Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jon Spencer's Meat and Bone

Gaaah! It's next to impossible to give you a fair talk about the new Jon Spencer Blues Explosion LP "Meat and Bone". Y'see, had it come out a year after "Damage", or better yet, had come out instead of "Damage", it'd be a one sentence explanation- Jon Spencer continues to perfect the art of deconstruction on Blues Boogie with the scuzz factor set high. But, really, it's been a decade since they were really trying to mine this field, and in that decade, we've seen at least two bands exploit that same sound, to much greater commercial effect, and JSBX itself, exploited commercially moreso than as a real, working band. So, it leaves a taste of cashing in, or returning to the well- it brings in business considerations, and that removes me, as a listener, at least one step- I'm thinking about "Why" too much to fully appreciate "How", if you follow me.
That's not to say that I don't enjoy it, because I do enjoy it, but I keep on going back to things that aren't part of the music, itself. I'll hear a great riff (Like on "Bag of Bones") and I'll think something along the lines of "There's Jon Spencer come back to claim what's his from the imposters" and it's no longer the same as just hearing a great riff, you see? Or, I'll hear that truly great chorus on the end of "Black Mold" and I'll wonder if he held it off so it'd sync with the schlock-horror music video, which is also great, but I realize that they have to do tricks like that to compete with their newer, more commercially viable lessers. Then, it's a much more cynical thing.
But, I don't feel bad about the way I hear it, Billy Corgan be damned, because Jon Spencer played this game first- he's the one who took a post-modern, "deconstructionist" eye to genuine scuzz boogie blues. He's the one who dressed up the same kind of cool-guy-exploiting-outsider-art that's been happening forever in a kind of semiotic reference list. So, it's fair to look at what he does from a distance, and judge it based upon his position as a has-been. Yes, I said it, and no, it's not fair- I told you it's next to impossible to talk fairly about this record- and that's why- the whole thing is predicated on the false assumption that Jon is now an outsider himself, simply because he hasn't been releasing CDs or touring as much. But there you have it- the most honest thing I can say about it is that while I like the music, the games are getting in the way.

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