Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Aging Rockers: Instead of Shitting In A Diaper, They Shit on CD!

I've listened to a lot of music in my life in a lot of different genres. Pimp slogan spewing kiddie-rap, horror rap, post Blink 182 emo, post Nirvana grunge, post Puff Daddy universe. But nothing, and I mean nothing, fires up the bowel movements (along with with yanking tears from my eyes as my anticipation for this legend to be great again falls like Crumbs From Your Table) like the ol' fogey rocker record. From the Stones to Paul to Michael Jackson to Prince, all my heroes have fallen to that harsh bitch known as time for the stupidest of all reasons: ego and a lack to lay down that ego for hopes of making a better record.

Let's use Paul as an example. Do you know what Paul released post Beatles? Does that very question lead to the scene from Airplane where the old lady hangs herself while Ted Striker tells his tale of unrequited love for a woman who he lost in the shuffle? Paul release so much junk, each one being called his latest comeback by some magazine wanting so bad for that record to be good, for that rocker to be good again, that they refuse acknowledge its embarrassing colon blowing collection of sanity crushing soul jams. Rolling Stone gave Driving Rain four stars. I'm sorry but that record is not a matter of opinions. It flat out sucks giant elephant gutter than regurgitate it back in our mouths. It's an easy trap to fall into, even to the point where you're aware of the raw sewage spewing from the CD. In my case, it was How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. The day it came out I literally ran over to Tower Records to get my copy, then walked back home slowly in total awe of actually having a copy of heroes latest, almost getting hit in the process by speed NYC cars as I thumbed over distorted photos of my boys in their Bono boots in a Moroccan looking dessert/beach of some sort. After I heard it, I knew the deal. It was a collection of Tipper Gore approved songs that she could nod her head to while purchasing a batch of Kopi Kambung coffee beans from Starbucks (along with a special U2 sponsored where .01% of the profits of a $10 coffee go to helping Africa via means that are never described to make us feel confident that we're doing anything to help at all). But I continued to pronounce to everybody that, "U2 had done it again!", once again lifting up the world's troubles via a collection of majestic songs and that, after 30 years, there still was nobody who could touch this band. I'd be all smiles in fistpumps, only to leave the apartment in cry in shame at Man & A Woman and Miracle Drug, even moreso as Bono continue to bring up these exact tracks as of why the album is their best ever.

Now, to be fair, there have some awesome old timer releases. Paul's latest record (Chaos and Creation in the Backyard) has songs that rank among his best, easily, Dylan's older work is ridiculous, Johnny Cash is beside the point, Bowie released the Heart's Filthy Lesson, the Boss never actually bad, even the Stones notched a couple of pretty good songs on their latest record. Why the hell did it take so long to write these awesome songs after years of the years of anal leakage we were asked to pay for, such as Flaming Pie, or worse, trite dives in other fields of music, like Stone Ground? Why is that Spinal Tap seems to be the ultimate outcome for these guys?

Ego, fear, and laziness. People who've spent the last few decades being told by 45 year old that they think you're hot puts a little certain in the back of your mind. Letting outsiders in with a perspective that would warrant saying your tunes blow for the benefit of making a better record is a tough pill to swallow. Having to rip open your ribcage again, to dig deep in order to make that song become something that better than great but rather sublime requires work and the act of letting of your self-consciousness, which is pretty difficult when you have a giant statue of yourself in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. But McCartney did it with Nigel Godrich, who told him his ideas blow and pushed him. You don't all of sudden become inconsequential to society once you hit a certain age and you're doomed to a life of releasing songs with enough cultural worth to be on par with Hoobastank once you start collecting Social Security checks. You just need to be pushed, just as it with anybody in any field of anything. If you push yourself for greatness, then greatness will come, you just have to work for it.

Now, old timer live acts is another story all together...


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