Posts from 20th June 2000

20
Jun 00

Moltar’s Page of the Beautiful Rock Hair

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Moltar’s Page of the Beautiful Rock Hair: alt boyz like nothing more than to disrespect ‘hair metal’. While NYLPM’s kneejerk revisionism can’t go so far as to rehabilitate the noise Whitesnake actually made, it’s worth pointing out to some of the dissers that at least the hair bands cared enough about theirs to fucking wash it sometimes. (link via Amplified To Rock which is, as they say, GRATE.)

JOHNNY CASH – “FOLSOM PRISON BLUES”

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JOHNNY CASH – “FOLSOM PRISON BLUES”

“I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die…”

That line from “Folsom Prison Blues” still gets a reaction out of the crowds whenever he plays just as it got one from the inmates at Folsom Prison when he performed this song there live. In this day, though, of anything-goes, the line barely registers, though during the “Gangsta Rap” controversy several years ago, this song was thrown back at those who would accuse the rappers of glorifying violence.

It’s hard to imagine anything more vicious than shooting a man just to watch him die — it’s like something out of a Quentin Tarantino film (it’s no surprise that the man is a fan and contributed an essay to the new three-disc Cash set entitled, Love, God, Murder) — and yet Cash delivers it so matter-of-factly that it sounds like a downright normal thing for him to do. Soul artists like Marvin Gaye and Al Green were always torn between the spiritual and the sexual, the sacred and the profane: Johnny Cash had to reconcile his faith with what seemed like a ravenous appetite for destruction.

“Folsom Prison Blues,” for all of the controversy that has surrounded it, is actually a cautionary tale. “Far from Folsom Prison, that’s where I want to stay,” goes the last verse. The message is simple: Jail is not cool and being robbed of his freedom makes Cash hang his head and cry. When that “Gangsta Rap” dialogue was going on, the point that should’ve been brought up was that both “Folsom Prison Blues” and much rap of the time didn’t glorify violence, but instead used their songs to advise against it: If you’ve never done wrong before, you have no credibility; what they, Cash and the rappers, had done needed to be illustrated so that their points would carry weight.

This issue of Freaky Trigger is dedicated to Bad Music. Well, they don’t come any badder than Johnny Cash. So here’s to the original “American Bad Ass” (no offense, Kid Rock).

What’s on your

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What’s on your RIO?: My new MP3 player is just so lovely, even if it is objectively speaking an overpriced gew-gaw which is a hassle to update all the time. But from my single-holic point of view, it’s a treat. What have I been listening to? Well, apart from a certain mimsy Scots band, the following:

Act‘s awesome “Snobbery And Decay”, the 12″ mix with hilarious spoken word asides (“Charter a small private jet…”) from Claudia Brucken. It’s a late-80s anti-yuppie song which itself sounds like a million dollars, so you can have your nostalgia cake and eat it.
DMX‘s monster “Party Up”: how come these damned enormous hip-hop hits never hit so big over here? “It sounds like a sports game”, said Fred, and he’s right, but DMX takes it with the poised aggro of a great sports player.
Stacey Q‘s “Two Of Hearts”, which again we never got in England. The beat is on, Q sings with a mouth full of icing sugar, the stutter almost trumps Britney for voice-manipulation pop kicks.
The Dandy Warhol‘s “Nietzche”, big dumb drum fun. Their new album is a deeply frustrating record – just like Daria, the funny bits are way less funny for trying so hard to be deadpan.
The Television Personalities‘ “Part Time Punks”, a showdown between nasty snobbery and Biscuit-style observation-comedy. The shambolic good-naturedness means that the comedy wins out, easy.

Finally

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Finally I get round to replying to Western Homes, whose mention of us last Wednesday has sparked a monster flood of hits at precisely the point at which my social life explodes, my sleeping patterns head west and my weblogging as a result goes completely haywire.

Obviously, thanks for the complements and the hits, though given we nick all our news links and plough a weird British furrow tastewise I don’t think NYLPM can be said to be setting any kind of agenda. And I’m “independent of spirit” only until someone pays me to sell out, ha ha. (I do firmly believe that the potential readership of music weblogs is monster and that with a bit of luck and hype all the independent-content music sites could be raking in lots more hits than they are, but that’s hardly the point of things, anyway).

WH asks some interesting questions about what kind of reviews people rate. He likes ones he disagrees with – I prefer ones which say something about a record better than I could, or notice something I’d not spotted, or best of all offer me a whole new way to listen to a record. That’s why I like sites like his which don’t mind delving into collections and reviewing old stuff: it gives more of a sense that there’s a conversation going on about music. Similarly I like the way Pitchfork take their time over getting reviews out – for me that suggests self-respect, a feeling that one’s opinion is worth reading even if it’s not absolutely topical.

