Saturday, March 20, 2010

Soapbox #1

So I heard Broken Bells on the radio and thought of two things:

    “The High Road” sounds like a pretty standard song from Ian Brown’s solo career, (but with better song-writing). And “The Ghost Inside” sounds like an outtake from the Dandy Warhols’ 2004 album “Welcome to the Monkey House.”
    Upon these comparisons, my initial reaction is- “Well,  it’s not bad, but I’ve heard other bands/artists do it better.”
    However, I thought about it a little bit more. Really, James Mercer and Brian Burton have some good music here - (honestly, I think it’s 75% Burton, cause this guy seems to have the Midas Touch nowadays)……{cue production credits of Danger Mouse}……. But I’ll also say that James Mercer’s song-writing is a near equal in this collaboration.
    But why that reaction of “I’ve heard this before from another band that did this”?
    Well, it’s simple…….  There’s nothing new. Everything is a rehashing of influences.
    Now, this isn’t exactly a bad thing.  The thing that frustrates me is that people fail to see/hear the history of the music they’re currently listening to. When people listen to a song they really love and fail to realize that it’s clearly derivative of another band from 10 years ago, it seriously irritates the crap out of me!
     Now, there are casual listeners who wouldn’t understand this, and that’s fine. But I’ve known people who have the same love of music as I do, who don’t even comprehend this concept. Every piece of music we listen to has some form of history behind it.
    Example:  Muse has a distinct Queen fetish and they clearly listened to a lot of early Radiohead, (if you haven’t noticed this, then chances are you’re probably deaf).  Now, Muse sounds derivative  of both of these comparisons, yet they don’t sound the same as them. That’s the beauty of those influences, maybe you haven’t listened to Queen or early Radiohead - then Muse can be your gateway-drug to some other amazing music…
    More Examples:

    I could make a longer list, but the point is this:  Whatever you’re listening to now, there are some really great artists/bands behind them that you should check out. Stop just listening to music and find out why you like it. Do a little research, and you’ll be glad you did.

(And this blog’s Song Of The Week is:     The Killing Moon”   by Echo and the Bunnymen )
For all you Donnie Darko fanatics - like me…

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Guilty Pleasure

We all have them. Those things we enjoy that we wouldn’t tell our hipster Portland friends.
My top 5 Guilty Pleasure songs are:
1. “Mamma Mia”  -  ABBA
2. “Come On Eileen”   -  Dexy’s Midnight Runners
3. “Hot N Cold”  -  Katy Perry
4. “Semi-Charmed Life” Third Eye Blind
5. “Don’t Stop Believing”  -  Journey

And for God’s sake, don’t get me started on movies… That’s a whole other hideous list.
    Now, you have to keep in mind that I’m a bit of a music snob, and that I take great joy in listening to/finding obscure bands, etc…  The “I Found Them First” Syndrome. Yes, one of those people who don’t like it when bands they love become successful and get radio-play.
    So, for those of you that know me, you can see how deeply confessional this list is for me.
    I suppose the question I pose is “Why?” Do I enjoy hearing these songs because I have some referential point in my past that has become completely associated with these songs?  Well, yeah. Maybe. I’m pretty sure that’s the case with “Mamma Mia”, cause I automatically think of “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” when I hear it. - (See? Don’t get me started on movies….)
    Quite possibly, it’s just the catchiness of the song. In fact, I would say that’s probably 75% of the Guilty Pleasure. After all these years of hunting around for atonal, progressive, pretentious, indie-rock - Maybe I all I really want to hear is a good pop song. And I would say that qualifies as every song on this list.
    Now if I’m in a bar with my bandmates or (God forbid), other friends in bands, I’m not going to put a Katy Perry song on the jukebox and then proclaim to everyone that “it’s my jam!”  On the contrary, if one of these songs comes on overhead, I’m much more likely to sit there quietly and secretly enjoy it while finishing my beer.
    So what is the fine line between the Guilty Pleasure and Terrible Music?  Well, that would require another entire blog’s worth of discussion - and I’m not going to go into it here. What I will say on this point, is that you’ll notice nothing on my list, (nor in my entire CD collection), receives any airplay on CMT. And we’ll leave it at that…
    If I’m correct in my ponderings, I’d say that the Guilty Pleasure is an entirely subjective and individualized phenomenon to each person.  It also seems possible that we don’t have a choice in what becomes our Guilty Pleasure, being that it’s a combination of our past experiences and whatever we deem as ‘pleasing’ to our ears.
    So what do we do in this mass populace with crabby music snobs, (like myself), surrounding us? Well, suffice to say that even the most hardened music snob has some awful pop song that they dearly love, even if they won’t openly admit it.  So, I say turn up that atrocious Fergie song on your car radio and sing along at the top of your lungs…. Cause who really cares what the other drivers think?  They can’t hear you anyway. And believe me, I’ll probably be in the next car over, singing along with that irritating Third Eye Blind song….

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sorta Coming Soon...

So, yeah.... I'm gonna start a blog....  I wouldn't really consider this the first post... This is more of a warning shot, than anything, I suppose....
  At some point, this'll become my weekly rant/deep thought regarding.... well.... everything....