by Mary Burt

Our culture is diseased. Yes, it is sick. I’ve always suspected as much, but recently had it confirmed by a book called Pathologies of the Modern Self (NY: New York University Press, 1987). Although I only read editor David Michael Levin’s introduction, I learned some pretty harrowing things. Levin asserts that, following the death of God, Western culture has brought about “the destruction of our faith in ourselves” (ibid., 21). He goes on to say that the nihilism that pervades our culture “is not just a sickness of the modern Self, but is also a distinctive affliction of our historical embodiment

Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth!

Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth
by Kim Cooper

If you do not wish to have your illusions about bubblegum destroyed, you should read no further than this paragraph. The chapter that follows is an exploration of the dark side of a genre which, to all appearances, dwelt entirely in the light. If you still cling to the notion of a happy world composed of sugarcone hills and chocolate milk streams, where cotton candy robins pluck gummy worms from shredded-coconut lawns (and then kiss them kindly and return them to the soil), and the wind blows a lovely scent of peppermint and spice, well, I don’t want to be the one to take that away from you. Don’t worry, your happy candy world is still there, and there are no shadows on the lawns. Now turn the page, quick, before you’re ensnared by my evil heresies.
-The Editrix

Bubblegum music was much maligned in its brief heyday (I968-69), and is pretty much ignored or despised today. A Los Angeles oldies station was recently launched with the slogan “No bubblegum, and no weird stuff.” (To which I responded, “In that case, I’m tuning out!”) Such derision is a pity, for the oddball recordings of the 1910 Fruitgum Co., Archies, Ohio Express, Lemon Pipers, Banana Splits, et al. are quite fascinating, in addition to being catchier than a huge yawn. Emerging out of a producer-driven system that makes Phil Spector look laid-back, bubblegum was made and marketed for a powerful new demographic: the pre-adolescent with cash to burn. Someone should tell Arrow-93 that these kids are all growed up and listening to oldies radio today.

In the late Sixties the American economy was in great shape, and for the first time a whole generation existed that knew nothing of deprivation. Their parents remembered WW2 and perhaps the Depression, and wished to spare their own progeny such pangs. And in direct response to this economic force emerged a startling variety of kiddie-driven commodities: comic books and skateboards, goofy plastic paraphernalia, half-length lovebeads, Sea Monkeys, and a whole new kind of rock and roll.

Bubblegum, however, was meant from the start to appeal to the eight-year-old of the house. It was the rare bubblegum album that had an accurate track-listing on the jacket

An Informal History of Bubblegum Music

An Informal History of Bubblegum Music
by Carl Cafarelli

“When Buddah Records was formed two years ago, most songs were about crime and war and depression. At the time we felt there was a place for a new kind of music that would make people feel happy. So we got together with two talented young producers named Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz who had an idea for music that would make you smile. It was called ‘bubblegum music.'”
The above quote, taken from the liner notes to a circa-l969 sampler LP called Buddah’s 360 Degree Dial-A-Hit, gives us both a succinct statement of intent for the critically reviled ’60s pop music phenomenon called bubblegum and an equally-succinct recap of the genre’s origin.

Although bubblegum has gained a certain cachet of cool in some circles over the past few decades (while remaining a pop pariah in other circles), during its original heyday it was viewed strictly as fodder for juvenile tastes, pure pabulum for pre-teen people. Furthermore, the music was blatantly commercial at a time when such materialistic goals were deemed unacceptable by an emerging counterculture. Bubblegum music held no delusions of grandeur, nor any intent to expand your mind or alter your perceptions. Bubblegum producers only wanted you to fork over the dough and go home to play your new acquisition over and over to your heart’s content (and, no doubt, to your older brother’s consternation).

Bubblegum is absolved of any perceived counter-revolutionary sentiments because it was so damn catchy. Once

Ten Commandments of Bubblegum

Ten Commandments of Bubblegum

Thou shalt dance to the groovy beat and the beat shall be within thee.

Thou shalt be animated, or it that is physically impossible, aspire to that condition.

Thou shalt fixate on the oral stage, honey thy words with the lip-smacking treats, candy-coat thy innuendo and make with the bubble entendre.

Honor thy Producer, for he is King of Kings, and maker of shiny sounds and keeper of the royalty checks.

Thou shalt market unto the pre-teen and yet render unto the teen what is due the teen.

Thou shalt make unto the compilation, which begat the K-Tel, which begat the Ronco, which begat the Rhino, which begat the Var