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Monday, December 22, 2008

Rock is the new Pop

It seems that most non-mainstream artist at some point get so fed up about the music industry’s attempts to stifle creativity in exchange for profit, that they get inspired to write songs pointing the wrong doings of the corporations. I am not only talking about “poor” guys like George Michael (can’t believe I dare mention him here on this site) who could not change record label and wrote a song whining about “Freedoom….Freedoom ….You gotta give be4 u takeee” but also artists who are “persuaded” into performing a specific kind of music.

Thankfully there exist some labels that specialize in prog and other minority genres, so everything is not hopeless although only the most recognized (counted in album sales) band have a chance to move on to a bigger label and distribution channels.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to find out what prog artists have "done a Georg Michael” and let out some steam through their lyrics. On the top of my head I can think of the following:

Spocks beard – V - The Great Nothing
Explorers Club – Age of Impact - (whole album)
Rush - Permanent Waves – The Spirit Of Radio

…but I am sure there are many more.

I think what the most prog fans abhor in pop is the repetitiveness. MAVIII said it nicely in his last post :

…base their rhythms from another song that was sampled, and then add some annoying FX sample and have it in the song over and over to create a beat or somekind of "cool" factor. And great! The chorus is pretty much the entire song, repeated over and over and over and over and over…”

Unfortunately this kind of stuff sell by the millions, so that is what the big labels strive to achieve in as many bands and genres as possible. To be fair, the labels are not all to blame since consumers happily buy what they offer. On the other hand, if the same labels had a bigger hand in exposing the non-mainstream, I am sure that many would break away from their current listening habits.

[hippie & futureman (chorus)]

A secret yearning lurks inside
like a dream trying to hide
another time, another space
an empty feeling haunts my brain
a strange void I can't explain
another time, another space

“Another Time, Another Space” by Ayreon on the album “Into The Electric Castle”

I have always believed that many people don’t know what they like. They just don’t know what treasures are out there until someone helps them to make the discovery. That is how I developed my own taste in music. I was listening to pop until someone showed me the hidden chest, turned the key and opened a completely new world.

To get back to the subject about repetitiveness...what really annoys me these days are the “successful” attempts to turn rock into pop. It’s not a new trend, but it is bigger business than ever. To describe what I mean...take this band, I don’t even remember their name, but they have a nice chorus line going something like this: “I will find something more of what I had before. Shame on you baby…forever your’s”. The band (or label) must have really liked that one since they repeat it a gazillion times. The style they play is rock, but their performance is pure pop. Their music is like candy, it tastes good for awhile, but when you don’t stop eating it’s going to make you puke.

Another example of rock turning pop is “Nickelback”. I my book they are the archetype of this phenomenon. There was an interesting article some time ago about how they, in their attempt to be creatively lazy, plagiarized themselves: Follow this link to read about it.

Even the harder rock is going the same direction. Just take a band like “Linkin park”. Have you ever felt that they lacked creativity? Well maybe they do, just look the following images:

What I've Done


Somwhere I Belong



Lying From You

Please read the article related to these images here.

Alright…enough rants from me this time. Now I will go and listen to some real music and soon I will have forgotten all about pop....


Zaii said...

Porcupine Tree's "four chords that made a million" is Steve Wilson venting his spleen over this issue :-)

Six of one a half a dozen
Black guitars and plastic blues
Hide behind a wall of nothing
Nothing said and nothing new
4 Chords that made a million
You belong there on the cover
You are the emperor in new clothes
A man who thinks he owns the future
Will sell your vacuum with his prose
4 Chords that made a million
And then a moron with a cheque book
Will take you out to lunch who knows ?
He will tell you you're a saviour
And then he'll drop you like a stone
4 Chords that made a million
And I have tried and I have died
Trying to get through
But in the end I can't defend you.
4 Chords that made a million

MAVIII said...

Excellent Song by POrky Tree (and nice article!).
Well lets see, there is:
Dream Theater-A Matter of Time, Just let me Breathe; Kansas-Mainstream; Porky Tree-The Sound of Muzak; Pink Floyd-Have a Cigar; Magellan- Preaching the Converted, Critic's Carnival; Shadow Circus-Radio People;
Echolyn-As the World, The Cheese Stands Alone . . . to name a few.

I made a compilation CD of the subject (at the momment I dont have the info from my iTunes, so I cant see the track list).
Your "Graphics" only proves what these "Tin Ears" have heard all my life, the difference of well crafted music and the simple crap that the rest of the public eat up!
Dont even get me started with the "Strokes", they have been stroking their fans to stardom, and for what, simplistic down-stroking of guitars and a vocalist that whines and cant sing out of the simple foundation of the music (or a paper bag!).
Again, I make an analogy in a future part of my essay, how people have a need for the simplistic like a drug, muzak zombies if you will.
Well . . .
it serves as a healthy balance I guess, for God sakes, I dont want OUR music to be too popular, I just want these great musicians to make a living at what they craft.

BG said...

Just to prevent a copyright suit: The graphics are not mine...please follow the link to the referenced article.

Anyways I don't know if you can have copyright over visualized songs...

LordPL said...

I'm sure it's the same thing with some Nickelback song visualizations... ;-)