I Hate Music
IHM POP CHAMELEON WATCH
Bowie Invites Fans To “Mash Him Up” – this is the sort of headline I dream of, but on this occasion my dream turns quickly into nightmare. The “mash-ups” Bowie is talking about are actually ‘mixes’ of two songs – ‘bootlegs’ in other words, which older readers may remember from late 2001. One lucky punter will recoup part of his colossal BowieNet fees by winning a car (hopefully not the same one David is always crashing in). My views on mash-ups are well-known – two songs in one mean double the pain. My views on mash-ups involving not one but two David Bowie songs are unprintable.
Bowie claims he has already been the subject of many such mash-ups. I asked DJ Monkey Typewriter, my contact in the shady bootleg underworld, if this was really the case. He laughed like a diamond dog. “Listen Tanya, mash-ups use hot, new, fresh artists, like…well, OK, like The Strokes. And, um, Nirvana. But Bowie? Nowie.”
Besides which, there’s a basic conceptual problem with Bowie’s scheme. The idea of mash-ups is that the witty juxtaposition of one artist’s song with another artist’s song creates something marvellous and new, a fresh perspective on familiar sounds. I don’t believe that for a moment, but even I will admit that alchemical sparks are more likely when the basic principle of using two songs by different artists is adhered to. Not, in other words, two David Bowie songs. One of which has to be from his horse-frightening latest album. (“But Tin Machine and David Bowie are diff-” no, JUST STOP. Think about what you’re suggesting. Thankyou.). Bowie is making a rod for his own back here – the only fresh perspective likely for the diehard fan is “Blimey, Bowie’s new songs really ARE worse than his old stuff.” And for the rest of us, that perspective is about as fresh as, well, a mash-up.
MORRISSEY – “Irish Blood, English Heart” – REVIEWED BY A SPORTING CELEBRITY!
“Stick it up your bollocks. You’re not even Irish, you English cunt.”
IHM LYRIC WATCH: P BROTHERS Ft SCOR-ZAY-ZEE – “Great Britain”
Who says political hip-hop is dead? You just might if by some astonishing stroke of bad luck you hear “Great Britain” by the P Brothers, who have come out, both barrels blazing to give your complacent arse an injection of TRUTH. Starting with their name.
The song is a catalogue of Great Britain’s ills. The Queen “lives in a house just like Saddam Hussein / They’re both rich so I guess they must be the same” – even they don’t sound too sure of their logic there. Actually there is much to agree with in the song – house prices are shocking, gin prices more so, Britain is the pawn of the US (the only possible explanation for Eamon) and the fact that these guys “learned to rap … in Great Britain” is as big an indictment as you could ask for.
Even so the lyrics bear signs of not having been completely thought through. “Your prisons full of crooks, Great Britain!” cry the P Brothers and/or Scor-Zay-Zee. They sound very angry about it. You might think though that being full of crooks is rather the point of prisons: it’s what makes them, well, ‘prisons’ rather than ‘streets’ or ‘hospitals’. Maybe the P Brothers would prefer to see the prisons full of chancers instead. I certainly might.
What I went to see was a gritty exploration of the clash between the dissaffected youths of the Puerto Rican and Italian immigrant communities in New York in the early 1960’s; taking into the account that the neo-tribal warfare betwixt these two groups merely had the effect of keeping those communities down and distracted them from the treatment by a conservative government who only wanted them for cheap labour.
What I got was some kids cliking their fingers in a vaguely menacing manner.
IHM STUPID PLOTS FOR SONGS WATCH
1: Kate Bush: Babooshka
She wanted to test her husband, she knew exactly what to do
a) Get 20 multiple choice questions prepared for him when he got home from work
b) Hire a Private detective to see if he’s playing away
c) Ask him, late one night in bed, if he was really still comfortable with their relationship and happy, you know, in themarriage. He might not tell the truth but sometimes the way we tell those meaningful lies lets on more than you would imagine.
d) Pretend to be a Russian temptress half your age and send him love letters to coax him into infidelity , even going to the point of meeting whilst putting on a stupid accent like Rene Russo in The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle.
