inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #76 of 134: Berliner (captward) Sun 14 Apr 02 02:48
    
Well, jeez, whaddya expect with a title like that..? 

Smart bands will insist in a "key man" clause in their contract, which
voids the contract if the person designated as "key man" leaves. That
way, if it's your A&R person, for instance, you don't do the
stepchild-overnight thing. 

Incidentally, as a further illustration of why a band with any clue at
all might not want to be on a major, here's a little thing I got in
the mail not long ago. It came with an advance copy of the band's new
album, and is a beer mat with the following on it:

5 Song CD available now at a great low price!
Highway 9
Recommended if you like Bruce Springsteen, Train, the Eagles, Counting
Crows, etc.

Now, I've never heard of Train (I know, I'm totally out of it these
days), but I'd certainly like to know the point at which Springding,
the Eagles, and the Crows intersect. Further, if this were my band they
were talking about, I'd be seriously pissed off that my originality
and *difference* from what else was out there wasn't what was being
pushed. This reads to me like "sounds like a whole lotta other bands."
After all, they've all got their second-rate imitators. And now poor
Highway 9's been added to the list. 
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #77 of 134: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 14 Apr 02 09:30
    
After hearing Lawrence Lessig talk at SXSW about copyright, here's what I
suspect is happening: the real goal of the majors is to tie up copyrights and
constrain the creation of new music, so that they can endlessly recycle what's
worked, kind of like those 'classic rock & pop' radio stations. And if anybody
does new music, they'll analyze for infringing material (this riff was copied
from Springsteen!) and take 'em to court. And they either control or stifle
all distribution channels, including the Internet ('we'll sue you if you
distribute that mp3, it's got a riff they stole from Springsteen!') so that
eventually they don't have to screw with the 'talent.' They just wait for 'em
to die and keep extending the copyrights ad inifinitum.
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #78 of 134: Berliner (captward) Sun 14 Apr 02 09:35
    
That seems bizarrely paranoid, and not a little self-defeating on the
part of the record companies, Jon. Kids *want* new music -- and we're
talking kids here, the naive, uncomplaining masses who buy Britney and
N'Sync. If this policy had been true, and in effect ten years ago,
where would those performers have gotten their fake hip-hop moves? 

Plus, of course, with the exception of a couple of high-profile
trials, like the one that nailed George Harrison for "My Sweet Lord,"
the stolen-riff ploy hasn't worked at all. And even with George, it's
arguable that he stole the greater portion of the song, not just a
four-bar riff. 
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #79 of 134: David Gans (tnf) Sun 14 Apr 02 09:51
    

> the real goal of the majors is to tie up copyrights

Yes.  All the changes in the copyright laws would appear to favor even the
smallest creative types like me, but the market is so rigged that only he
giants really have a chance to sell anything.

And it seems to me that music gets into the market not on its own merits, but
mostly on the coattails of other enterprises, e.g. TV shows and movies.  And
fast-food tie-ins.
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #80 of 134: David Menconi (davidmenconi) Sun 14 Apr 02 11:32
    
>I'd be seriously pissed off that my originality and *difference* from
what else was out there wasn't what was being pushed.>
>

But that's not how anything is marketed nowadays, Ed. For example, a
few years back, I wound up on a radio-station focus group -- where they
play little 4-second soundbites of songs, and you rate them on a scale
of 1-6. Give a song a 6 and that means you love it enough to turn it
up and sing along. Further down were scores for burnout, hatred,
neutrality.

But the revealing part was that 1, the lowest possible score, was for
something you had never heard before. Apparently, it never occurred to
whoever designed this survey that it might be possible to like
something you hear for the first time. That's market research for ya.
It's designed more to reassure MegaCorps that people are happy with
what they're getting, rather than to gauge what people actually want.
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #81 of 134: David Gans (tnf) Sun 14 Apr 02 11:34
    

Didn't Graham Parker write a song about this sort of "passive research,"
which is intended to reinforce what the consultants want the stations to
play?
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #82 of 134: Berliner (captward) Sun 14 Apr 02 12:06
    
You may be thinking about "Mercury Poisoning," Herr Gans. 

