Saturday, February 2, 2008

It's Madness (must be love love love)

I've recently been revisiting the music that was the soundtrack of my youth. Much of it is callow, and that's no surprise. Some of it was refreshing, in an odd way.

I listened to some Madness, and was pleased and refreshed. 'Our House', for example, or 'House of Fun'... these are songs that are about things without being whiny moany bitchy shit. A lot of popular (not pop, but popular) music seems to be the latter.

I was also a little saddened. I came across a clip of Madness playing 'House of Fun', the clip having been obviously shot after they'd pretty much all neared or hit middle age. The sound mixing was shit, but that's not the complaint. The complaint is that they didn't even seem to be playing it for the irony, but because that was about the point their genius petered out. As if, their creativity came from hardship in youth, then made them well-off, and then died a horrid lonely death, suffocated by the middle-class English stultification they were initially so proud not to be a part of and to protest against.

Now, Madness were slightly before my time, and I'll admit that, but I like their music anyway and always have. Forgive me now, for calling on the memory of a hair-band... Poison.

I still like some of Poison's songs, and I make no apology for that. They made good music, for the form and time in which they worked. 'Something to Believe In' was always one that fascinated me, and recently I've revisited it, listened to it again.

And the question I have, is... once they got rich, how much did they give away, if any?

It's just a question, I haven't researched it, but I'd be interested to know.

Anyway, in the initial spirit of this post, here's a word to Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams: If you've written a teen anthem or something like that when you were young (Bryan, I'm talking about Summer of 69... Jon, I'm talking about your entire early catalogue, possibly barring ... nah, your entire early catalogue, mate)... please, for the sake of not making me throw up, be aware of the fact that those songs were a part of a time and place, and whilst revisiting them, and playing/singing them in that context is fine, please for the love of fucking, don't pretend to be who you were then, or whatever it is that some performers do that makes them seem to be so stuck in a time already gone.

Oh, and Jon, I'm sorry, but you're still making the same fucking music you were when I was 13. That's a long time ago. Yes, you were good at it, but I'd hope you'd have developed by now.

Fucking artists that refuse to grow with/as their audience... that's voluntary retardation at your own expense. You'll lose what fans you have, and pickup a minuscule number more. Unless you manage to pull an Alice Cooper, and he only managed it once, and thanks to outside help.

In short: if you once wrote a song that got to the top of the "hit parade", don't ever perform it in public unless begged to by an audience who was there the first time. Please, for your sake.

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