“Boogie with a suitcase”
January 24, 2023 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Pop Muzik was a 1979 song, written by Robin Scott, sung by Robin and Brigit Novik, and drumming by Phil Gould (later of Level 42), as part of the M synth-pop project. The video, directed by Brian Grant, parodies the Saturday Night Fever opening shots. It reached #1 in 10 countries; Robin (75) still sometimes records. [Previously] [Performance] [Lyrics]
posted by Wordshore (57 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
I loved this song when I was a kid and I love it now.
posted by rednikki at 1:45 PM on January 24 [15 favorites]


First 45 I ever owned.
Looking forward to reading the talk about pop muzik.
posted by srboisvert at 1:48 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


U2 did a cover of this song that they played as an opener to the shows on the POP Mart tour. They used this recording of the song (literally this mix), and at the end of it you can hear it moving into the opening for MOFO. They walked through the crowd to the stage during this song, taking their sweet time, and then when they got to the stage they moved to playing MOFO live.

Anyway, I love this song, and I love it got a tiny new lease on life back in 1997 with U2.
posted by hippybear at 1:49 PM on January 24 [9 favorites]


I love this song, I've heard it a million times, yet I don't think I've ever seen the video for it. I remember my best friend in elementary school, Kent, telling me I "had to hear this new song" that he probably played for me on an eight track.

It was a hit before MTV was a thing but it really looks and sounds very much like it was made for MTV.
posted by bondcliff at 1:51 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I was in college when this came out. A friend and I were driving back from a late night party when the song came on the radio (college town=the only chance for good radio in indiana) and were both “wtf is this?!?! where can we get more?!?!” Great, great tune.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:10 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Any time I see or hear a list of cities, my mind takes me to this song and doesn't let me leave.
posted by PlusDistance at 2:13 PM on January 24 [10 favorites]


Ooh, I was 12 when this came out? What a perfect song to be obsessed with as a 12 year old. That guitar sound will never be topped.
posted by vverse23 at 2:18 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


One of the first songs I ever heard on Night Flight and I loved it the moment I heard it.

At least, that’s how I remember it.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 2:28 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


<3
posted by Splunge at 2:37 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Any time I see or hear a list of cities, my mind takes me to this song and doesn't let me leave.

New York, London, Paris, Munich...
posted by UhOhChongo! at 2:42 PM on January 24 [9 favorites]


dem lyrics tho'
posted by lalochezia at 2:43 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


M's second album, The Official Secrets Act was my jam for a while in the 80s. The track Working for the Corporation made a great match-up with Depeche Mode's Everything Counts. I'd often listen to both in the morning before heading off to what was my first corporate America job, right in the heart of Silicon Valley. Always got me in the proper frame of mind.

Scott also did some recording with Riuichi Sakamoto during this period. There was an album called The Arrangement and then another, with Adrian Belew, called Left Handed Dream.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 2:56 PM on January 24 [5 favorites]


Earwormed.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 2:59 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I always get this song confused with "Funkytown".
posted by The Tensor at 3:02 PM on January 24 [6 favorites]


In case anyone was wondering, the woman in the blue sweater singing the Pop, Pop...Pop Music refrain is Brigit Novik.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:14 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


I love this song and I don't know why I never explored more of his music.
posted by zzazazz at 3:21 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Scott also did some recording with Riuichi Sakamoto during this period. There was an album called The Arrangement and then another, with Adrian Belew, called Left Handed Dream.

Left Handed Dream includes the entirety of The Arrangement, which was merely an extracted EP containing all of Robin's vocal tracks from the album. Belew appeared on both.

My favorite M album is Famous Last Words, which careens heedlessly between genres and has some fabulously bombastic production. And a ridiculous guest list: Wally Badarou, Thomas Dolby, Yukihiro Takahashi (YMO), Barry Adamson (Magazine), Tony Levin (Bowie/Gabriel/King Crimson), Jamie West (The Fixx), Andy Gill (Gang of Four), and Mark King (Level 42), among many others.
posted by mykescipark at 3:53 PM on January 24 [6 favorites]


Had this 45 as a kid. When I finally visited Munich, all I could think of was that I have been to New York, London, Paris and Munich. And I visited them in that order! This song was going through my head a lot during that trip. Great tune.
posted by SoberHighland at 4:04 PM on January 24 [8 favorites]


When I finally visited Munich, all I could think of was that I have been to New York, London, Paris and Munich.