She knew EXACLTY what to do? Methinks the Southern Examining Board know a bit more about testing than Bushie, and they rarely dress up geography teachers as foreign nationals to catch out the know-it-all kids.
One thing that always cheers me in my constant fight against aural dissonance is musics constant quest to reinvent itself. You may think this may make my quest like Heracles battle against the many headed hydra, cut one off and hundreds spring back in its place. Nevertheless Heracles worked out that if he cauterised the wound the head will not grow back. And I feel that time has finally come for glam MOR music. Because if there is a band who needs cauterising, preferably alive, it is the Scissor Sisters. And I feel with their gung ho desperation to try and throw anything in the mix from Elton John to the Bee Gees and Pink Floyd they are doing more than I can ever do to destroy an entire genre of music.
Who now can listen to Staying Alive without thinking of Comfortably Numb. Who can now listen to Pink Floyd without thinking of the Bee Gees. Since the Venn diagram of fans of either type of music DO NOT INTERSECT we have happily juxtaposed horror with a sensation that used to give (dubious pleasure). I cannot begin to understand what pleasure anyone could derive from any aspect of Pink Floyd’s The Wall except perhaps watching Bob Geldof’s acting career go up in smoke, but now mit is physically impossible. Can one hear Hall and Oates without thinking Laura. Indeed the intersection of all these lousy seventies bands with a new one destroys all the retro music lovers. Because one thjing is for sure, it would be impossible to like the Scissor Sisters themselves, at least not without at least two layers of irony.
I have never liked bands who have pseudonyms and dress up. Fundamentally what all hitmen want is a name, and address and a decent photo. I tried setting up a mafia contract on Ana Matronic, and all I got was a positive ID on Mantronix (who I would have gone for but frankly he ain’t troubling the charts anynore). They aren’t even all girls, some sisters they are. Still, one album has done more to destroy a whole decade of crap music than I have been able to do for a while. As long as the cut it out afterwards, I might let them live. If they decided to become binmen under their god given names that is. They are already acqauinted with so much rubbish it would not be a huge culture shock.
Much has been made of my flinty personality. Tanya, people say couched in the armour of booze you seem to be a pretty tough cookie. After setting them straight vis a vis the provenance of cookies and the far more preferable biscuit, I admit to their bruise visage that yes, perhaps I could be seen as a self-sufficient, ball-breaking kind of woman. Examples of balls I have broken recently have been propelling Justin Timberlake and The Darkness up the pop charts. But how did I come to be this way.
Well, let us look at two other single minded, tough girls. Look, there is the Betty Spaghetti of pop, Christina Aguilera. And the kiddie pants buying Brummie R&B siren Jamelia. What have these hard honeys got in common. Well they have both recently released records explaining that their strength comes from being hurt. Physically, emotionally by ex-partners and in Christina’s case at least, make-up artists. Indeed it is key to hear exactly how this relationship has made a six million dollar woman out of Aggie:
Cause it makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
Frankly going out with a crap bloke gives you a veritable SHAZAM! of superpowers. Notably though it did not make her any prettier. In comparison Jamelia merely gets a bit stronger because of the million ways her fella hurt her. Perhaps though, with this being her only power, it’s a bit like The Hulk. Certainly she always seems to be bursting out of her clothes. Perhaps Jamelia is strongest of them all.
But no. Of course this is not why I have this tough personality. At least not exactly. No man has ever left me in tears, that is my job. There is a reason most bands take two years to make a record, and that is the time it takes to get over my vicious personal attacks. But I suppose when I realised that I literally could not stand music; well there was the first cut. And as we know, that cut is the deepest. The over 50 million blows that is everyone who ever turns a radio on has made me a touch defensive. So maybe I have been made stronger by the constant lash of tunes on my poor brain. And perhaps it has made me a fighter. But unlike the abuse loving Aguilera and Jamelia, I’m not saying thank you.