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In the sixties, cars only lasted a few years. Assuming your automobile did not need repairs when it rolled off the truck, like the Chevy Lance's father purchased that had no reverse pin, or the Chrysler my father bought that caught fire on the way home from the dealership, it was only a matter of time before you ended up at the gas station, where there was a mechanic to change belts and perform other surgeries required to keep your motor running. And although we occasionally hear of cars overheating on the Grapevine, the needle on most cars' temperature gauge barely moves. Despite Toyota's recent woes, cars, if not quite bulletproof, are expected not to break. You can drive Hondas for 200,000 miles trouble-free. Automobiles may be expensive, but you can keep the same machine for a decade, quite happily.
But those days of the lame Vista-Cruisers were half a century ago.
Let me put that in perspective. When my family owed lame cars in the sixties, they'd only been making cars for sixty years. Now, they've been making them for fifty years more! Those cars of yore were only halfway through the life cycle. Those pieces of shit were a long time ago!
Just like classic rock.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I like classic rock as much as the next guy. I saw the Who perform "Tommy" at the Fillmore East. Did you?
But that was back in '69.
And that was forty years ago.
And now it's 2010.
Yup, TWENTY Ten. So many years have gone by that we now know how to pronounce the year, we're in the teens in case you weren't paying attention. Hell, no one could come up with a name for the first decade of the twenty first century until it was over, and if you call them the "aughts" now, you'll still get mostly blank stares.
In other words, it's time for new music.
Let's be clear. Kids know nothing. They listen to the hit parade before their pubic hair grows in. If you're that young, or a parent subjected to Radio Disney, you know a lot of current material. Most of which will curdle the milk of an oldster. But oldsters want new music. Something more than the bland Susan Boyle, who proved that we're willing to lay our money down, if you just tell us what to listen to.
And that's the big problem. Not so much the lack of good music, but the inability to find it, to connect with it.
Which brings us to the Gorillaz.
Not a big fan of Damon, not a bit fan of the band. But searching for something new on the satellite yesterday, I heard "Stylo".
Have you heard this track?
Dial it up here:
It sounds like Kraftwerk is playing in a roller disco while a hip-hop deejay is spinning vinyl in the background, all the while an MC toasting above.
This is great. Not phenomenal. Not Gnarls Barkley "Crazy" stupendous, but extremely fulfilling. Because it just FEELS GOOD!
Great music is like pornography. To paraphrase that Supreme Court justice, YOU KNOW IT WHEN YOU HEAR IT!
We can argue over the disco roots, can decipher and analyze the lyrics, but the key point is you feel so fucking good listening to this song.
Which was leaked a month ago.
Yes, I'm going to be inundated with e-mail from hipsters, telling me I'm late to the party. I could make excuses, say that I knew the song had leaked, I just hadn't listened to it, but that's not the point. The point is hipsterdom is irrelevant. Now we're all hipsters. Deep into our own niches. And don't tell me your niche is better than mine. That's so twentieth century. But how am I going to find out what's good in your niche when I don't even have enough time to explore my own?
Quite a headscratcher. But when I discover something as good as "Stylo", I'm hungry like the wolf for more good new music. I started pushing all the satellite buttons. Which is how I discovered Hurt's "Fighting Tao".
It's a funny thing about heavy music. You're drawn in, you dial it up because you're alienated and angry, but when you listen to it all your problems fall away, you feel happy and powerful.
Tell me "Fighting Tao" is derivative. Tell me it's akin to Tool. Even go deep and say Hurt changed its sound after the band lost their major label deal. All I'll say is as an angry fuck, music like "Fighting Tao" is the aural rabbit hole I like to dive down into not only to recharge my batteries, but energize me. Anthemic rock, beholden to few restrictions, long-haired guys exploring in their basements with their amps turned up to 11.
But, ironically, it's the soft passages that make "Fighting Tao" so good, juxtaposed against the full force screaming.
Somewhere in my memory bank, I'm aware of Hurt. But if I've ever heard any of their music prior to last night, I couldn't pick it out of a lineup. But when I heard it long after dark on Octane, I couldn't change the channel. I was waiting for it to get bad, but it never did, it only got better.
You get to a point where you can't live in the past.
Then again, when the present becomes too confusing, that's where you retreat. That's what the NFL did. And nostalgia can be comforting. But it's not as exciting as discovering something new that touches your soul, that shines like an exquisite diamond in between your ears.