Ain’t Nuttin’ But A G Thang For Becks

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Ain’t Nuttin’ But A G Thang For Becks – fantastic! Apparently the newspaper New Nation claimed that David Beckham was “a walking tribute to Tupac Shakur”.

This news has been out a month, so why has no one jumped on it? I think this is an excellent story: “Beckham is hardcore.” The British public wants to see Becks writing for Hip Hop Connection!

Fred questioned why the British are obsessed with “Thick and Thin” and this is another example of that obsession. The Beckhams are our national treasures because the story just gets stranger and stranger. Victoria achieved world domination with the Spice Girls (it’ll be interesting to see how their new material does after such a long break, though…) and Beckham is one of the greatest footballers of his generation. The interest arises from the fact that both appear to be somewhat lacking in intelligence and Victoria’s raw musical talent is questionable to say the least. With more stories appearing daily about the pair (Beckham’s a Tupac tribute, Victoria’s anorexic, Brooklyn’s got the same boots as his dad, Victoria’s recording solo material…) they’re the sports/music gossip writer’s dream.

If only they’d now re-make “World In Motion” with Becks taking John Barnes’ part.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. There’s a new

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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. There’s a new PopJustice up (only one joke, but a good one) and about a billion reviews of bands I know nothing about (a surefire mark of quality, go get ’em kids) at Splendid.

The Great Tune Robbery

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The Great Tune Robbery – in which the NME reports the “news” that the chords to Travis’ “Writing To Reach You” are the same as the chords to “Wonderwall”. This comes as no surprise to anyone who’s had the pleasure of hearing the song. (Link nicked off yer man Fred as seems to be the NYLPM standard.)

The song was debuted at the Scottish “T In The Park” festival (at about 3pm on July 11th 1998, if I’m not mistaken) and the crowd’s reaction summed up my feelings on the song. After a seemingly endless build-up from the band (“This is our new song, we’re really proud of it, it took us ages to write, we’ll release it soon, this if the first time we’ve played it live, we’re really proud of it…”) they launched into… A COVER VERSION OF “WONDERWALL”! And how we laughed. That is, until we realised that the little indie-pop pixie was singing the wrong words. This actually was a song that they’d written.

Still, I suppose these crazy antics of the kilt-sporting fun-lovers are a triumph for “classic song writing” fans everywhere…

Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP

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Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP: you will roll your eyes when you read the review, and if you wish to laugh like a dog when you see the accompanying photo, I cannot stop you. Ken Tucker drops in a Genet reference to show he’s a clever guy, then proves he isn’t for the next 500 words. Nobody’s saying Enimem’s stuff is poetry, they’re saying his rhyming is superb performance-wise, a marriage of pop-eyed stand-up and rap braggadocio: it’s no coincidence his weakest tracks are the ones where he tones it down the most. Emily Dickinson, in other words, can piss off.

As for the ‘white’ thing – it wasn’t a white guy who heard Eminem’s demos and signed him to Aftermath: there’s no conspiracy here. The fact is that while Em is white, he’s also the first white rapper in 20 years to have achieved stardom while maintaining any form of hip-hop cred: it seems to me that previously white rappers have been out-and-out pop, or have relied on the rock and alternative audience for success. Yes, I do think there’s an element of racial bias in the way Eminem is seen as funny and the humourous elements of Jay-Z, say, get lost, but that’s also something both artists play along with themselves.

Saying Eminem is successful simply because he’s white is a cop-out, a neat bit of liberal gamesmanship which lets writers play at being ‘real’ hip-hop headz and also get off without bothering to consider the records too much. (Link via Fred, again)

Star guests on first Go-Betweens album for 12 years

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Star guests on first Go-Betweens album for 12 years: (link via Fred, who’s been keeping the music blog flame alive during my relative inactivity). Well, on the one hand it’s a new Go-Betweens album. On the other hand it’s a new Go-Betweens’ album featuring Pavement and Elliot Smith. There were two ways they could have gone, really: burnished adult songwriting a la their last studio albums, or indie and ‘angular’. Call me a softie, but 16 Loves Lane is one of the swooniest records I know, and I’d have much preferred the former.

Will I still buy it? Don’t be silly: all this means is that I’ll wait until lunchtime rather than camping overnight.

For a Rock Aesthetic

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For a Rock Aesthetic “It is quite pathetic to read essay by Wilfred Mellers, Ned Rorem or Tony Palmer concerned with comparing the Lennon-McCartney songbook to Schubert or Poulenc, as if work in the genre of ‘song’ could have any aesthetic value in the midth-20th century, and as if such a conception has any place in the rock aesthetic, even for Lennon an McCartney themselves.”: Marxist criticism of pop aesthetics from the early 1970s. Hardcore stuff, I must warn you, though the intellectual end of the readership may find some stuff to ponder here even as they shake their heads at the inflexibility of it all. V. rude to, and quite accurate about, Nik Cohn.