[Canadianfilter ahead] In the same vein, a decade ago I was flying to Prince Rupert BC but got diverted by fog to Terrace BC and we were bused to PR, perhaps a a 45-minute trip. I realized this song was going through my head. I could not work out why this would be but after a few minutes’ thought and a few more repeats, I think I worked out why;
Moose Jaw, Southview, Moosomin too,/
Runnin’ back to Saskatoon,/
Red Deer, Terrace, and a-Medicine Hat,
Sing another prairie tune.
That afternoon my unplanned arrival in Terrace checked the last one off that list for me. I had completed the punch card.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:30 PM on January 24 [7 favorites]


A parody exists, 'celebrating' Italian music and culture with a slightly different title. Finding it is an exercise for the slur-proficient reader.
posted by delfin at 4:31 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Everybody talk about mm pop muzik.


Funny how I was thinking about this song just last week. I think it was in a movie or video or something, and I went down the rabbit hole...reminded me of skating rinks and The Logical Song by Supertramp. Anyhoo, one of the 21 cognitive errors is the Baader Meinhof Phenomenon, and, well, here we are...
posted by Chuffy at 4:47 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


My ex swore that this song was about Baader-Meinhof/RAF. I still can find no evidence of that (I mean, Robin's explanation is pretty clear-cut) but I always think about that assertion every time I hear the song.
posted by queensissy at 4:51 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


WHOA - Chuffy! I was posting same time you were and just took a little longer to type. Do we have a Baader Meinhof phenomenon about the Baader Meinhof gang here?
posted by queensissy at 4:54 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


I have a 45 picture sleeve of this song that I bought in the 80s. I remember reading a snippet from some music mag in which Andy Partridge called this tune "a perfect pop song" and I felt like teenage me had been smarter than I thought at the time.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:13 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


If you need a song about the Baader Meinhof crew Brian Eno and Snatch have you covered - RAF
posted by thatwhichfalls at 5:14 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I've done two productions of Nunsense, one production of Nunsense II, and a production of The Sound Of Music, and let me tell you, my world was ENTIRELY FULL OF NUNS for many many months.
posted by hippybear at 5:22 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: ENTIRELY FULL OF NUNS
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:25 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


It just hit me what was nagging at the back of my mind as it ran this earworm over and over all afternoon - apart from the different keys, the bassline of I Want a New Drug works perfect with this tune.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:32 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I have loved this song since I first heard it and it's on almost every playlist I've ever made. It's on my list of perfect songs.
posted by ashbury at 6:01 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Saw this title and immediately thought, "New York, London, Paris, Munich..."
posted by praemunire at 6:26 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I just googled "pop music lyrics" and I guess there's a different song with the same name but VERY different lyrics and I was mightily confused for a bit.
posted by bondcliff at 6:51 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Right there with you, ashbury. This song is on my short list of The Greatest Songs Ever Recorded.

I used to show the video when teaching media history. It worked very well, I thought, as both the song and the video use new forms, technologies, and ideas to comment on the history of their respective media.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:24 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Worth noting that Ex-Girl does a kick-arse version of said tune.
posted by gtrwolf at 7:48 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


A childhood favorite that went mostly over my head, the song has aged beautifully.

Want to be a gunslinger? Don't be a rock singer.
posted by ipe at 7:56 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]




The 80s started in 1979. We also got:

Blondie Atomic
The Clash London Calling
Talking Heads Life During Wartime
The Knack My Sharona
The Flying Lizards Money
Tubeway Army Are Friends Electric?
Gary Numan Cars
The Specials A Message to You, Rudy
and tonnes of the best Devo, including Wiggly World
posted by Meatbomb at 11:37 PM on January 24 [19 favorites]


Desperately believing that there's someone with a giant soft lined basket offscreen to the right, catching those thrown 45s.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:01 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I got to see Ex-Girl do it in some random Hollywood venue. A co-worker's girlfriend was roommates with one of the members at a previous university. Great show, I went back to work the next day and ordered like three of their CDs.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:20 AM on January 25 [3 favorites]


> The 80s started in 1979.

All the best things got started in 1979, including me. Although this tune has aged somewhat better.

Maybe this explains why I'm an absolute sucker for that combination of besuited, over-serious flat affect and meticulously crafted synth-pop; I was literally born into it.
posted by parm at 2:46 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


The 80s started in 1979.

