Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I just wanna Liiiive

Hello there everyone! Tonight will mark my last night of host and impresario at the Risque Café’s punk rock Tuesdays. Come down and bid me farewell. I got a job picking through pigshit to find bottlecaps and frankly, it’s just a better opportunity, so I’ve gotta move on, but don’t miss out on the four buck malort, the cheap as shit cans, the power hour and the big four buck cheeseburger. Last time to party folks! Make it worthwhile.

I recently read an article by Chuck Klosterman about guilty pleasures. The term, he argues is pretty shitty and cowardly given the context in which it’s used and I’ve gotta say I agree with him. He begins by pointing out that there are things that do in fact make you feel simultaneous pleasure and guilt: snorting cocaine in a bathroom stall and fucking your best friend’s sister were, I believe, his examples, but listening to a song that you enjoy by a band you consider to be beneath your erudition is not a ‘guilty pleasure’- it’s shitty posturing for one thing, and for another thing it’s completely eschewing the meritocracy that so many of us find ourselves espousing when we talk about music. Namely, that if something’s good, it’s just good. Period. It’s not about image, it’s not about marketing - it just has to be good. HOWEVER, when something is good but we feel like the guy or gal that sings it is a dipshit, we have to relegate it to something we wish we didn’t like, a ‘guilty pleasure.’ That sucks. Here’s why:

You know how you’re always disappointing your dad with your lilting fruitiness and your crappy job and the way you can’t throw or fix a car (oh…that’s me. But you have your own series of shitty qualities that bum out your dad, don’t you? Sure you do.)? Well, okay. Imagine if you finally did something he approved of and he was like “god, I’m so embarrassed to be pleased with my son’s output. You know, he’s a total dingus and this is nothing but fluke pleasure and frankly, I wish I wasn’t experiencing it.” That’s how Nickelback feels when you shit talk “This Afternoon” even though deep down, it totally speaks to you. For shame, man.

Now, I know that there’s nothing more embarrassing than cruising around blasting “Hey Soul Sister” and then seeing a bunch of your friends while you’re stopped at a traffic light right when dude’s singing that part about his ‘untrimmed chest’. That’s the kind of thing that instantly makes your friends picture you with dicks (multiple) laying all over your smiling, sweaty face for sure. And the notion that they (your buddies) perhaps aren’t infected with the rapture you hear every time that opening ukulele line hits your ears may seem unfair, hell, it may BE unfair, but that doesn’t mean that somehow you’re better than Pat Monahan and his boys because he created something you like and you feel all weird that you like it.

In fact, to touch a little bit on my last entry (entitled “I call this piece ‘understanding the human creative impulse from the top down, you fucking turds.’ Do you like it?”) “Guilty Pleasure Syndrome” is probably as close to awesome as any sort of artist can actually hope to be. By being kind of a dildo and then putting something out there that touches people, you maybe are even creating a whole new kind of art and forcing a very strange new feeling onto people. This, I would argue isn’t actually being achieved through ‘art’ but rather through your clothes, dumb hair and wacky ideas about rings and vests being acceptable accessories. Now, you’re pitting individuals in a civil war between their dignity and the music they love. That’s pretty exciting, and (if I’m not mistaken) totally unplannable, so that’s kind of like striking a very weird kind of gold that leaves people embarrassed and you (the guy from Candlebox) feeling like you’re not any good and not being able to synthesize the notions of having tons of fans but feeling like you suck terribly, unless they’re all idiots or you’re a truly misunderstood genius (which you aren’t, hence tons of fans). This is the kind of art that’s bigger than songs and people, folks. It’s a mind fuck on an epic scale.

Now, full disclosure: I’ve talked to some people (they’re mostly people who work at bookstores or people I run into very randomly at bars and things) who say stuff like “oh, aren’t you that guy from Lawrence Arms? Oh, I used to listen to you guys” or something kind of along those lines. These people are always nu-bohemian types that have transcended beards, PBR and sweatiness for beards, PBR and girls dressed like Richard Simmons and bikes with no brakes. They always get a little embarrassed and I realize that I’m standing here with someone for whom I’m the living embodiment of ‘a phase’ of their life that’s now over. To them, I’m a guilty past pleasure, which seems…I don’t know. Am I more embarrassed that I currently love Party in the USA (not at all embarrassing) and Good Girls Go Bad (slightly more embarrassing) or that I used to totally jam out to Mother Love Bone and Red Hot Chili Peppers? It’s a hard call. One’s visceral and current and the other one is something you’ve consciously distanced yourself from and either way, it’s tempting to write it off as something that’s not part of you, but it is. It IS, bro. Yes it is.

SO get out there, put on that Taylor Swift record and just fucking sing it like you want to. Then you can jam out to Bruno Mars and the new Plain White T’s song and just kind of uh, what? Sway to the rhythm of love? Yeah. That’ll do.

