0302: “Come See About Me” by The Supremes

Whenever you hear or read a complaint from someone about modern music that goes along the lines of “Today’s pop music sucks because it’s so manufactured” just run away from them. Run away from them because their point is bullshit. Their point is bullshit because it’s all just coded language for what they’re really trying to say, which is: “I don’t like anything new to begin with” and/or “The music that I was introduced to in my formative years matters more.” Either way, their argument whiffs of contempt for a newer audience but wrapped with a bow of believing in an authenticity that never existed in the first place; it’s a way of saying “Lawns were nicer when I was younger!” instead of yelling “Get off my lawn, you kids!” The proof of why this outlook is bullshit is Motown Records. The core philosophy of Motown Records was to treat making music in a similar vein to the assembly line model of mass producing automobiles. Songs at Motown were written (mostly) by the Holland-Dozier-Holland trio of songwriters, and then it would be passed off to another group of people to make the music, and then passed off to the band (who had little input most of the time) to perform, all while the CEO oversaw the production and operation divisions he created by specific design. Motown was a small Corporate America. And yet… the people who have a problem with Taylor Swift or The Artist Of The Moment don’t ever seem to have a problem with The Supremes or the manufacturing ethos of the label with which they were employed. (Motown even referred to its first headquarters as Hitsville U.S.A. for God’s sake; they branded their style of manufacturing.) So to say that your biggest qualm with modern music is that it’s too manufactured is bunk and, worse, transparently disingenuous. Motown was all about manufacturing and they churned out legitimate masterpieces and game-changing singles.[1] The early singles of The Supremes might not have had the focus testing arm of a One Direction album but they were in fact manufactured. And you know what? Who cares and so what. “Come See About Me” was and is pop nirvana, a warm and summery and light and breezy single that masks the sad lyrics—and it sounds pretty similar to another future single of theirs, “Back In My Arms Again” because, again, manufacturing. The music of “Come See About Me” is summer dresses and young love and lemonade on a hot day and the smell of rain from your front porch. It, like the first ten or so singles by The Supremes, is perfect. And it was manufactured. Made in America; the best side of capitalism.

[1] And the manufacturing that goes on today produces good music! Have you listened to 1989 by Taylor Swift or Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen? They’re really great!

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