Man, music is in the most fucked up state of disrepair these days. Yesterday I wrote about a pretty horrendous band that had, until now, drifted by under my radar. Without really getting into details (you can just scroll down and read “Let’s Get Freaky Now” if you want those) let’s just say that I was shaken to the very core of my being. It raised a lot of questions: When did I become completely unable to stomach what’s passing as cool these days? Is this real? And finally, and most pressingly “what the fuck, man? Really?”
I’ve figured a few things out during my night of soul searching and I’ve come to the following conclusions:
Brokencyde (the band in question, who play screamo influenced crunk music [sic]) one must presume, is either A) serious or B) Joking. People usually ask this question immediately upon hearing this band…But I’ve determined that it is irrelevant and here’s why:
If they are, in fact, A) serious, then they’re a dreadful sounding band and if they’re B) joking, they’re not funny. SO, regardless of their intended criteria, they’re blowing it. BUT, I didn’t really want to go on a second rant about some dumb group of dickweeds. I only bring these guys up because it seems to me that they’re pretty popular, right? I mean they have 178 thousand myspace friends…but they’ve slipped completely under my radar. Why? I know that people around me like, no, that’s wrong, LOVE to shit talk bands that they think of as crappy who get popular. AND, this band, being SOOOO crappy, and SOOOO popular, you’d think would have made someone pissed enough that they’d go off on one of their stupid rants in my earshot, right? I mean, I can’t wipe my ass without someone telling me how much of a travesty it is that Against Me! or the Gaslight Anthem is huge, and those dudes are my friends! People in the ‘punk rock internet’ (don’t laugh too hard, asshole, you’re on it RIGHT now, so sit down with the rest of us and accept your lameness) sit around and bitch and moan and complain about cool bands getting popular all day long and just let this kind of bullshit slide by like it’s totally fine.
I’d like to posit that this has a great deal to do with what’s wrong in the world in general.
I remember when From First To Last (a terrible, worthless band) was blowing up rather quickly, all the punk rockers could talk about was how crappy they thought the newest Alkaline Trio record was. I know that disappointment registers pretty hard when you love something, but there’s NO WAY IN HELL that anyone is gonna tell me that Crimson is a bigger travesty than the meteoric rise of some craphole zombie emo boy band. (Crimson, by the way is probably my favorite record by the trio, just sayin). Yet that’s where all the vitriol goes.
Now, people are getting so hot and bothered about the Gaslight Anthem like they did last year about Against Me and they’re absolutely furious…DUDE, THERE ARE WAAAAAAY worse things out there. There are way worse things playing the SAME clubs the SAME festivals you go to, poaching the SAME subculture and making it WAY more unbearable than some band that you used to like but then decided not to like based on some unquantifiable abstraction.
Look, I’m not suggesting that you have to like Against Me! or Gaslight Anthem, but is it really worth getting worked up about? I mean, it’s GREAT to hear that kind of shit on the radio, and see them sell out clubs, isn’t it? Isn’t it cool to see a band that’s at least SORT OF doing what you like do well? Isn’t that cool?
And here’s why—Because all of us got into punk rock, underground music for the thrill of the hunt, and once someone lame knows about what you’re into, it becomes cheap…You’ve no longer uncovered a great unknown band that you can deride some dildo for not being cool enough to have found for himself, you’re now sharing a love for something with said dildo. And that’s downright unpalatable. It makes YOU lame by association. SO, you decide to hate the band. OR, and this is a big OR, let’s say you’re bigger than that (not likely), and you only want success for your favorite bands…you just think Gaslight Anthem sucks…Here’s what your problem is: Suddenly, the people, the idiots, have come so close, so PAINFULLY close to embracing something that’s actually cool, and then they stop RIGHT on the precipice. DUDE! You would like to scream, IF YOU LIKE AGAINST ME! YOU’LL LOVE HOT WATER MUSIC!!!!! But no one cares. They want against me. And it burns you up inside, again. They’ve traveled to your cove of bands and then stopped at the one that’s being offered that moment. Nope, the success of the Gaslight Anthem is NOT gonna trickle down to the Cobra Skulls or the Menzingers or Dead to Me. SO, what is there to do but hate on the whole stupid, shitty process…It’s when people come close to doing something right and don’t go all the way that it’s the most annoying, right? That’s your problem? Look, man. I’d rather see a billion Against Me’s and Gaslight Anthems and Hold Steadys and whatever band is this year’s hold steady/against me/gaslight anthem (because there will be one this year, just you wait) get on the radio and get huge than one more fucking Brokencyde, and if you disagree, well my friend, maybe it’s YOU who’s actually broke inside.
Woooh! Going out with a clever, yet gravitas weighted pun is a pretty important and powerful move in oratory (this is, of course written to be delivered to a crowd of self important, preening assholes), but I’d rather go with the post modern analysis of what just happened and then, before the self congratulatory, didactic final paragraph ends, mid- sentence I’ll just