And in reference to the beer mat, Herr M., what I found weird is that
this is the sort of thing going out to press. It didn't seem to be a
piece of consumer merchandising.  That's why I found it anomalous. 
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #83 of 134: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 14 Apr 02 12:34
    
Ed, I would've thought the thinking in my post above was paranoid, too, before 
I heard Lessig speak. What I posted was simplistic and extreme, I know, but it 
highlights the problem: media conglomerates like Disney are trying to sustain 
copyrights (hence the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, aka the Mickey Mouse 
Protection Act) for as long as possible, diminishing the same IP commons that 
made Disney (several of whose early successes were derived from Grimm's Fairy 
Tales).  So you lose the ability to sample, to derive, and in the extreme, you 
might lose the ability to incorporate a riff you heard once and buried 
somewhere in your head (the George Harrison case).

So I think it's worth our concern, even more so because the aforementioned 
conglomerates have grown so large and have grabbed control of so many of the 
media channels that exist. 
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #84 of 134: Suttle (su) Sun 14 Apr 02 12:51
    
(uh, Ed, Re: Train: 4 grammy nominations 2002, including Record of the
Year and Song of the Year, but they only won 2, for Best Rock Song and
Best Instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalist(s). All the
nominations were for "Drops of Jupiter")
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #85 of 134: David Gans (tnf) Sun 14 Apr 02 15:02
    

From: Drclueful@aol.com
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 2002 17:37:54 EDT
Subject: David Menconi: Off The Record
To: inkwell-hosts@well.com


> Train: 4 grammy nominations 2002, including Record of the Year and 
> Song of the Year


pshew, thank you. I was worried that this thread was going to turn into
another Pazz & Jop rocking-chair exercise in which all music created in
the last five years by anyone under the age of 35 is blithely ignored
and/or snidely discredited as "pop" by the critics purportedly in
charge of culturally rating it.  Remember, the Beatles were the
Backstreet Boys of 1963.  More importantly, asking a 21-year old born
in 1981 to give a shit about the Fabs would be like asking me to revere
the Andrew Sisters when I was 21 in 1979.
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #86 of 134: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 14 Apr 02 15:58
    
That piece of mail suggests a question for David, Ed, and anybody else who's 
got an opinion: what do you listen to now that's new? (I promise that we'll 
get back to the book... we've got plenty of time!)
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #87 of 134: David Menconi (davidmenconi) Sun 14 Apr 02 18:11
    
>Remember, the Beatles were the Backstreet Boys of 1963.>
>

Chris, I love your contrarian streak and always have; but do you
really, honestly, deep down in your heart of hearts believe this? I
mean, I'll cop to taking a certain amount of guilty pleasure in some
Backstreet songs. They can sing, especially on ballads, and "I Want It
That Way" is pretty killer (Ryan Adams has covered that one live to
pretty amazing effect). But I just have a hard time imagining that, 30
years after the Backstreet Boys are gone, anybody is gonna care.
Fifteen years ago, I think it would have been just as easy (and
meaningless) to declare, "Remember, the Beatles were the Bon Jovi of
1963."

Understand, I'm not a Beatles progagandist, nor am I trying to
denigrate contemporary music. I think there are periods when vitality
is found in the mainstream and periods when it's found on the margins,
and we're in one of the latter phases now. The stuff I tend to like
nowadays tends to be more off the beaten path, anyway (I could name
names, or just direct anybody who cares to head over to the Village
Voice website and look up who I put in my Pazz & Jop top-10s the last
few years).




