Thursday, April 14, 2005

Clearly You've Never Heard The Sticky Fingers First Record

(read the Atomizer's post, then this)

I love how the Rolling Stone editor used the phrase "safe" as a put-down to Dubya's iPOD song list. You see, in the post-modern world of hipsterism (see City Pages as an example) music should not be safe. It should challenge. Far as I can tell the biggest challenge is to see if you can actually listen to an entire song of, say Wilco, without gnashing your teeth or laughing out loud at the petulant lyrics.

Some guy is actually trying to diss the President of the United States because he is insufficently cool? It amazes me that some people never grow up and out of the cooler than thou mind-set. What series of unfortunate events must have beset these people to make them like this?

The cool people in high school didn't like them, I think. So they became part of a little subculture of fellow rejects that had it's own arcane rules of what was REALLY cool. The music had to be obscure. It had to violate most established rules of melody, lyric and order. It had to challenge. It had to question why society was so wrong and it's not me it's them and why did my parents get divorced?

Most people grow out of this little phase and join the human race. They realize that much of the music that is popular is popular because it succeeds in bringing something pleasant to the listener. Something to relax to, or something the listener can relate to.

Some have attempted to take this subculture and make it dominant and label anything outside of it as somehow less worthy and deserving of scorn. They invented words like Important to describe music. The Clash were Important. The Replacements were an important band. What the hell does that mean? How does that help me enjoy their music more?

There seems to be an unstated assumption amongst this crowd that people are looking to music for wisdom, insight, guidance or political suggestion. Anything that doesn't provide that is not Important. Most normal people (who have never uttered the phrase "_________ saved me life" whatever that means) want music to sound pleasant with an occasional turn of phrase that is interesting, or to set a particular mood.

Can you imagine taking a beauty-ful young thing back to your place, dimming the lights, pouring a glass of champagne and then saying "Tammi, let me put some music on. This is the most important post punk band to come out of Seattle since the Pixies. This changed my life." ?

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