Posts from 1st September 2000

Sep 00


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1471: Gareth’s ‘what’s new’ section at Surface Vs Depth has a name of its own, and has very regular updates, and they’re about music, and clever, and…..well, he doesn’t use the dreaded word, but essentially what we’re looking at here is a weblog. Welcome aboard!

What’s a nice Britpop boy like Damon Albarn doing in a place like Mali?

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What’s a nice Britpop boy like Damon Albarn doing in a place like Mali?: wonder if the Times sub-header writer realised how dodgy that sounds…..anyway, “cooking up a solo album” is the answer. It’s all in a good cause, unlike the forthcoming 9-minute improvised single which will have EMI chiefs swearing blue murder as they try to promote Blur’s Greatest Hits (a record which if well-picked might actually be pretty good). Via Esc.

MARILYN MANSON – Disposable Teens

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MARILYN MANSON – Disposable Teens

As Fred says, there can’t have been many people who didn’t quietly shudder at the idea of Marilyn Manson doing a ‘tribute to Gary Glitter’. Which is just how Maz wanted it, of course, but he’s a cannier star than most and knows that right now he needs the media, stocked with liberal humanist softies though it is. That said, the core fanbase – outcast kids with little option but to fight Darwinism with nihilism – apparently didn’t think much of Mechanical Animals. Marilyn now has to tread a path between keeping them empathised and following his critic-friendly glam-rock calling.

“Disposable Teens” might not go down too well with the hardest-core flourfaced fuckups, but everybody else should rightly love it. It’s Manson on form, absurd and fabulous, howling and thrilling. But behind the (awesomely realised) Glitterbeat and the digital guitar grind, a curious realisation strikes: Marilyn Manson is Brett Anderson, or rather what Brett could have been if he’d dropped the godawful ballads and cocked an ear to something a bit ballsier than Bowie. Oh, and if he was a six times better vocalist: Manson’s treated roar trounces Anderson’s mewling wimp-wail, easy. Marilyn Manson the ‘band’ have all the shamelessness and flash Suede aspired to, and kept crapping out on. They have all Suede’s showiness and bloat, too, but that comes with the glam territory – it’s not a style that concerns itself much with details.

Obviously, the comparison breaks down somewhat when it comes to the words. Marilyn Manson seems as theologically inclined as ever, though it’s a subject he mines well. Jaded commentators probably decry his obsession with religion as repetitive and tiresome, but what I find oddest is that in a country as devout as the USA, more stars don’t have a crack at the subject. Manson’s myriad blasphemies are usually entertaining, anyway, and give his stuff a focus and verve lacking in his more vapidly decadent competition: “Disposable Teens” might be preposterous guff, Manson clearly being no more teenage than I am, but it has all the glitter and spirit you could want from him.


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Philosophy, food, silly attempts at hip-hop: long have these been the three cornerstones of French culture. MC Solaar is the world’s longest-serving French rapper, which makes him after Weird Al Yankovic the world’s longest-serving novelty act, too. “Good Lord, it is a French man who raps!” cry homiez worldwide as they encounter Monseiur Solaar for the first time. “How droll! Look! He’s doing it again! And again! And….ah. Haven’t you got anything else?” The sad problem for MC Solaar and his fellow rhymeurs in crossover terms is that you listen to hip-hop because in part you are interested in what the MCs are saying. A cutting indictment of the state of foreign language teaching perhaps, but in Solaar’s case this is not really possible.

Mind you, to give him credit MC Solaar is doing his best for the furtherance of education. On the Jazzmatazz album he raps the following: “Je joue au golf / Ballesteros est mon prof”. This is not only rubbish, not only a lie, it’s a rubbish lie lifted from a C-Grade GCSE French paper. Having struck this vein of lyrical gold, Solaar was quick to follow it up, with the tracks “J’aime Ecoute Les Disques” and “Allez Tout Droite Et Tournez A Gauche” and the groundbreaking album Ten Nouns You Would Take To A Party.

(Thanks to Greg Scarth and Nicky Davenport).