See you tonight. Don’t let me down, folks!

22 comments:

limited nobility said...

The same Norwegian song scientists who wrote that catchy beyonce song that rhymed "a minute" with "a minute" a few years back wrote soul sister.You arent being mind fucked by these max martin,dr luke types they loosen you up with facile,topical lyrical content and then knock it out of the park with an absolutely universal vocal melody.then they do it again.I mean max (a guy who looks like he owns a jello/energy shot business based in panama city florida) co wrote everything from baby one more time to california gurls.formula not mind fuck imo.I mean why would I be any more guilty about enjoying one of those songs than I am about listening to old motown singles(also shamelessly commercial)or enjoying the new seven layer hand wrap from taco bell.katy perry doesnt give me chin zits

21st Century Digital Boy said...

two points. first, in order for your Nickleback analogy to be work, they would have to churn out something was actually was pleasurable.

second, don't worry about the nu-bohemians. there are some skinny-jean wearing, breakless single-speed riding, overly ironic folks out there who still rock out to Cut It Up, and everything prior. just sayin'...

Scott said...

I had almost the exact same kind of argument about books with this dipshit hipster chick I used to think was pretty cool, until I got to know her. She is in denial of the fact that she is 100% the definition of a hipster.

Anyway, it was about the Girl with The Dragon tattoo trilogy of books. Which I happened to enjoy reading. Her thoughts were that she would never read them because they are popular. That is pretty much the reason. That the old ladies she works with and the "normal" people she looks down upon read it, so it is in effect not good enough for her. Oh, and get this, her starting point was that the title said "dragon tattoo" and because those are "lame and cliche" that the book must be trash.

Whether you like it not is not the point. The fact of the matter is WHY you like something or not. Founding your opinion based on your perception of something, without really experiencing it, is exactly what the didos at the bookstore or whatever base their larry arms statement on.

crazycarl said...

..... and i'm movin my hips like yeah.... then a Jay-Z song came on!

Diagnosis: Perpetual Niggariasus said...

Wop bop-a loo-bop, a wop bang bee
Woe to all bitchez think dey better than me!
A chubby-azz white gurl, name of Kim
I rejected her in high skool, to her chagrin
But in da interim since we was in skool
she got all tatted up, came to think she was "kewl"
She stopped me on da street--white hipster tattooz
The look on her face said "I win, you lose"
But I pointed to an ugly multi-colored tattoo
and said "Dat one look like a melted Rubik's Cube!"
A wop bop-a loo-bop, a wop-bang-booze
Thought she had the upper hand because of tattooz!

Ryan said...

I'm glad you mentioned Party in the USA, because I truthfully love that song. I tell people that I am not embarrassed in the least bit by this fact and they in return tell me that I clearly am embarrassed because I say that I am not. Either way great song. Oh and fuck one speed no brake bike riding bastards.

ty. said...

This past spring, while in Vegas for Punk Rock Bowling, Toby drunkenly told me that my band is kind of a weird guilty pleasure in the punk world he is a part of. I took it as a compliment.

Banana@1000MPH said...

This is possibly my favorite of your blogs.

John said...

so. youre quitting your job and going on to bigger and better things. brian fallon said he wants to make a solo album with friends.
hhhmmmm.

KingCrapperIII said...
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Amanda said...

I hope bigger and better things means more shifts at the L&L.

PS Thanks for the Clark Street Dog recommendation.

much is the same said...

I feel so much better about loving "This Afternoon" now. Fuck yeah.

Jeffrey Royiwsky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Toto said...

I love Alexisonfire's first album, there , i said it.

Donnie said...

TY- The only thing you need to feel guilty about is those neck bandanas...

EZB said...

it's ironic, not a guilty pleasure then eh? because you know it should be bad, but you're still able to rock out to it... she wears high heels, i wear t-shirts!

limited nobility said...

There is a pretty great vid on perez of a "L.A. gay hipster brawl",for me it evokes the recurring dream that I(and im sure most guys)have where youre fighting but your arms are asleep and you cant do any damage and also the holiday portion of the american idiot musical.Im just guessing on the latter.In the end it's pretty cute.less gay bashing than a harmless little "gay bash".....

Jamie said...

finally someone understands my richard simmons fashion sense

Y'allAreBrutalizinMeEe! said...

Hey Brandon,

I wan start lickin mah new bitch's pussy, but the smell is juss hellfire! What can I do to git this fuck doll ta maintain a more palatable pH balance down in 'er meat wallet?

Jon said...
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AC said...

oh i get it, the title of your post is the name of a catchy good charlotte song. word.

Andrew said...

i've made no secret of my love for taylor swift and sheryl crow.

i'm not guilty.