>More importantly, asking a 21-year old born in 1981 to give a shit
about the Fabs would be like asking me to revere the Andrew Sisters
when I was 21 in 1979.>
>

Well, here's the scary thing about that: Kids today *do* care. The guy
who teaches the history-of-rock class at the University of North
Carolina gets about 300 students signed up every year, and he says his
students' overwhelming favorite is 60s/70s-vintage classic rock --
Beatles, Stones, Who, et al.

Of course, plenty (probably even most) kids are more into hip-hop and
nu-metal nowadays. But a whole bunch are still listening to the same
records their parents were listening to. Which is, well, weird. UNC had
a Linda McCartney photo exhibit last summer, and at the opening I was
astounded at how many kids were there with their parents. For a lot of
folks, rock & roll has gone from something you use to shock your
parents to something you pass on to your kids.

I think a lot of this is due to the baby boom's continuing
stranglehold on the media, and a lot of it is due to audience
fragmentation. You can also blame the music/radio industries -- it's
easier to make money strip-mining the old stuff than trying to build up
something new. There's plenty of worthwhile records that come out
every year, but the deck is stacked in such a way that it's damn near
impossible for anything that's not rigidly formatted to get the
exposure you need to attain universal cultural relevancy (which really
doesn't seem to exist anymore, if ever it did).

I'll stop now...
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #88 of 134: David Menconi (davidmenconi) Sun 14 Apr 02 21:47
    
>>Didn't Graham Parker write a song about this sort of "passive
research," which is intended to reinforce what the consultants want the
stations to play?>>
>
>You may be thinking about "Mercury Poisoning"...>
>

Actually, Mr. Parker did indeed do a song about this called "Passive
Resistance." Kinda the followup to "Mercury Poisoning." Poor Graham...
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #89 of 134: Berliner (captward) Mon 15 Apr 02 02:42
    
<jonl> asks what I listen to now that's new. Virtually nothing. Not
out of disinclination, but because between 1968 and 1993 I was on the
mailing list of virtually every record company in America and got to at
least hold in my hand each release, deciding whether I wanted to
listen to it or not. Sometime in the '90s, the flood of product got too
much, and I started excluding more stuff from the in-pile, but in 1993
I moved to Europe and suffered a total collapse of both my financial
and recorded economies. I didn't have the money to spend $24 on a CD
(yes, with the tax, that's how much some of them cost), and German
record companies don't mail out promos. 

So my ignorance about Train has two sources: first, I don't have
access to new releases, and second, and most interestingly, the vast
majority of acts which do well in the States don't mean a thing over
here. The Continent and America have been pulling away from each other
ever since I got here, and certain genres, like "Americana" (and boy,
do I hate that one), mean absolutely nothing over here. Even the
hip-hop on the charts tends to be German. (And, in France, all those
French/Arab or French/African blends). Nu-metal, too, isn't so
prominent, since there are tons of straight metal bands all over the
place. 

Because of my work for Fresh Air, I'm fairly up-to-date on the
reissues being put out, and because of a couple of friendly labels,
most notably Bloodshot, I can keep up with some of my favorite artists
in the "Americana" area, thanks to their sending me the occasional care
package. But you'll notice that I never attempt to portray myself as
up-to-speed on contemporary music, nor have I voted in the Pazz & Jop
poll over the past decade. 

Plus, of course, the work I have been getting has been in other areas.
There *are* other arts out there, and other things to write about.
I've always dreaded having "rock critic" on my tombstone. 
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #90 of 134: Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 15 Apr 02 11:09
    
E-mail from Drclueful:

But I just have a hard time imagining that, 30 years after the Backstreet 
Boys are gone, anybody is gonna care. 

oh, i completely agree from a technical perspective. it's just that when the 
beatles first hit, the consensus by music critics was pretty much "bring on 
the lions." they were perceived as a tuneless fad exclusively designed to 
separate teenage girls from their allowances, denigrated much the same way as 
early frank sinatra and elvis. of course they went on to prove everyone 
wrong, and they were one of the very few exceptions when genius was 
recognized in real time. but pop is always about the moment, and for kids 
today, the backstreet boys are gonna resonate a lot longer and harder than 
their grandparents' favorite moptops. the beatles' songwriting chops have 
turned their catalog into "happy birthday," but it's fascinating to see how 
the rest of the 1960s have started to disappear as cultural 
touchstones...motown, the stones, even hendrix is fading. about time, too. 


