Sunday, September 06, 2009

Random Sunday music musings...

My wallet's giving the evil eye much good music out there, yet so little money. I used to not like Rush. At all. But I've come to see that Geddy Lee's voice is an acquired taste, like a lot of things, and to be honest I've more or less gotten to be a convert. Once you get used to his voice -- some might say get past it -- it's more evident that the band made some really, really intelligent and thought-provoking music. "Red Barchetta," Manhattan Project," Limelight," "Bastille Day," even "Tom Sawyer," the musical part of which I still don't like. Of course the thoughtful, introspective, sometimes-a-bit-out-there lyrics are a hallmark of the prog-rock genre, which itself could be said to be an acquired taste. But once you get used to it you really see music differently. I know I certainly have.
Speaking of seeing music differently...I've been asked here and there why it is that I dig the heavy metal like I've gotten to, yet turn my nose up at the modern country, considering that the heavy metal is so different from the traditional country that I love. Well, I've come up with what I think is an accurate answer to that. From my perspective, so much of what's being passed off as country music comes off as just product to make money. It just seems that it's had the soul, the bite, the passion researched, consulted and focus-grouped right out of it. I know that from the start musicians have been in it to make money to an extent, but the thing about all those metal bands is, unlike so many of today's Nashville acts, they weren't trying to pass one genre off as another or water down their own genre under the guise of "bringing new influences" to the genre. They went balls-to-the-wall and there was absolutely no mistaking what kind of music they were making. And with that it seemed to me they were saying "this is what it is, if you like it, great, but if you don't we're not going to water it down." And the thing about it is, metal is to a large extent a niche music just like country is -- perhaps even more so. I know a lot of people will say they became "country music" fans because of people like Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift, but I think it'd be interesting to see how many people have drifted away from the genre like I have precisely because it's gotten so far away from what it was and because more and more of them are bastardizing and watering down the genre. And I'd also be interested to know how long it's going to be before these new fans go to the next big thing and country music's once again in the same position it was around 1985. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I see absolutely no connection whatsoever between Underwood, Swift, Rascal Flatts, etc. and anyone who came before them in the country music genre. Which leads me to think that ultimately people only call this stuff country because Nashville and country radio tells them to. But no matter what it is, so much of it is still soulless fluff at its core. As for the '80s pop-rock retreads like "She's Country" and Carrie Underwood's new single "Cowboy Casanova," I've also said this elsewhere: if this is what they're going to market as country music, I for one am just going to go for the original stuff as opposed to half-assed rehash of it. And by and large I have done just that.