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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

BELIEVE THE HYPE

I was down in DC this weekend, and yet again I didn't stop off at the 9:30 club on Saturday to check out Bob Mould's weekly romp as house DJ - Blowoff (www.modulate.blogspot.com). I always say I will, but never do, the fact is I just want to meet Bob, not dance, so I guess it's better that I blowoff Blowoff. I did however hear a shit-ton of U2 on the radio. The Radio is a bit better in DC (avc.blogs.com), so we keep it on in the bathroom, and you hear it through out the day when you're in the kitchen and whatnot. A virtual metric shit-ton of U2, enough to make me, normally, want to throw up, but I didn't. Because they derserve the hype. They were 'The Hype', and in a way, even though they dropped that moniker in favor of U2, they really have always been the hype. To me, the early eighties was the last frontier of the rock band. The last time we heard anything truly unique, truly new, in a rock band, was when we first heard U2, REM, Husker DU - the post punk eighties. Of those bands, U2 are the dominant band. Their methods of arriving at success were as methodical as their practice of the values and vision that they held for what a band COULD be. A band COULD be ethical in it's business practices. A band COULD be successful if it worked hard, toured, and played from the heart. Talent was a word only associated to the drummer when they began, but don't all humans have some kind of talent? Something to offer? That was the U2 Ethos, offer something, and in return be given something back. I am happy for them. I haven't purchased a U2 record since 'Rattle and Hum', but many others have.....many, many others.

Comments:
I remember you being a huge U2 fan during the era. Always peeping me to the more obscure tracks which I thank you for. I remeber Eric Clapton waxing about his love for rock rock music and how the varying levels of technical prowess and instrument mastery really don't factor into what's good and what's not. He demonstrated by shredding some blazing blues riff and then contrasted it with the riff from "I Will Follow". Couldn't have been more right...
 
You know, as I get into my thirties, I've also found myself looking back at the 80s as a golden era of music. But I actually don't think that's true -- I think it's that I just had more time (and made it more of a priority) to seek out the truly good music back then. After all, before 1987, how often did you hear REM on the radio? You had to find them, or see them in a club, or run across them by accident, or, if you were really lucky, have them suggested at a local record store. There are bands that are just starting to be widely popular (e.g., Wilco) that have really been around a while even though they didn't make it onto my radar until a year or two ago -- sort of the equivalent of when REM came out with Green.

Anyway, I think it's always tempting for people to look back and think that the music that was popular (or important in retrospect) when they were young is the Best. Music. Ever. I have seen some great music just by accident in the last five years or so (Yo La Tengo comes to mind, and when I was in the Detroit area, there was a lot of good techno -- and yes, there is such a thing). I have a lot of faith that folks will continue to write and record ground-breaking music -- creativity isn't a fixed commodity, although tastes tend to be generational.

-Christy
 
I was prepared for this Christy, yes, it's true, there are some great bands out there today, but is Wilco breaking new ground? I don't think so. I saw them at Radio City this year, and I liked them, but it's nothing NEW, the sounds, the textures, have been with us for a good long while. Techno is not new either, Electronica is certainly the newest form of popular music, but I was talking about the ROCK BAND, a group of persons who play guitars, bass, and drums (mainly) live on a stage. What is new in that form? The only thing new I've seen is certain acts thinking they don't neeed a bass player (Yeah Yeah Yeah's, White Stripes) and playing to prerecorded tapes on stage - that is lame.
 
I'm torn. On the one hand, I agree!

But on the other hand, I remember listening to boomers blather on about their music and how nothing nowadays measures up to Dylan. It was especially gauling when all they knew about was atrocities like WHAM! and New Kids on the Block. And I still feel like knocking the nearest Boomer over the head with a lava lamp when I hear songs like, "San Francisco(Be sure to wear...)", but I digress.

New stuff comes out when you least expect it. Remember when rap exploded? It had been brewing a long time, not that those of us in suburbia knew anything about it. It'll be exciting when the next new thing comes along, in fact, it probably already has.

-Christy
 
Yes! Exactly, it will, and I can't wait, as a Producer/Engineer I'm currenly trying to find that band. I don't want to sound like I'm tolling the bell for a dead form. I'm imploring those out there to look further within to find something new to bring to the table, in a rock band fromat. Radiohead is a good example of that, but I liked their first two records better than the latter one's where they did break new ground. But I'm looking more for something to happen within the form, not by adding elements of another to it. The melding of electronica, hip hop and rock is interresting, but it's a stew, and what I'm talking about is something more basic. U2 and Gang Of Four did new things with the same gadgets and instruments that everybody else had, and that is what I'm trying to put across.
 
Okay, well, hurry up. We consumers are counting you producer/engineers to kick it into high gear and deliver us from Brittany ;-) (sorry, yeah, I didn't notice until I read a few more of your posts that you're a producer).

-Christy
 
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