I'm always a bit alarmed when my tastes align with the zeitgeist, as appears to be the case here. According to the estimable Radcliffe and Maconie, tracks from this album are the second most downloaded items of music anywhere on the internet, pipped only by Lady Gaga. Which makes me a bit cautious in my enthusiasm, if I'm going to be honest, because when it's that sort of mass culture, everyone's listening to it type thing, I usually find my interest levels waning pretty quickly. And yet ... track six, "City with no children", has to be one of the most immediately thrilling pieces of music I've encountered in many a moon ... but is that a good thing? Does great rock music disclose its pleasures so readily? It's too damned long, as well - a fault shared by the two previous albums, both of which I now find dauntingly unapproachable in their very hugeness and sense of self-importance. I've yet to listen to the The Suburbs in its entirety. And there are seven of them. There have never been any good rock bands with more than five members, and five's pushing it.
Still. There's so little big, modern, commercial rock music around lately, it seems churlish to complain about abundance.
I was contemplating buying this in FOPP this lunchtime. Didn't part with the cash on this occasion, but probably will soon enough because I've liked nearly all their work so far.ReplyDelete
Like you, though, it concerns me when what I like is what's currently popular.
I don't mind things being "currently" popular if I like them myself, as in The Beatles or Muse, and I don't mind them being pretty obscure either, like the now (or maybe only temporarily) disbanded Wales-Utah female duo Ember*.ReplyDelete
But I am a bit more suspicious if something appears to "disclose its pleasures" too readily. But presumably that is subjective - for instance, I should think a lot of people find Muse, for instance, rather obvious and superficial, but I find I can listen to most of their stuff over and over again (and they may well have a sense of self-importance too).
I love it when bands hook you almost instantly. The best example of this I can think of is the Canadian 2 piece The Inbreds:ReplyDelete
Why be alarmed? Is there something about music that makes it suspicious if it's popular that somehow doesn't apply to writing? Or should I shun your books because you're so much part of the SF zeitgeist?ReplyDelete
Neil: wish I had a Fopp near me, although perhaps it's not such a bad thing that there isn't one, or I'd be in there all the time.ReplyDelete
Nicholas: I've got a lot of time for Muse as well.
Anonymous: I'll check them out.
Dsegel: it's more the case that, over the years, the music that's really spoken to me, the music that's really had the necessary depth to sustain repeated listens, isn't stuff that really works for the majority of people. I know because most of the bands that are really precious to me have usually ended up splitting due to lack of success or general indifference. There are exceptions, of course: Springsteen, Neil Young, The Who, Eels and a few others.
You're right, in that you could apply exactly the same logic to SF. But let's be honest: SF is a niche genre; I might sell a few books but I still don't sell enough to get stocked in Tescos.
I feel exactly the same about mass-euphoria over pop culture. The more that somebody shoves something in my face and tells me how great it is, the more I want to shove it back and yell 'no thanks'. I like to discover things in my own time, on my own terms. Having said that; I really like Arcade Fire, so I'll probably check this one out sooner rather than later.ReplyDelete
As the New Fast Automatic Daffodils put it, shortly before going on to become the stadium-filling headline act we know and love today, How Long Must We Tolerate Mass Culture?ReplyDelete
I really feel I have to point towards the late Iron Maiden, playing incredible live gigs with three lead guitars! Anyway, keep up making some days of mine with your writings and youll sell a few more books ;)ReplyDelete
Why worry, you don't I presume worry if your books are populist and the second best selling book, so why worry about it with music :-)ReplyDelete
@ Patrick - why do you say "the late" Iron Maiden? Their next album, Final Frontier, is out on Monday and they've been on tour in the US and Europe in the last few weeks.ReplyDelete
(Not that I like them myself; I did see a bit of a worldwide tour docco with Bruce Dickinson as tour pilot, but I am afraid the music didn't speak to me).
I've got to admit, I'm not surprised it's shifting a lot of copies - most places I've seen it available for download have it for £5 or less. Given it's excellence (and yes, it's length), that has to be seriously good value for money.ReplyDelete
And if you want something less daunting and (slightly) less zeitgeisty, you could do worse than give Best Coast's debut a go.
@Nicholas: "late" means since the return of Dickinson and Smith...ReplyDelete
@ Patrick - aha, late-era Iron Maiden, not late as in (ObHHGtG) "The late Dent Arthurdent".ReplyDelete
Don't like Iron Maiden I'm afraid - in fact, I don't really care for a great deal of heavy metal, esp the NWOBHM (Google it if you're under 40!).ReplyDelete
Gotta say it's really paying off reading this blog! So far I have added FC Kahuna, Stargate Universe and now pretty much the best indie rock album I have heard in at least a decade - The Suburbs - to my cultural thinktank.ReplyDelete
So thanks to Al R & good luck with the next book. PS - is BRE a Housman reference??
All the best, Rob