Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hamfisted.

I'm listening to The Ongoing History of New Music, and Alan Cross is playing a live version of the song "Elevation" by U2.

I'm going to go on the record here to say that, by and large, I don't enjoy the vast majority of U2's music. I like their early stuff, and there are a couple of tracks from Achtung Baby that I enjoy, but most of their stuff from then and beyond is completely overplayed. For the past decade and a half, though, it seems like they're more interested in bludgeoning three power-chords to death while Bono screams.

The same affliction has followed Sloan since about 1999 (Navy Blues and beyond). Their latest song, "Believe In Me", is a little better... but do you remember "People of the Sky", "Penpals", "The Lines You Amend", or anything One Chord To Another and before? They were quieter, smarter and nimbler; they weren't so obviously trying to be ultra-cool rawkstars, spending more time posing with hair artfully tousled than writing interesting-sounding music.

Perhaps the most obvious example of this hamfistedness — dull, simple, loud, stupid music — is the likes of Nickelback, who have mercifully faded from their perplexingly chart-topping ways. To be honest, I don't know what kind of rock is being prominently played on radio stations like The Edge these days; every time I flip my radio to that, there are tight-harmonizing, minor-keyed, woe-is-me wailings from some gelled-up fops from a nondescript city like Columbus, Ohio complaining about how much their life has sucked. Am I to believe the likes of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance dominate "rock" in 2008? Please tell me this isn't true.

In the meantime, I'll just keep listening to Dylan.

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