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Friday, December 30, 2005

Get Off My Lawn You Damn Indie Kids

This nice blogger has posted their top 50 music videos for 2005 (you can watch them all right there!). At this point, I'm going to have to admit that I just don't get rock music anymore. Every month or two I'll go and check out whatever bands the kids seem to be talking about, and discover that they are, in fact, boring as hell. Tom Vek? Boring as hell. Animal Collective? Boring as hell, and also noodley and irritating, like a jam band for people too hip for jam bands. The Arcade Fire? I really wanted to like this one, but no, doesn't really move me. I also maintain a special kind of hatred for Bright Eyes, the wanker.

There are two related factors at work here. The first is the obvious one: age. Damnit, I spent the 90s pretending it was still the 80s... all these retro 80s, post-punk revival bands (not so much the bands listed above, obviously) sound like the music I used to really love, but with the drums and bass mixed way out in front, 2000's-style. Sure, Interpol is ok, but why would I want to listen to them over Joy Division? Franz Ferdinand, they're actually a pretty good band, but Gang of Four's lyrics were much smarter.

I hate this kind of reasoning. I am aware (and approving) of the fact that advancements in music come from a new generation's attempts at imitating what has gone before. But I've already invested a lot of time into generating meaning for myself with those older bands. They mean something to me because their songs spoke to me at a time in my life when the emotional messages of rock bands resonated with my experiences. A time when I was growing up. Which brings me to the second factor.

I've spent this latest decade listening almost entirely to pop music (not counting all the classical and jazz). By "pop" I don't mean top 40, I mean music that does not generally purport to bear deep meaning. All manner of electronic dance music, IDM, reggae, ska, and rocksteady, hip hop and dancehall, bossa nova, western swing... I want an open-ended template I can project all kinds of emotions on to, or something that will make my toes tap. At this point the idea of directly communicating deep, personal emotions through the lyrics of a song usually feels embarrassingly egotistical and adolescent to me. I really couldn't care less about how some whiny guy's relationship went. When I hear Bright Eyes crooning about his oh-so-important emotions, I just want to throttle him. Or take him out dancing.

All music should be about partying. If I ever hear a lyric deeper than "put up your hands if your body look good" again, it will be too soon. Keep in mind, this is coming from someone who at one point owned every LP, EP, 12", and 7" ever put out by The Cure. It's likely I'm just making up for my past listening behavior, going from one extreme to the other.

By the way, I don't really think all music should be about partying. I just like to say that around other music lovers in order to provoke fun arguments about the nature and purpose of music. So if anyone out there wants to point me towards some of their favorite new bands, keeping my cranky little rant in mind, please do so. I think I'm probably missing out on some great music.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't want to talk to me. I listen to Coheed and Cambria and Death Cab for Cutie.
(I also listen to all the old stuff I used to listen to...which includes Pearl Jam! Yeah, I suck. Please don't throttle me. Remember, we've been friends a long time and I remember your Cure phase! ;-p)

Ooh. And The Arcade Fire does nothing for me either.

5:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Z, come and check us out then... http://www.bomb-factory.co.uk

5:55 AM  

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