This week, we start with a new regular occurence on OSNews: the imaginatively named Week in Review, where we do a quick rundown of the preceding week’s most important news, and maybe add in a few new items that didn’t make the cut earlier in the week. We will close off each of them with My Take, a short random musing about whatever subject we please. This week, the news was dominated by MacWorld, Windows 7, and Palm.
Week in review
The week started off with MacWorld 2009, in San Fransisco, the last MacWorld attended by Apple. The company had already announced that instead of Steve Jobs, it would be Phil Schiller delivering the keynote. Various rumours had made their way onto the internet, but in the end, none of the extravagant ones had an bearing in reality. apple delivered new versions of iLife, iWork, and also updated their 17″ MacBook Pro offering to match the new features of the cheaper MacBooks and MacBook Pros, such as the aluminium unibody design. In addition, Apple claims a battery life of 7-8 hours, which is, by any standard, quite long for such a large and powerful laptop.
Some wondered why Apple didn’t make any statements regarding Snow Leopard, although I personally thought that it made sense for Apple to remain mum on the subject for now.
Moving on from MacWorld, we go to Las Vegas to join in on the gadget orgy known as the Consumer Electronics Show, where two important announcements were made: Microsoft launched the first beta for Windows 7, and Palm surprised everyone by showing off their new mobile operating system and phone.
The beta to Windows 7 was launched during Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s first keynote presentation at CES, a task which was previously performed by Bill Gates. During his keynote, Ballmer launched the Windows 7 beta to TechNet/MSDN/Connect, and promised a public beta by next Friday. The public beta arrived, but due to the fact that Microsoft announced a download cap of 2.5 million, the download servers were mashed into oblivion, and the company was forced to delay the public beta by about a day. Microsoft: BitTorrent, BitTorrent: Microsoft. I hope you can become friends.
MacWorld and Windows 7 were expected, but no one really foresaw the positive impact Palm’s new webOS and pre mobile phone would make in the media. Especially the card-based interface was met with positive responses from media outlets. Palm remained silent on some details, however, but Ars did dig up some information regarding the device and its SDK that Palm didn’t give out.
Apart from the above, Google’s Chrome also made the headlines with information regarding Chrome 2.0. Creative’s Zii platform barely made any ripples on other websites, but we found it pretty interesting nonetheless.
Something that didn’t make it to OSNews this week was the barrage of submissions regarding gOS 3.1 (SP1). I’ve ordered a set of parts to build a brand new computer from, allowing me to turn my current machine into a nice test rig. I promise to take a look at gOS 3.1 as soon as the new machine is assembled, and I free up my current machine.
Next up is My Take, which, as I already mentioned, will be a completely random musing about a random subject. It can be about music, television, film, or just plain ol’ technology.
My Take: bubblegum and balloons
Before the time pop started to take itself seriously, and before “indie” became a genre instead of just a contractual state (or lack thereof), there was a band that made the poppiest of pop music one could dream of. They didn’t take themselves very seriously, and just wanted to make music that was fun, catchy, well-crafted, and extremely listenable. They called their music style bubblegum and balloonfarm rock, and became one of the best selling duos of all time: Roxette.
Even if they won’t admit it or don’t even realise it, every band or artist that calls themselves “pop” today is trying to achieve the level of pop perfection that Roxette demonstrated on Joyride, their massive release of the early ’90s. Joyride has sold over 11 million copies worldwide (in total, Roxette has sold 55 million albums and 20 million singles). I consider the single Joyride to be the best true pop song ever made (YouTube link).
Today, pop musicians take themselves far too seriously, and the carefree, sunny, bubblegum, icecream, and play-in-the-park pop of the early ’90s has more or less died out. To illustrate what Roxette stood for, after they had recorded their Crash! Boom! Bang! album, and listened to the finished recording for the first time, they were disappointed and sad – not because the album was bad, but because it was “too grown up”. As Per Gessle put it: “I loved it, but there was too little P-O-P.” Angry, Gessle went home, came up with a “neanderthal riff”, and wrote Sleeping In My Car in about an hour – just the lighthearted tone that Crash! Boom! Bang! needed, and now a favourite among Roxette fans and the band itself.
I miss this kind of attitude towards music. Not everything has to be deep, intelligent, dark, depressing, and pretentious. Roxette never achieved the kind of success they had with Joyride, but did come close from a musical standpoint with the 2001 release of Room Service, which came eerily close to the pop perfection of Joyride. Today, Roxette’s members focus on solo projects.
Luckily, it seems that Alphabeat has the same kind of approach to music like Roxette has. Who knows, maybe bubblegum and balloonfarm rock isn’t dead after all.
Great summary of a very busy week for tech news; thanks. I would not normally post to say just that (and that IMHO Apple is either spreading itself very thinly, or losing interest in the Mac; though the stuff demonstrated in the keynote was pretty impressive, it wasn’t what was anticipated) but given your excellent review of what Roxette was all about I felt compelled to write. I remember listening to Roxette and playing on the new-fangled N64 “back in the day” and you’re right — they had a great style and I miss them — and will definitely check out Alphabeat.
I do think that Roxette did some very good “grown-up” songs — including C.B.B. of course but also (the original) It Must Have Been Love, The Rain and the sublime Here Comes the Weekend. It’s their upbeat and incredibly catchy hooks mixed with fantastic middle 8s that always manage to lift one’s spirits, though, eh!