Monday, July 10, 2006

Listening to...

the Arctic Monkeys. I wrote about these guys before. Since then, I have only grown to like them even more. There are certain bands who just leap out of the speakers. Sometimes when I have the iPod or iTunes on shuffle, it's all kind of backgroundy noise, but certain great bands have that instant buzz. Even before you can tell which particular song is playing, there's a sound or attitude or something that stamps them. Nirvana has had it. Joy Division ... a few others. These guys, I humbly submit, have It.

I tried to get the wife interested. I played A Certain Romance, which, after beginning with one of the great fakeouts in recent rawk history, quickly becomes a very bouncy, accessible tune. "It sounds like Television and all that other crap you like," she fairly spat in derision. Ouch. Maybe so, but there is no other singer quite like Mr. Turner of the AMs. Anyway, I prefer to think of it as the greatest song the Jam never quite came up with. I can imagine Paul Weller sitting somewhere gnashing his teeth when he hears it, muttering, "That coulda been me..."

And speaking of Nirvana, here, from approximately 4:08 until 4:20, is (a) grunge music/culture, (b) the entire 1990s, and (c) all of Generation X, encapsulated and preserved in one great, glorious, stupefying, stupendous moment -- a visual epitaph for an entire generation in 12 short seconds:


Anonymous said...

Man, what a total disappointment - this album is STONE DULL. Once again, just because you think you can play a guitar / drums / bass does NOT mean you have talent. This stuff might work if I heard it played live in a warehouse, but I doubt it. This album is nothing but a paltry Strokes imitation. Even FIOE is better than THIS, and that's saying something. After all the press, I thought I was going to hear something exciting. That wasn't the case. I kept looking at the time remaining on the cd player, sorely waiting for it to end. I don't think I've heard worse singing / lyrics since "Separation Sunday" by The Hold Steady - consider the Arctic Monkeys their UK equivalent. Don't buy into the hype on this band of teenage halfwits. They aren't doing anything that wasn't already done 25 to 30 years ago by the Jam and the Undertones and the Buzzcocks, to name but a few of the bands they steal from. Avoid like the Ebola virus.

Michael Plank said...

Well, anonymous, all I can say is, with some folks, they don't wanna know and you can't tell 'em. I can't talk you or anybody into liking a band. It's not an intellectual or even a rational process. I also can't objectively "prove" that, contrary to your opinion, the singing and lyrics are top notch. As for the singing, like him or not, you've got to admit that Turner is distinctive. The lyrics... well, to me, they're part of what sets these guys apart from, say, Interpol (who I lurve). The observational detail, the self awareness, the knife twist of some of the couplets... in particular, the full set of lyrics to A Certain Romance are, IMHO, fantabulous. They have many other songs close to that level. Derivative? Sure, and you nailed some of the antecedent bands. But just because something came first in time doesn't mean it was better. I think these guys are already better than the Jam, the Undertones or the Buzzcocks ever were. But my words mean nothing. There are plenty of mp3s out there for people to judge for themselves. (BTW, "CD player" -- ? Man, you are stuck in the 1980s!) :)