Posts from 3rd April 2002

Apr 02

DUEL 2002! — Round 1 Match 11

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DUEL 2002! — Round 1 Match 11

Duel 2002 – Round 1 Match 11

Which Of These Two Bands Is Worse?

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Over to Pete for the lowdown on these combatants:

‘Songs about spies, parachutes and custard (well it is all Yellow)- that’s what we expect from Coldplay. Tedium, boy-next door angst – but no so much that you might consider self harming – rock is also what we expect from Coldplay. Four non-descript chancers who saw a gap in the market for being blander than Travis – that’s what we expect from Coldplay. The unexpected – well we don’t expect that so I think we’ll be seeing ver ‘Play in the next round of Duel.

Except – oo-ee-oo its those Buddy Holly lookalikes Weezer who provide ample opposition. Perhaps it is harsh to judge them upon their 1995 geek rock classic since they have matured and become a serious rock band. But hey – that video with the Fonz. You wanted to punch ’em then, are you really trying to tell me you don’t want to punch ’em now? Like Hash Pipe was a great step forward in maturity anyway.’

LAST RESULTS: U2 64% – Ryan Adams 36%

A plucky stand by the alt-country troubadour against the highly fancied U2 but really there can be only one winner and Bono’s procession to round 2 is assured. Here’s what you had to say:

‘U2 is the clear winner. Ryan’s aural sins are commited at the cafe level, whereas U2’s are nearly inescapable. Furthermore, Ryan strives to recreate another group’s past (arguably the process all rock artists work at), while U2 struggle to recreate their own past, a sure sign to STOP.’

‘if bono changes sunglasses one mroe time, im gonna need a colastomy bag.’

‘Ryan Adams is no good. Actually, I’ve never heard anything by him. But I’m unconvinced by the idea that he is the saviour of sports country, or that sports country is in any sense worth saving. And I like a lot of music by U2. So Ryan, you’re going down.’

‘Until someone is able to convince me of the existance of ONE decent Ryan Adams song, I maintain he is worse than U2. Sad as it may seem, 50 years from now, U2 will be widely remembered (ugh, even fondly by some people). Ryan Adams is forgettable and I only heard that stupid New York song of his 5 minutes ago and I can’t recall a damn thing about it.’

‘who’s ryan adams? u2 tries to save rock (again!). they lose.’

‘I have heard perhaps 3 mintues of ryan adams, no more. this is enough to really not care about his existence. I only care more about u2 because they make me sing along after I have heard their songs a thousand times.’

‘Bono represents everything that is stupid and vile… and quite possibly the stupidest man on earth. It doesn’t help that they haven’t had a decent tune that wasn’t lifted from A-ha in nearly 20 years.

Ryan Adams doesn’t fry my burger, but I just can’t care about him either way.’

‘New York, New York sucks. But go out and get Heartbreaker. Its brilliant, and sounds very little like the overproduced, over-elton johnd Gold. Listen to the song “come pick up” and then let me hear your opinion.’

Pete Townshend

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Pete Townshend on the subject of rock opera’s – obviously countering a previous wafer thin critique on the same by Sean O’Hagen. Rock Opera’s along with concept albums are still seen as fantastically naff ideas. How dare pop stars have these grandiose ideas. I disagree with much of what Townshend says here – though he certainly has something regarding the pretensions of the art school set. But as the man for who is responsible for much of the good and much of the bad that came out of rock operas his defence of rock operas themselves seem somewhat weak. On the other hand his justification and obvious pleasure in being involved in pop music does read rather well.

However for every three of Townshends lousy critic bating points he does manage to make the odd good one. Which is more than can be said of O’Hagen here. In a flimsy piece rife with the worst kinds of generalisations he appears to completely miss the point – both of rock operas and classical artists covering pop classics. Just as the critic is a consumer of pop music (and therefore will be occasionally hit by a song as Townshend puts it) so are musicians. They make their own music to try and satisify the search for that moment, and to cover that perfect song may be an attempt to personalise that moment. Their karaoke moment.

On balance it is certainly better to look at Tommy as an album that contains a number of good pop songs. Whilst there is certainly the defence that most classical operas have stupid plots too – the crux of the success and deification of a deaf, dumb and blind pinball player still stands up as one of the daftest stories ever written. Yet Quadrophenia while has a much better plot (for which read at least vaguely coherent), it also has the worse songs. Listening again though to some of the excesses of prog and concept albums there are still gems to be found within them. The strike rate of good track to bad is probably as good as on the non-concept albums. The bonus is that there is something for you to giggle at while you listen to those pop moments which may define your life.

IHM LYRIC WATCH: XTC: Mayor Of Simpleton

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XTC: Mayor Of Simpleton
“Never been near a University”

So was it some sort of XTC tribute band (Ex-TC maybe) that played the following gigs:

April 21 1979 – University College, Dublin
April 22 1979 – Queen’s University, Belfast
May 1 1979 – Reading University
May 2 1979 – Loughborough University
May 5 1979 – Bradford University
May 12 1979 – London School of Economics (Part of the University of London)

And that is just one tour. Do not believe a word they say kids. Other great XTC lies include that fact that they never actually enlisted in the army as promised in Sergeant Rock, they never made a plan for Nigel and that they have five senses – let alone working overtime. Even if they are not deficient in hearing – which a cursory listen to any of their records would suggest they are – they certainly lack taste.