April 13, 2010

RAWK means never having to apologize.

So I just found this really interesting interview with this writer Steve Almond, who just released his new book Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life.

Did I mention how much I love that title?

Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life by Steve Almond
Anyway, while reading the review I discovered that Almond had also written Candyfreak, which is sadly still gathering dust in my absurdly steep reading backlog (a common bibliophile dilemma explained here by Jessica Zafra). In any case this piqued my interest, and thus I read on... and discovered some really fabulous quotes about music and the human condition.
Eric Spitznagel: I’m looking over my questions right now and most of them are just self-absorbed memories from my youth. It’s either “Hey, remember that video for ‘The Safety Dance’ with the midget?” or “I tried to get the Replacements’ song ‘Unsatisfied’ played at my high school prom. Is that bad-ass or what?” Is that just the nature of talking about music?
Steve Almond: It’s the nature of talking about any obsession, I think. With most of the shit that I write and put out there, it’s my hope that it gives readers the freedom to be really honest about their obsessions, to talk about the stuff that they care about maybe a little too much.
Even if that means being a navel-gazing, self-absorbed douchebag?
Sure, yeah, why not? We’re all walking around obsessing about things all the time. But it’s trained out of you, because that’s not the way people are supposed to be.
I don't know about you other hypothetical and potentially-nonexistent blog readers out there, but I personally find it intriguing to read about people being candid about their musical fangasms again. There just isn't enough passion left in this world, these days a lot of people get ridiculed whenever they're crazy enough to want to pursue their passions. And that's terrible.


My point is that as long as it's within reason, we should be okay with being unapologetic about the things we like! And that goes the same for everybody! As Seed-Man Almond pointed out, sometimes there really is no use trying to make others "see reason" whenever music is concerned.
... that’s the contradiction of rock journalism. Critics can be totally sharp and smart and see through all the bullshit, and at the same time be completely irrelevant to the people who love music. You can’t argue with a Mariah Carey fan about why Mariah Carey is terrible. You can point out that it’s inferior art, but that has nothing to do with people’s hearts or how they experience music.
And now, thanks to the following quote, Mister Seed has officially become a man after my own heart.
O.K., fine. These goddamn kids today have it too easy, with their iPods and their file-sharing networks. Has instant gratification taken the fun out of music?
I think so, yeah. I kinda miss when music was less available. I remember listening to the radio as a kid and being like, “Please, DJ. Please, fate. Smile upon me and play ‘Undercover Angel.’”


... So I’d sit next to the radio, just waiting for it to come on. I was like, “I need this! I need to hear that rocking song.” I could’ve just played it for myself, but it’s never the same. It’s too easy. You want somebody else to validate that a song kicks ass. It feels so much better when it’s the guy on the radio playing it and not just you.
I guess this is why despite all the epic trollery that's been gumming up Youtube since who knows when, I still can't resist reading the comments whenever I pull up the video for a song I liked or remembered from way back when.

Exhibit A:


This song first came out nearly fourteen years ago. Ask a random high school kid about this song or this band now and they might probably shrug and mumble or something. Heck, up until a scant few months ago I had never heard of this song, and I was old enough to remember the old All Saints!

And yet a scant few months ago, some semi-anonymous programmer on a local radio station deemed this dinosaur of the tentative post-grunge era worthy of airplay, and thus rock n00b and nostalgiac alike were dazzled anew.

Exhibit B:


I was genuinely shocked that I wasn't the only person in the world who still enjoyed this song. Heck, I'm surprised other people still remembered Nelly Furtado from her days as a budding, genre-bending indie artist who proudly flaunted her Portuguese roots.

A carefully-selected sampling of comments for this video:
hollister8733 i love this video its so different:]]]

sporadicartist very nice "artistic" piece...
davefearless nelly i'm never gonna stop listening to your music i love u and always will

aliyu123 This song is about people saying nelly sold out when she came on the radio or when she became mainstream. so people who judge her for her latest album should listen to this and the point she's tring to make.

Liago4 her whole first album wuz tha shit

garisbaldeagle This album was refreshing...Folklore was a comfortable album, Loose was a good change for her...and Mi Plan really reflects her cultural-ness (if that's a real word)...I've always been a fan and I'll continue to be a fan for whatever she does next...and to think it all started because I thought she was hot lol.
I know I may be committing a common logical fallacy with this next statement but...
music seemed so much easier to enjoy back then.

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