134 million views. What really is depressing about her new effort is the desperation. The fact that she felt the need to include dozens of celebrities lip singing “bitch I’m Madonna” is just a really sad effort to create popularity. Enya, on the other hand, has not released an album in seven years and has the same number of albums sold as Beyoncé.
Granted, Enya has been around for much longer than Queen B, but in today’s day and age of trying to get rich as quickly as possible, her music feels like a cleanse, a baptism for all our sins.
“How long your love had sheltered me,” she sings, perhaps thinking upon how her loyal fans had given her enough wealth to lay low awhile. This might be reading too much into the lyric, but Enya has never been one to forget her fans. “Let me give this dream to you, each night and evermore,” she continues.
While Madonna and Beyoncé are praised for their studio productions and collaborations, Enya’s recording process takes an average of three years. This separates her from all of her peers. Taylor Swift is on her 1989 tour and is writing all of her new material while tired and on the road. She’ll release her next album as quickly as possible, as she has for all of her works. If other prominent pop artists took as much time as Enya to write, produce, and refine their music, the radio would be filled with lasting, meaningful songs instead of fads.
Enya has only released two songs from her forthcoming album, but it already feels like she is making a point: music is not meant to be fast food. The last time I consumed her music so readily was during a particularly stressful finals period in college.
And it is no accident that the last time I heard Enya’s soothing voice was during a family Settlers of Catan game. This is why she is the comeback artist of the year in November. We are going to stress out over the holidays and over life in general, but we should all take a moment and relax. Everything will work itself out and it will be fine.