Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Rock Snobs

"... they were cursed by what we can call the 'bee gees' curse. which is: 'write amazing songs, sell tons of records, and consequently incur the wrath or disinterest of the rock obsessed critical establishment'."
Moby : 2003 (on Duran Duran)

They were the original rebels, the anti-heroes, the rule breakers. They were the ones who would not conform to society's norms and bring music to the masses. They were the rockers. The saviors of music. They would rescue us from the horrors of disco, manufactured bands, and indeed anything that you could listen to without rupturing an eardrum or two. But what about the ones like us ?? The ones who didn't really want to be rescued. The ones who were happy with their Cliff Richards and Bee Gees and Roger Whittakers and Chris de Burghs. You know, the not-really-charismatic guys who could do one or two things (namely write songs and sing) really really well?? How dare we ?? How dare we ignore the druggy genius of Nirvana and Pink Floyd and gravitate towards saccharine based pond scum like the aforementioned guys ? Didn't we know we were ruining, simply ruining music by listening to people who could actually... you know...sing?

Well I didn't.

I don't hate rock, or metal or rap, or anything labeled as extreme. But nor do I buy into the belief that a parental advisory sticker on an album jacket, or smashing instruments live on stage are signs of instant greatness. I have enjoyed November Rain but I was bored by anything else by Guns and Roses. I love Wherever I may roam, The Unforgiven, but find any other stuff by metallica pretty mundane. And no, I don't dismiss them without hearing them . Its just that some songs by the backstreet boys or n'sync give me the same kind of pleasure as the songs mentioned above. A different flavored pleasure, to be sure, but what sounds good, sounds good. I don't care if its soft, or loud, or rough, or smooth, or written by the artist or by a hundred songwriters slaving away in little cubicles in an effort to transform five good looking teenage boys into stars.

But I digress

Something that really pushes me away from the harder stuff, is the obvious snobbery among rock fans. For a section of people who claim to be anti establishment, their behavior is strangely similar to the monocled lords of Wodehousian England. Somehow heavy metal and hard rock had to be worshipped or you did not appreciate good music. And in a delicious twist of irony, those two brands of music became the favorite for every corporate radio station, music magazine and music channel that realised angst sold better than anything else in the world. Every teen and preteen feels that the world is unfairly stacked against them anyway, so give them the music that just reaffirms their theory and tells them to go nuts. Well, you can have your music and eat it. And when you want something different just try being a rebel for once and looking around. I'll be in that small crowd in the corner, listening to "Summer Holiday"