Bop Or Not: Scissor Sisters’ “Lights”
I have learned a new word: bop. I had known this word, of course, but only in the following contexts:
- To “bop” out, as in to leave.
- To “bop” along, as in to enjoy listening.
- To “bop” with a rival gang, as in The Warriors.
This new iteration of the word is something different though. Rather than describing an action, it describes a type of song. As it was expertly explained to me by Amanda Mull, a bop is a song just shy of a banger, one that makes you want to dance in your seat. Although not further explained, a banger is presumably a song that, at a minimum, makes you want to get up out of your seat to dance. Describing a particular song as a “bop” is as good a musical term as I have ever heard.
Which brings me to the Scissor Sisters. I have written elsewhere regarding my love for what that band is capable of. “Take Your Mama” might be the single best song I have ever heard. However, having spent a lifetime being burned by bands who simply proved incapable of delivering second and third and fourth tracks as good as their first one, I have shied away from exploring the band’s albums. Is this monstrous way to listen to music? Yes, probably, and especially in a modern age wherein music is so readily and easily available.
But mercifully, I happened to stumble onto a pile of Scissor Sisters’ CDs at a Goodwill over the weekend, and because they were cheap, and because I only have so much patience for working out other ways to listen to music while driving to work, I bought the pile and discovered, just a few tracks after “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” -- which is itself an incredible track -- a song called “Lights”. It’s this one here:
My father was a music history professor. Occasionally, he was pressed into giving lectures during Parents Weekends. Rather than lecture on specific research topics, he spent his allotted time emphasizing the cultural importance of music itself, noting that after we satisfy our most basic human needs, music is one of the very next things that we all go searching for. Perhaps this explains the genuine pleasure that results whenever we discover new music. There is a particular rush that accompanies hearing music that you immediately want to hear again.
That was what happened to me hearing “Lights” yesterday. Forget the rest of the album. Forget the rest of the pile. I just wanted this song, over and over and over. And so it was to be, as I have listened to this track roughly eleventy-billion times since first discovering it. As whatever we once had slowly fades away to age, I genuinely hope that the pleasure that results from new music is the last thing to go. A world without such happiness wouldn’t be much of a world at all.
So that then is the judgement: the Scissor Sisters’ “Lights” is a bop.