Saturday, May 24, 2014

Powerman 5000- Builders of the Future

In a way, you have to pity Spider One, Michael Cummings.  His brother is definitely a genius. Michael is slightly more questionable as a genius, but his reach is further- Rock star, TV director, recording mogul, TV Host, graphic design- he's ambitious. But, he hasn't had half the success of his brother, Rob. On top of that, what he does do is easily misunderstood. He's not meaning to be a science fiction equivalent of his brother's horror theme. He means to be grounded in the here and now, and his over-arching metaphor is more about pop culture than imagined outcomes- if it reads as science fiction, it's because his actual targets are obsessed with science fiction metaphors- he's talking about the Americans trying to be Otaku . The music is meant to be a hybrid between EDM and Hard Rock, but can come across as Nu Metal Rap Rock because of his vocal style.
These problems are mostly of his own design, so  I don't pity him. Instead, I look at it as an interesting proposal- he would be a social critic and rebel, instead he acts as a voice in a mob. He's got a brain, and he's creative, but, as his career has advanced he's had to modify his vision to maintain an audience. You dance with the Devil-Bros and sooner or later, they'll call the tune. His problem boils down to appealing to the wrong crowd.
So, those are a lot of caveats- but I still find enjoyment in this. It's football chants and frat boy songs, with a slightly subversive undercurrent. It's like the movie Fight Club- not a single idea was new, and virtually everything was dumbed down- but it made the intellectual and philosophical points more fun, and more palatable for the lumpen proles. So, much like Powerman 5000, it rightfully is a favorite with those who should know better.
There's no point in analyzing the songs- like I said, they're football chants- but some work better than others- I like "Invade Destroy Repeat" "How to be Human" and "I can't F***ing Hear You" but that's probably just me.

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