Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mainstream Sellout

Yes, of course I am. I listen to the hitmakers, let me tell you.
For example, I can see the hype, so I know it's time to listen to Raphael Saadiq- never mind the fact that all he's doing is a the typical career makeover we've seen 100 times before- bland popstar goes "retro" by exploring their "roots". In Raphael's case it's slightly more hipster, in that late 1960's soul is having a moment right now, but how is this different from Sting going Jazz back in the late 1980's or Everlast going folk in the late 1990's? But, I must not think bad thoughts, and accept that this is somehow much more cool than Cee Lo Green, because this is marketed to indie hipsters, and I want so very badly to be an indie hipster. When's he playing Coachella?
All snark aside, there are some good singles on his past two records, and he does a pretty blistering cover of "Search and Destroy" at rock festivals, but download what you like, and ignore the rest because I think this is a pretty naked marketing ploy- it'd be insulting to buy in.

Another example is how I spent yesterday. I went to go see Everclear. You remember them? The "acceptable" grunge band who did Dad rock songs about broken homes? See, I know my demographic- this is exactly what 40 somethings are supposed to do. It's either Adult Alternative or Country, and hey, Everclear do a little of both.
But, here's the twist- I actually like a lot of Everclear's stuff, and I think Art is a relatively honest songwriter. On top of that, I was going with my wife and son to Rock the Farm, which is a benefit for local kids. If that's not enough, when my son was very little, Everclear was one of his favorite bands, and he and I used to bond over singing songs from "Sparkle and Fade" usually with modified lyrics ( example- his mother and I lived 7 hours by car apart from each other. When I'd come to get him, we'd sing a modified version of Everclear's Santa Monica, while we drove through the desert "We could be beside the Ocean/ Leave this fire behind/Swim out into the breakers/and watch my car die") so, much as I might like Everclear or not, getting a chance to see them with my son was a priority. Oh, and by the way, the show was pretty good. It was plagued by some technical problems, but the opening act was the local school of rock, and it was pretty awesome to see really enthusiastic teens and pre teens having a "rock moment", getting to play on the same stage with a rock star, and then, getting to hang out with that same rock star, after the show. So, yeah, it might play into my demographic, but that's the kind of community I saw lacking in the hipper than thou circles. Seriously, I saw dudes wearing Amon Amarth T shirts playing with 4 year olds at a giant slide. That's a community for you.

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