> I think there are periods when vitality is found in the mainstream and 
> periods when it's found on the margins, and we're in one of the latter 
> phases now. 

again, kids today think their music is just as vital as the baby boom's 
greatest hits. sure, we can argue that led zeppelin is "better" than creed, 
but they aren't going to play "stairway to heaven" at the class of 01's 20th 
reunion. what bugs me is when critics continue to hawk the rotting corpse of 
another era...for example, all the replacements/pet sounds/woody gutherie 
nostalgia inherent in wilco has zip in common with contemporary music, so 
it's a wonder they sell 20,000, much less 200,000 albums. and the strokes are 
the harry connick of rock...a pointless museum exhibit (note: preceding 
insight via simon reynolds). i applaud radiohead for sussing the sea change 
and bailing outta the britpop/guitarzan approach while oasis and pearl jam 
continue to grind out power chords like it's 1995. it all reminds me of the 
marshall crenshaw syndrome, in which artists can't comprehend why recreating 
revolver doesn't result in the same level of success as the beatles enjoyed 
in 1966. as the monkees noted, that was then, this is now.

and yes, the mid 60s through the early 70s are going to be rock's 
bach/beethoven/chopin moment, forever embalmed as the definitive DNA of the 
genre. 

> For a lot of folks, rock & roll has gone from something you use to shock 
> your parents to something you pass on to your kids.

rap and hip hop have effectively replaced rock in the piss-off-dad 
department. and while i agree that lots of kids appreciate the who, it's punk 
that defines their music today (and annoys their parents, yaaah!). my kids 
listen exclusively to chat-room handle bands like sum 41, blink 182, alien 
ant farm and the offspring, all of whom sound exactly like the clash covering 
the ramones, although when i try to turn them onto either of those bands, 
their cute little noses crinkle in horror...

> There's plenty of worthwhile records that come out every year,

you bet! but many of them are by artists who can't connect with the 
mainstream. and critics can't seem to get their heads around what's happening 
today because none of it clicks with them the way the 60s and 70s did. it's 
like the way the rock and roll hall of fame continues to induct doo-wop 
"stars" instead of black sabbath...for those geezers, "rock 'n' roll" means 
frankie lymon and the teenagers.

but the deck is stacked in such a way that it's damn near impossible for 
anything 
> that's not rigidly formatted to get the exposure you need to attain 
> universal cultural relevancy (which really doesn't seem to exist anymore, 
> if ever it did).

of course it does! it's not the same as the 1960s, but that was a war (and 
not just the one in vietnam). and there was PLENTY of pap then...herb alpert 
and the singing nun, anyone? but sheesh, everything in the top 10 is 
universally culturally relevant. and lots of artists are breaking through 
with new sounds that bust the format, especially in electronica/dance. as for 
exposure, there are more outlets than ever for music to break through...back 
in the 60s, you had AM radio and a few tv shows like ed sullivan. today, 
there's soundtracks, advertising, the internet, clubs, raves, festivals, 
MTV...and during the 1960s, there were far fewer artists playing rock, so it 
was easier to get heard. 

> what do you listen to now that's new? 

