Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Popular Culture No Longer Applies To Me.

"MTV makes me want to smoke crack"


It's not that I hate music. It's not that all, I'm just extremely specific about what music I like. I'm specific what I listen to in general. I can't remember the last time I walked into HMV to buy a CD.

I'm with Sambow on this. Celine Dion, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Elton John can take a hike, to paraphrase the indie band Art Brut; popular culture no longer applies to me.

"Beautiful girl, you know it'll never work, you're gonna make me suicidal, suicidal, suicidal" sang Sean Kingston. I remember it was the straw that by far broke the camel's back. It made me 'suicidal, suicidal, suicidal'. What's going on there? It was summer, it was the number 33a coming back from one of my many badly paid jobs where my boss didn't know what a fag break was, or a break in general was.

Needless to say, I was ratty. Extremely ratty.

Some youth (yes, I am sixteen, and yes, I want to kill nearly every teenager I see) decided to play that song on repeat for the entirity of the 20 minute journey. Given, if I'd had an mp3 player on me to block out the offending noise or a book, it wouldn't be so offensive. If it wasn't the hottest day on record, I would be okay with it.

It was rush hour. The bus was packed. All I could hear was that tinny song coming out some 'sickkk' phone from the back of the bus. Yeah mate, that's right, that is sick, that is gangster, you know, I think that's what Tupac did during his spare time. He rode Cardiff Bus and played **** music out of his phone. I'm so out of touch, hold on, I'm running upstairs to burn all my music, books, put on MTV Base and put on my best Nikees and jeans. I just can't 'like' the music that's broadcast on television and on the radio.

That's when I gave up, my will to live died right there, right then at the bus stop outside the Malsters Arms in Llandaff.

Cheryl Cole? 'We gotta fight, fight, fight, fight, fight for this love'? Mate, aren't you getting divorced? Shouldn't you 'file, file, file, file, file for divorce'? Your timing couldn't have been better. Seen her hair adverts? 'Dull, limp, lifeless'? That's not her hair, that's her personality.

Hannah Montana? My cat sounds better. My cat is dead. She's been dead for 5 years.

'Bitches, guns and bling were never part of the four elements, and never will be' rapped Scroobius Pip on their hit 'Thou Shalt Not'. I wonder if 50 Cent keeps this in mind when he raps, along with every other 'rapper' we get nowadays. What happened to meaningful rap music, hip hop that inspired people, bands like Public Enemy and KRS-One? We get Eminem instead of Grandmaster Flash? Since when was that fair? G-Unit? No thanks, but how about Immortal Technique, Sage Francis and Mos Def?

I'm really sorry. I don't mean to come across as a music snob, but I just am. Yes, I'm slagging off popular music, and no, I won't back down. Can we say 'mediocrity' as a whole? M-E-D-I-O-C-R-I-T-Y. All together now, breath in, breath out; mediocrity.

Paramore makes me want to vomit, they've taken every female musician and blended it into an Avril Lavigne-esque sound. Look at Paramore, compare them with Hole, Bikini KillI and Joan Jett, then tell me who was more talented and innovative. I avoid popular radio shows like the plague and now my favourite bands are back in fashion? They're like No Doubt when they destroyed their fan base by becoming a generic pop rock band a la the album 'Hella Good' fused with Kelly Clarkson. They've shown appreciation for bands like 'Death Cab for Cutie', 'The Cure' and 'Sunnyday Real Estate' which begs the question: how can they listen to such brilliant music and come out with such excrement? Then again, Fall Out Boy murdered 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' as Joy Division are one of their influences. It's such a shame that **** sells.

A cover of the Cure's 'Close to Me' by Kaki King is on an advert, along with La Isla Encanta by the Pixies. Now 'Blister in the Sun' by the Violent Femmes is being used to sell Fosters? I heard 'I Got Love' by the King Blues on a cat food advert.

I don't want to 'shake it like a poloroid picture' like Outcast, I can't shake my 'bodonkadonk' like Missy Elliott, I'm not 'down in albion' with Babyshambles, and I have no idea how to dance to 'Pokerface'.

'Oi, you, are you gonna band Doe? Oi you, are gonna-'. Stop there. We've gone from the likes of L7 and Queens of the Stone Age being popular to the internet sensation of 'Are You Gonna Bang Doe'? Who's Doe? The only Doe I know is the Duke of Edinburgh? Yeah, I'll punch him, purely for his racist comments he's so famous for peddling, but I don't know the other Doe you're on about. You got a chicken, but it Nando's? Fuck off.

The media influences us more than we realise. We're exposed to more and more adverts everyday on the radio, television and internet. We're told what to watch and when to watch it, people mistakenly think that because it's on MTV it must be good. No, many artists and musicians have had to censor their work or compromise their vision to gain mainstream success: MTV wouldn't even show Michael Jackson as he was a black artist at one point.

Killing the music industry is the best thing that we're doing as sa youth movement as a whole. For more information on this, check out Matt Mason's 'the Pirate's Dilemma' if you're interested in this topic. It's well known musicians make more money out of merchandise than signing huge record deals with record-giants like Virgin. Even smaller labels are compromising their traditional sounds, signing emo-pop-punk bands to gain more attention of younger listeners, for example, Epitaph's signing of Farewell.

There's no generation gap anymore. We're listening to the same music as our parents; my Mum's even got a copy of 'Riverside' (which she once affectionately got mixed up with Michael Flatley's 'Riverdance'). There aren't any differences, not anymore. Generation gaps are important. We need to have our own distinctive culture, bands, fashion and books to say 'that's ours' to look back on when we're older. How are we going to do that with the same rubbish being peddled everywhere?

Not all's lost. Subpop (a legendary American record label famous for being the first to sign Fugazi, Sonic Youth and Nirvana) are still signing artists who have been propelled to fame through hard work like Modest Mouse, famous for their hit song 'Float On'. The Postal Service, Low and the Go!Team are still signed. The Black Lips, an offensively less than well known band (given their talent) are signed to Vice Records. They played 'The Globe' on City Road last year, which, by the way, is under threat of closure unless they get the money to soundproof the venue. They set it up knowing this would happen; jeez, it's really close to residential properties! Then again, Clwb are under threat of having the same problem themselves. . .

The smaller bands who have more talent and work harder to avoid the Devil who goes under various pseudonyms such as Kerrang!, MTV2, MTV etc are finally getting the recognition they deserve. Hardcore group Fucked Up's album 'The Chemistry of Common Life' won the 2009 Polaris Prize.

I don't read the NME anymore.

I don't have music channels.

I don't read the NME at all.

My music reading extends solely to Vice Magazine and Kruger.

I find out about new band solely online.

I'm so out of touch. I didn't even know who Crystal Castles were until around a year ago.

You know what, all of my favourite singers couldn't 'strictly' sing, there's some comfort in knowing that 20 years from now The Velvet Underground will still be widely listened to, along with Tom Waits, Elliott Smith whereas bands like YouMeAtSix will fall by the way-side. There's no way they have the talent and durability to have a career like The Cure's.

Deep down, I'm worried that independent music is going to be ditched by our generation. That's what I worry about the most. You know, I think I'm getting bitter in my mid-teenage years.

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