Monday, May 17, 2010

Old Bands Suck: The Ones I Like.

There's one very beautiful thing me and my lazy female co-writer agree on that many people, for whatever reason, are reluctant to suggest: The idea that iconic rock bands can be musically shitty.

Admittedly, this is much easier to say with a blog's demographic being 17-20 year old females. British in some instances.

Blimey what's all that American rock now????

You guys all say "Blimey" right?

If it were an audience of white guys who lived in New Jersey and are 38 years old, I'd be pushing the envelope. Still, these are things that need to be said:

Classic rock bands, generally...suck.

Truth is, many bands that have solidified themselves into that brand of rock are musically flawed and pretty shallow. But they're closely intertwined with the nostalgia and sweet memories of the ruling generations' younger heydays. So we're forced to sit there and think it's badass. And that's the illusion I'm trying to break.

Of course this is excluding most if not all the music that popped up in the 60's and early '70s; which was decent and original (for the most part). It's mostly the iffy era past 1978 or so, when they somehow realized "Man we have lots of sex with girls!" or decided that a synthesizer was a good idea.

I'll get to you faggots later.

And it doesn't help that the only rock radio stations in the New York market, the number one radio market in the US, primarily play this era of rock.

But just to prove I'm not a (totally) arrogant teenage dickhead, I'll start out my rock-themed blitzkrieg with my two favorite bands of the "classic rock" era, starting with the Dead Kennedys.

Featuring Woody Allen on the far left.

No it's not actually Woody Allen.

Lead by (not really a) vocalist/all-around loud person Jello Biafra, the Dead Kennedys are a legendary punk band, acclaimed for their clever lyrics and original music, as well as setting a precedent for what punk bands came to sound and act like.

Secretly, though, no one seems to mention how Jello Biafra sounds like a seizing special needs kid 80% of the time. Particularly in songs like "Holiday in Cambodia", a favorite of mine and a staple of their's. From the very beginning, Jello breaks in with a "SO" that's yelped like a highly-offended gay guy, and breaks the deliciously ominous intro of the guitars and drum.

Asian political gripes are fabulloouusssssss

The signature sound of Jello's cartoony vocals spoil other songs like "California Uber Alles" and "Too Drunk to Fuck", because ultimately, they're not actually vocals. Anyone who's familiar with music can tell the guy's just kind of vibrating his loud throat against the music, which is just an odd sort of rapping. Especially in "Too Drunk to Fuck", where he turns a pulsating punk chorus into wabbit hunting season.

Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm too dwunk to fuck.

Also, the group grew overwhelming and self-indulgent in pretentiously artsy way. Especially after their first two albums, the band seemed pretty in love with the idea of being political avant-gardes and being intellectually superior, as shown by their flings with jazz and Jello's gradually insufferable political lyrics.

Next is a band who's sound is indisputably associated with that ol' rock music that every balding white guy with an American flag-themed bandana blasts from his Chevy's audio system: AC/DC.

No! How could you?!?!?

Yes. Yes I could. AC/DC has several things going for it: at their peak, the music had a raw power in its instrumentals and vocals that was unparalleled in a time when keytars and dorks named Phil Collins were beginning to rule the world.

I wish he hadn't.

My biggest gripe with AC/DC, however, is that their lyrics are about as deep as a Cardigan sweater's pocket. Songs such as "You Shook Me Up All Night Long", "For Those About to Rock...", and "Girls Got Rhythm". I mean, seriously, these lyrics from "You Shook Me Up" could've been ripped out of some 2009 hip-hop song if I didn't know better:

"She had the sightless eyes,
Telling me no lies,
Knockin' me out with
them American thighs.

Taking more than her share,
Had me fighting for air,
She told me to come but I
was already there.

'Cause the walls start shaking,
The earth was quaking,
My mind was aching,
And we were making it and you.

Shook me all night long,
Yeah you,
Shook me all night long, "

Add some Wayne, some autotune; it'd be a fantastic diarrhea.

They were also musically repetitive. The constant use of power chords, very similar lyrical themes (If it wasn't about a chick, it was about how you're supposed to rock, which is totally not cheesy at all), and similar musical structures which featured Angus Young's inevitably overdone guitar solo.

Give him 13 minutes, that's when he REALLY kicks in!!!

It's not to say these two bands suck, though. I picked these two to show just how flawed a revered band can be. Think of it this as an appetizer for the next blog later today. You know, for the bands I actually hate.

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