Wednesday, 21 September 2011

This argument that pop can change the world – does not stand.

All these restless vessels - brains wit nuttin in them – all sugar coated ideas and misspent youth – all mispronunciation and misreading the signs – but filling up their holes with pop and blast. It’s easy for the middle classes to claim pop as something that it isn’t – it’s easy to see the beauty in the rhymes and the reason of the singers and wannabe poets for the generations of teens who rebel and yell at their elders.

But as I get older – it doesn’t really cut it anymore.

This argument that pop can change the world – does not stand. Yes it can move me – but it isn’t changing me – reading does that.

I watched the end of the Mercury Prize the other day – all fills and rolls and riffs and rockin. But no one could really say anything – all speaking [like a child] but not communicating. There isn’t a lot to say about it really – it just keeps people in jobs – people who aren’t like you and me.

You know a question about whether PJ Harvey would have been surprised at the result – or that her album was ‘really daring’ and ‘unique’.


I mean she is beginning to take herself far too seriously. Lose the headdress – and get politicised. I mean imagine using Pinter as a reference point – check the record – check the record – check the guy’s track record.

It’s all so A-level English and 1970s fabrics from Heals or Habitat

I want pop music to matter – I want the stakes raised – but we need authentic voices and intelligence asking the right questions and not playing the game. I’ve been reading Lester Bangs – he didn’t make it easy – so here’s to music’s banality and not its false elevation to Sunday supplements and prizes – yes it moves us – yes it has an impact – but it just pops when we examine it – it just pops and fizzes.

A moment – that we return to. Nothing more – a moment.

This is Psychotic Reaction by Count Five. Garage rock from San Jose – hot and sandy with capes. High school friends making junk rock in bricked up rooms – and then disappearring without trace – well for a while anyway. In 1972 Bangs wrote "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung." In the essay, Bangs credited the band for having released several albums — Carburetor Dung, Cartesian Jetstream, Ancient Lace and Wrought-Iron Railings, and Snowflakes Falling On the International Dateline — that displayed an increasing sense of artistry and refinement.

None of these albums actually existed, except in Bangs' own imagination. This is how music should be.