    
(scrolls through the KaZaA shared folder)...andrew wk, pulp, charlatans, 
donnas, sloan, poole, dismemberment plan, local h, josie and the 
pussycats...none of which are top 10, granted, but looping back, pop music is 
for kids, and i'm 43, so i'm not supposed to relate to j-lo. what's 
fascinating to me is that the kids don't share our generation's obsession 
with popular music. for us, music was a weapon, a religion, art that changed 
the world. for them, it's aural wallpaper, a soundtrack for their lives, but 
the internet is their church, if not their woodstock (although it feels more 
like altamont this year, lol).
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #91 of 134: Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 15 Apr 02 11:10
    
E-mail from Fred Mills:

David, at the risk of jumping off-topic here, but having read with interest 
some of the recent postings, I'm curious to get your take on whether a 
loose-cannon type like Ryan Adams -- or, for that matter, an unhinged outfit 
like Off The Record's TAB combo -- is encouraged, so to speak, in the record 
biz. We all know how well bullshit sells; cue up Axl Rose in the States, 
Oasis in the UK. In that regard, too, howcum Whiskeytown never got signed to 
a "proper" major (as opposed to a subsidiary like Outpost) at the height of 
Ryan's boozy antics? And lastly, how much to you think the record company 
encourages Ryan to be a bad boy while being very "protective" of their 
little muppet (i.e., the concerted effort by Ryan and label to discredit the 
recent Magnet Magazine hatchet-job on him)? There seems to be some odd 
tension there -- on the one hand, make sure the artist gets maximum face 
time in the public and press, but try to control/spin it as well? (Full 
disclosure: I'm one of the Magnet editors and was privy to some of the 
behind-the-scenes hooey during the making and aftermath of the article.)
Fred Mills
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #92 of 134: David Gans (tnf) Mon 15 Apr 02 11:15
    

> Actually, Mr. Parker did indeed do a song about this called "Passive Resis-
> tance."

That's the one I was thinking of.
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #93 of 134: David Julian Gray (djg) Mon 15 Apr 02 13:58
    <scribbled>
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #94 of 134: David Gans (tnf) Mon 15 Apr 02 13:59
    

> and certain genres, like "Americana" (and boy, do I hate that one)

May I ask why?
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #95 of 134: David Menconi (davidmenconi) Mon 15 Apr 02 14:17
    
>but pop is always about the moment, and for kids today, the
backstreet boys are gonna resonate a lot longer and harder than  their
grandparents' favorite moptops.>
>

Maybe, maybe not. Not to pick on ol' Jon Bon Jovi too much, but let's
go back to when he had his big moment -- 1987, when Bon Jovi's
"Slippery When Wet" sold 12 million copies (a number as impressive as
anything by the Backstreet Boys). Is some kid who was 14 back then
gonna remember "You Give Love A Bad Name" as something deep and
meaningful? Or will he remember that song the same way I remember its
'70s analogs, "The Night Chicago Died" or "Run Joey Run" or whatever
else?

At some point, aesthetics have to enter into it. It's not hard to find
kids today who like the Beatles, moldy though the music has become; 30
years hence, I doubt you'll find too many 14-year-olds who even know
who the Backstreet Boys were, let alone listen to them. Those Bon Jovi
megahits of yore are basically joke fodder now for "That '80s Show,"
and I expect a similar fate awaits the Backstreet Boys.

Chris, also glad to see you like Andrew WK, a pretty serious guilty
pleasure -- the smartest stoopid record I've heard in years.
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #96 of 134: David Menconi (davidmenconi) Mon 15 Apr 02 14:46
    
>I'm curious to get your take on whether a  loose-cannon type like
Ryan Adams is encouraged, so to speak, in the record  biz...(Full
disclosure: I'm one of the Magnet editors and was privy to some of the
behind-the-scenes hooey during the making and aftermath of the
article.)>

Hoo boy, you would have to bring this up. While we're fully
disclosing, I should note that I was quoted in this Magnet story -- and
Ryan and his people seem to believe I had something to do with writing
and reporting it, for reasons I cannot fathom. So let me try and
address this without further enraging Ryan Adams Inc.