Historians sometimes refer to the Long '80s, a theoretically distinct cultural period which started as early as 1977, and ended as late as 1991.
posted by zamboni at 6:02 AM on January 25 [5 favorites]


Here's a cartoon from The New Yorker

I was looking for that very one last night to drop it here but could not find it. Good catch.

The 80s started in 1979. We also got:
...
Gary Numan Cars yt


It annoys me that Gary Numan is a fortnight older than Gary Oldman. That should be the easiest mnemonic ever, but it doesn’t work.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:28 AM on January 25 [9 favorites]


Man. I love that song.

It's still in my playlist.
posted by jaded at 7:25 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Historians sometimes refer to the "Long '80s", a theoretically distinct cultural period which started as early as 1977, and ended as late as 1991.

Hah; can associate with that. Everyone has their own starting point, but in retrospect for me the '80s started with a B-side(!) initially released on 1st May 1977 [more] [video]. I wonder the extent to which that track influenced Pop Muzik.
posted by Wordshore at 7:31 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


It annoys me that Gary Numan is a fortnight older than Gary Oldman.

Isn't that backwards tho?
posted by kirkaracha at 7:35 AM on January 25


Robert Palmer, "Johnny and Mary"
posted by kirkaracha at 7:35 AM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Just a little more 1979 for ya:

The B-52s Rock Lobster
Lene Lovich Lucky Number
XTC Making Plans for Nigel
Devo (on the heels of their 1978 Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! album) Secret Agent Man
Madness One Step Beyond
posted by Chuffy at 7:37 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


More on Pop Muzik, from Songfacts:

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."

...

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.
posted by Wordshore at 7:47 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


It just hit me what was nagging at the back of my mind as it ran this earworm over and over all afternoon - apart from the different keys, the bassline of I Want a New Drug works perfect with this tune.

Huey Lewis & The News sued Ray Parker Jr over the similarities in bassline between I Want a New Drug and Ghostbusters. The two songs were each released in 1984, so the very similar sounding Pop Musik seems to have scooped them both by five years.
posted by rollick at 8:11 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


where it aired on a popular program called The Kenny Everett Video Show

Core memory: UNLOCKED

I remember watching KEVS on, I think, WRC-TV (DC channel 4) in the late 70s/early 80s. Blew my early-teen mind.
posted by hanov3r at 9:08 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


apart from the different keys, the bassline of I Want a New Drug works perfect with this tune.

...and so, by extension, does Ghostbusters! :D
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:21 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


(Whoops, on non-preview I see rollick got there first.)
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:22 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Robert Palmer, "Johnny and Mary" yt

(Technically 1980.) One of the first videos I ever saw, in an era where they were rare and unpredictable things, seen by chance like shooting stars. I am almost certain it appeared on The All-Night Show where I would have seen it perhaps twice at most. Had I a time machine, I would have trouble explaining to my young self that I would see the video maybe one or two more times when in three years, a channel would arrive that was only videos, 24 hours a day. Then it — both the video and the channel — would fade from memory. But when you are as old as your grandparents now are, you can watch this and ten trillion other things on your phone, as much as you like. Yes, your phone. Or your tablet. Okay, where to begin with this...
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:16 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


When I finally visited Munich, all I could think of was that I have been to New York, London, Paris and Munich. And I visited them in that order!

Oh, I neglected to add in my CanCon rendition above that I have not been to Munich, but I have visited the other three in the prescribed order.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:16 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


I have only been to Munich, but I was there for a few weeks across the stretch of a year so I got to know it a bit. That was a lifetime or two ago, and I'm sure I wouldn't recognize anything now.
posted by hippybear at 7:30 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


I think I actually first saw the video on HBO or (more likely) Showtime, back in the day. This was when they still needed stuff to play between movies, so they would sometime play videos to take up said space (and this was pre-MTV). It would usually be stuff like Sheena Easton's "9 to 5 (Morning Train)" and other adult contemporary fare (don't remember seeing Buggles, much less Devo) but you'd occasionally get gems like "Pop Musik" as well.
posted by gtrwolf at 7:57 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


I think that I had this single, but I'm not sure. After watching this on youtube, it followed with a bunch of other great videos (Buggles, Human League, Peter Gabriel). I quit watching them an hour later.
posted by Spike Glee at 7:23 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


When I finally visited Munich, all I could think of was that I have been to New York, London, Paris and Munich.

My company is based in New York and we're opening an office in Munich. Getting this song stuck in my head has become a legitimate occupational hazard.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:08 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


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