Monday, July 28, 2008

The Alternative to Silence

Growing up, I was a horrible athlete. I was short, slow, and uncoordinated. I was always picked last for football and I was always the catcher in tee ball. It took me 18 seconds to do the 50 yard dash. It took me 26 tries to make a foul shot. I threw like a girl and I ran like a gimp.

As you can imagine, I hated sports. I couldn't rattle off stats and I didn't know who the players were. It was like I had a learning disability when it came to anything having to do with physical activity. So, I did what every other disenfranchised dork did and I became a music fan.

While the sports fans were dressing up like Dan Marino, I was dressing up like Gene Simmons. While the sports fans were collecting baseball cards, I was collecting Beatles memorabilia. While the sports fans were going to Heat games, I was going to Ramones shows. Music was my sport.

Subsequently, over the years, I became a pretty discerning listener. I embraced Styx and Cheap Trick before it became kitschy to do so. I abandoned Slash when he joined Velvet Revolver and Chris Cornell when he joined Audioslave. I determined that everything Radiohead did after Pablo Honey was a big joke on the listening public. And, I made the controversial (but true) proclamation that The Police and U2 suck. That's what's fun about being a music fan - having an opinion.

Well, I have another opinion -- 2008 is a horrible year to be a music fan. It's also a horrible year to be a mortgage broker, a hedge fund manager, or a soldier, but I won't get into that right now.

I know it's trite to put down "the music of today". However, I can't help myself. Just look at Billboard's Top 40. Who are these people? Taylor Swift? Plies? David Banner? Journey's there, but with a Filipino instead of Steve Perry. Coldplay's there, which seriously boggles my mind.

I've never heard a song by Lil Wayne, but I know he's sold more records than Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and Neil Young combined. What happened to the days of MC Hammer and Tone Loc, when even the white people knew the popular rap songs? Oh yeah, they don't call it rap anymore. They call it hip-hop and it's all about being rich and spending money and getting life insurance. Our rappers talked about getting drunk and shooting people and fucking the police.

Punk rock has really gone down the shitter. Fall Out Boy, Good Charlotte, Sum 41. Huh? I loved The Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Replacements -- bands I could see myself in. I can't see myself in these glorified boy bands, and I certainly can't see myself in their wives. Ashley Simpson? Nicole Richie? Avril Lavigne? I'd rather bang Nancy Spungen (Sid Vicious's disgusting, hep-infected wife).

Let's discuss all these female singers. We had powerful women like Joan Jett, Patti Smith, and Debbie Harry. Today, they have Rhianna, Amy Winehouse, and Brooke Hogan. The only estrogen entertainer I like is Christina Aguilera and that's because she married a nebby Jewish kid. That gives her props in my book.

How about the jam bands? Widespread Panic? Yonder Mountain? DMB?? I can't decide what's worse---the music or their trustafarian fans. Look, after 5 minutes, a scale is still just a scale. I don't care how stoned you are, Warren Haynes is just a fat studio musician. The Dead was cool because they had good drugs and good people. Today, the drugs suck and the crowd is filled with frat boys and JAPs.

What the fuck is up with techno? I can't believe guys who play records are famous. Most of them aren't even American OR black! The only people I want spinning records should be named Jam Master Jay or Grandmaster Flash or Spinderella! The only house music I want to listen to is by Madness (our house in the middle of the street...).

There's also emo. They have sensitive guys like Conor Oborst and Chris Carrabba. We had Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper. 'Nuff said.

There's kid rock (rock for kids, not the douche who married Pam Anderson). The Jonas Brothers got nothing on New Edition or Musical Youth and Miley Cyrus is definitely no Debbie Gibson or Tiffany.

And then there's country music. At least when I was young, the country was shit kicking. Now it's like disco. Who the fuck are Big and Rich and why are they so big and so rich?

These days, anyone will listen to anything shoved down their throat. Anybody who's young, good looking (up to interpretation), and famous can make a record, produced, written, and recorded, of course, by a nebby Jewish kid. You used to have to suffer for your art. Now, you just have to hire a Yid. Fuck, Scarlett Johansson and Lindsay Lohan are recording artists!

Even the indie rock sucks now. I never liked The Smiths or New Order or Joy Division. New Wave was for girls or closeted homos or future tattoo artists. The only reason we even listened to it was to get laid. Now, that's all that's on college radio. Do they even call it that anymore?

"Indie" has become an adjective used to entice schmuck bloggers to pontificate about bands who aren't good enough to get on a real label. Today's tastemakers (bloggers) are like virtual versions of The Comic Book Guy on the Simpsons. At least our tastemakers worked at record stores or were DJs on college radio.

And, how about ticket prices. If you want to enjoy a rock and roll lifestyle, you gotta have some cash. Based on my experience at The Mile High Music Festival, even if you have the money, you won't have fun. It costs $350 to Madonna? She's so old that she's not even a cougar. She's a mountain lion!

Counting Crows are considered classic rock? Phish is considered legendary? Michael Jackson hasn't recorded a good album in 20 years? Who's cool these days? Anybody who has any cred at all is over 50. Perry Farrel's our youngest rock icon. Dave Navarro is a fucking embarrassment. Even the bands that were once cool (REM, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck) suck now. It's a horrible state of affairs.

But, what can I do - start liking sports? Fuck it! I gotta dig deeper and deeper. I have to stop listening to the radio and watching The Hills. I must seek out music that doesn't suck. I must look for the next Pixies or Beastie Boys or Pavement. Or, I can just keep it quiet until 2009.


chuckdafonk said...

FAIL. "Well, I have another opinion -- 2008 is a horrible year to be a music fan." FAIL. FAIL. FAIL. On so many levels. Still love ya man...

Anonymous said...

The mustache makes you like look a 70's porn star

Anonymous said...


Both quite solid on the earbuds.

The McTelskis said...

You sound like an old crusty man! But yeah, I hear you. Pop music doesn't have any substance. Beck still rules, though!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if you knew enough to look outside the top 40, you would see that it is still good to be a music fan...but not a good time to be a mainstream music fan.

You truly show your musical ignorance with this article.

Unknown said...

The Hold Steady.

And, I need photos of the bicycles from Santa Monica.

Sean Hawk said...

We're a lot alike sir, and I think our problem is we aren't as proactive as we used to be. You have to dig deeper anymore, because the noise is overwhelming these days. My fellow commenters would have you believe you need only tune into Sirius Left Of Center or bookmark Pitchfork Media (see, I can name-drop too). And I don't deny that these resources have introduced me to some good stuff. But I'm waiting for the next legends to be made. Sure, The Hold Steady is good value, but will they be legendary like The Boss? Likely not. I admit to being old and jaded too, and I put it on me to do a better job of mining the gems. But the noise out there sure makes it easy to nay-say.

Anonymous said...

I like that you finally put shitty artists like U2 and Beck in their place. They may be creative, but they suck to listen to. By the way, stop copying me because I'll always be #1 and you'll always be shit (#2).

Anonymous said...

The Black Keyes
Black Mountain
The Sword

Good music, even if you are a pussala like Mike Girlman.