I'll answer the easy question first: Whiskeytown had their pick of
label offers, and Outpost seemed like a great fit. Their A&R guy (Mark
Williams) seemed to understand Ryan perfectly, and how to get good
records out of him. And in their brief existence, Outpost had a pretty
good track record of commercial success (Days of the New, Crystal
Method). Had the UniGram merger not happened and shut down the label, I
think it would have been a very fine place for Ryan to be -- small and
artist-oriented, not unlike A&M back in the day.

As for the encouragement Ryan gets for his antics, that primarily
comes in the form of media buzz. He's good copy and always has been,
because he'll do things like go into a bathroom at a bar with a Rolling
Stone writer and toke up in the middle of an interview. I expect he
did that knowing full well it would show up in print (he’s too savvy
not to), and it adds to his legend. I’m not too crazy about the music
involved (the album "Gold"), but the past six months have shown Ryan to
be an incredibly sharp media manipulator. It's hard to get through a
week nowadays without seeing at least one Ryan-related item in the
people/gossip columns. Whether it's inviting a critic who panned his
record to his show to kick the guy's ass or recording his own personal
tribute version of the Strokes album, the kid is a genius at doing
things that get press attention.

Now I don't believe the powers that be at Lost Highway Records
directly encourage his more outlandish antics; but I don’t think they
go out of their way to discourage them, either. And as I can tell you
from direct experience, when something shows up in print that he/his
people don't like, they've been known to fire back.
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #97 of 134: David Gans (tnf) Mon 15 Apr 02 16:17
    

> it's fascinating to see how the rest of the 1960s have started to disappear
> as cultural touchstones...motown, the stones, even hendrix is fading. about
> time, too.

Why is it a good thing that that music is "fading"?
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #98 of 134: David Gans (tnf) Mon 15 Apr 02 17:39
    

From: Thomas Fornash


David wrote:

> At some point, aesthetics have to enter into it. It's not hard to find kids
> today who like the Beatles, moldy though the music has become; 30 years
> hence, I doubt you'll find too many 14-year-olds who even know who the
> Backstreet Boys were, let alone listen to them. Those Bon Jovi megahits of
> yore are basically joke fodder now for "That '80s Show," and I expect a
> similar fate awaits the Backstreet Boys.

----------------------

It's interesting no one has brought up influence. I'm gonna have a hard time
imagining the Backstreet Boys being fodder for some R&B group a decade down
the road but I can easily imagine some jughead on the Jersey shore channeling
JBJ 15 years down the road. The question of relevancy will come by what they
spawn. The old Peter Buck quote comes to mind about the Velvet Underground...
that only 10,000 people bought the record but everyone of them started a
band. Everything is old, nothing is new. This is a surprise? The Beatles have
meaning to me, at a time when I could live without ever hearing another one
of their records, by hearing the familiar made fresh in the hands of some
young kid with a guitar and a copy of the White Album.
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #99 of 134: Linda Castellani (castle) Tue 16 Apr 02 01:09
    
E-mail from Drclueful:

 it's fascinating to see how the rest of the 1960s have started to disappear
> as cultural touchstones...motown, the stones, even hendrix is fading. about
>> time, too.

>Why is it a good thing that that music is "fading"?


because the 60s have had such an absolute stranglehold on pop music for far 
too long now. it's like what sharon osbourne screamed at her noisy neighbors 
when they're singing along to "my girl"..."f#@!ing middle age pop nonsense." 
pop is supposed to be disposable and of the moment...that's why rap has no 
catalog sales to speak of. perpetual worship of ye olde forefathers can be 
death for a genre...look what happened to classical music. the 60s stars had 
first-mover advantage, not to mention the baby boom as an audience, not to 
mention a historical context as the soundtrack to several revolutions. pretty 
damned good tunes, too (although isn't it funny how the monkees get dissed 
for being prefab while everyone on motown functioned in the same way, ie 
having their songs written by pros, their music played by studio cats, their 
image carefully manipulated, etc.). but enough already. if "rock" is going to 
stay vibrant, it has to evolve. the old fruit has rotted. let the seeds 
flourish. otherwise, it's the new dixieland. 


