Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The New Suck

So, there is a lot of current pop music that I just don't like. That's just the way it is. I am pretty much bewildered by the popularity of most of the current musical trends, and I don't anticipate this changing. One in particular, though, is especially horrible, and that's the musical idiom occupied by such artists as Nickelback, Daughtry and Hinder.

It's taken me a long time to put words to why I find these particular artists so offensive, and why their particular brand of rock just doesn't work, period. First, we must acknowledge that the production on these records pretty much subtracts any hope of the music having any life to it at all, but that's true of the production on almost any mainstream rock record these days. Having gotten that out of the way, the horrible nature of this musical subgenre boils down to two key components:

1) These artists miss the 80's. They miss when rock was flashy, rude, uncomplicated. The 80's hair metal bands had all this going for them (technically challenging guitar solos paired with the dumbest of riffs, and the dumbest of lyrics). Part of their aesthetic is derived from the desire to make dumb rock again.

2) Having come of age in the 90's, however, these artists are of an era where rock bands were TAKEN SERIOUSLY. They want to be treated with the same sort of respect that, say, Nirvana was treated with. Therefore, they are EXTREMELY SERIOUS.

So what does this leave us with? The worst of both worlds. If any of us can say anything positive about 80's butt rock, it's that it was fun. It still is. It was so bad that it was good. You can't ignore the ridiculous hair, clothing, etc. It made that music something fun to remember, and something fun to interact with at the time. So why on earth would we want something that resembled that style musically but without any of the elements that made it so fun in the first place? Add to that the "uber-serious" attitude of 90's grunge, and you have a recipe for musical misery. There is nothing worse than someone making crappy, unimaginative music that is not willing to give an inch in the "serious" category. It just makes the whole thing taste like ass. If you want an egregious example, take for instance Nickelback's cover of "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" by Elton John. Now, Elton John's version of this song is fantastically fun. It was designed to be. Nickelback's, on the other hand, is boring, ugly, UBER-SERIOUS SOUNDING and absolutely no fun at all. The combination of an 80's musical aesthetic with a 90's desire to be taken deadly serious is like making a reality TV show that resembles SAW-esque torture porn flicks; disgusting, horrible and conscience-less.

More posts to come soon. I've been trying to get out of day job land, and tomorrow is my last shift. I've got at least two or three on the docket that I want to write. Stay tuned.

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