> I'm gonna have a hard time imagining the Backstreet Boys being fodder for 
> some R&B group a decade down the road but I can easily imagine some jughead 
> on the Jersey shore channeling JBJ 15 years down the road. The question of 
> relevancy will come by what they spawn. 
    
that's true from a purely musical perspective (although you can trace BSB 
from boys 2 men to new kids on the block to new edition and so one all the 
way back to doo wop). i was talking more about relevancy for the 
listener...when you hear an oldie, it transports you back to that time and 
place. how does a kid born in 1981 gain any cultural currency or nostalgia 
from "purple haze" beyond a cool riff-fest dad plays a lot? they're making 
out for the first time to britney or alicia or alanis, not janis.

> >> Those Bon Jovi megahits of yore are basically joke fodder now for "That 
>> '80s Show," and I expect a similar fate awaits the Backstreet Boys.

just because they weren't your childhood passions doesn't mean they weren't 
someone else's. look at abba...they were the beatles for a generation, 
especially in europe, and their compilations are still selling like crazy, 
and they've even become a broadway hit, not to mention bjorn again, possibly 
the biggest tribute band out there. yet anyone who was older than 14 in 1975 
thinks they're utter pap, same way dean martin used to roll his eyes at his 
rock guests in 1965.

> >> also glad to see you like Andrew WK, a pretty serious guilty pleasure -- 
>> the smartest stoopid record I've heard in years.
> 

made me pull out my old Sweet and Poison albums. glitter-rock 4 EVR!
  
inkwell.vue.145 : David Menconi: Off the Record
permalink #100 of 134: Berliner (captward) Tue 16 Apr 02 03:35
    
Sorry if I confused anyone in my haste. It's the *term* "Americana"
that I hate, not the music that gets lumped into the genre that bears
the label. Same way I hate "electronica" because it's a chickenshit way
not to say "dance music" because dance music = disco = homoseuxals in
the tiny minds of American radio types. 

I'm of two minds about the "stranglehold" of '60s music in today's
landscape. Much of this is due to incredibly constricted classic rock
format radio, which, when all is said and done, doesn't begin to expose
rock classics. Nor does Motown typify soul music, and, in fact, I
think a lot of people would argue that Motown is black pop, not a
lineal descendent of blues and rhythm and blues, ie, more in the
tradition of the Platters than of the Impressions. 

I'd completely disagree with Drclueful, however, when he says that
"when you hear an oldie, it transports you back to that time and
place." It may do that for me (and, since there's so much I never heard
when it was new, it may not, too), but the argument I always use here
is Mozart and Ellington. I certainly wasn't alive when either of them
was "new," but at the points of my life when I discovered them, they
opened up huge vistas for me. Now, obviously a youngster lays a
foundation from what's there, ie, the music his peers are listening to
when he discovers popular music. And if this person's inclined to go
further -- and let's not forget that this is a minority of listeners
we're talking about -- then at some point it's necessary to discover
the past. Thus, his first exposure to Hendrix *may actually be
ahistorical*. True, it's possible that what's come before makes
"hearing" Hendrix difficult, ie, that so much second-rate and
influenced-by music has been absorbed (this is my problem with Billie
Holiday) that it's just not possible to process the new information as
art, but it's also possible to transcend that (as I was finally able to
do with Ellington, despite having heard so much awful "big band" music
as a kid) and hear it for what it is. 

Nor would I say, as Drclueful has, that "anyone who was older than 14
in 1975 thinks [Abba is] utter pap. If you appreciate pop music for
what it is, you appreciate it in its context and in its proper setting.
It's great for driving, for doing chores, and stuff like that. It's
not Great Art, nor is it supposed to be (which is why people today are
*still* ambiguous about, say, Pet Sounds). As long as you're not
totally immersed in it all the time (involuntarily), it's junk food,
empty calories. Nothin' wrong with that. 
  

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