Sunday, December 19, 2004
Kat's Korner Green Day v. the Disney Kids
Just lit the Tulasi Sandal Wood incense stick. The stereo's cranked up high and I'm settled in. Good evening.
I'm Kat and here at Kat's Korner we'll be going into music. There's a need for those of us on the left to reclaim our cultural roots. I've been e-mailing the site about that and there's agreement but with a focus on The New York Times front page and other issues there isn't always time to devote attention to music.
If you feel this is fluff then you're welcome to skip it. If you'd like to drop a line you can write the site and it will be forwarded to me (email@example.com) or you can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Kat's Korner, we're going to focus on music. As a post awhile back noted, our music has gotten very plastic. Don't count on Clear Channel to fix that for you, folks! They're happy to spin the naughty Disney Kids play acting at sex, but you won't hear any music raising issues or inspiring. They've said it, "We're in the business to sell ad time."Heretic talk to me.
Music inspires, soothes, motivates.
Are we we are, are we we are
The waiting unknown.
That's track five off off Green Day's rock opera American Idiot. Rock opera. Sometimes you have to pull that thing that's been hidden in the back of the closet out to realize what a prize it is. Using the rock opera form, Green Day takes on the ultimate American Idiot: George W. Bush. There was enough gas in the tank to drive this one to number one on the charts. But you didn't hear it much on your "pap" radio, did you?
It's not the language. As anyone who's suffered through a radio station playing the macho posturing of thug rap knows: radio stations are happy to bleep out the occassional word and still keep a song in rotation. What's so threatening to Clear Channel and the rest about this album?Must be the ideas behind it. "Pap" radio is more than happy to serve up Kelly Clarkson (today's Petulia Clark?) and assorted other high school talent show rejects singing songs that mean nothing but get an idea behind a song and corporate radio trembles.
As Dylan Thomas once wrote: "Whatever is hidden should be made naked. To be stripped of the darkness is to be clean."
Unless it's a conservative idea. The subversion that is Destiny's Child's "Solider" gets played like crazy. Not Crazy, Sexy Cool because these three gals are no TLC. TLC lived it and walked the talk. The children of Destiny seem to spend more time with their brokers than with their band. "Solider" is proof of how too much thought about marketing destroys the music muse.
See, on one level, it's a song that pretends to be about sex (it's about as sexy as listening to Dr. Ruth on the radio) and, on another level, it's supposed to have us all marching through the malls singing, "I need a soldier." Won't King George & Lady Laura be pleased! The Shirelles did this tired act so much better. But "Soldier" is playing, it's spinning. After stalling at number ten it leaps to number seven.
Three women famous (infamous) for their inability to get along? It's like Diana Ross & the Supremes without the talent. By the break, Lil Wayne drops in to compare himself to a vet (insulting awardees of the Purple Heart everywhere).
And what kind of a name is Lil Wayne? He's bragging about what he's got and it's ... money. And his name is "Lil" Wayne.
"I want a soldier" the girls squeal (occasionally on key) as though they're at Toys R Us picking out dolls. The children of Destiny never seem more virginal than when they try to prove that they aren't.
Give me the rowdy boys of Green Day any day. Rude, angry, thrashing their three chords for all they're worth and in the process painting a sonic portrait of the world we live in. You won't catch Billie Joe, Tre & Mike at Bush's money busting inaug next month. But don't be surprised if the children of Destiny do a return shout out for their man Bully Boy Bush.
It's really important to fit in when you're plastic, to blend in. "Solider" tells us that they want a guy who's just like ... well goodness me, everyone else! Conformity. Rick James rolls over in his grave. But he's probably hep to the fact that these gals are so bland they're beyond vanilla, beyond white bread.
Meanwhile, Billie Joe's singing
I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone
I walk this empty street
On the Blvd. of Broken Dreams
That song lept from 48 to 27 but somehow the child porn of Destiny gets "greatest gainer/airplay" from Billboard (moving from ten to seven). Folks, the man's coming knocking on your door and wants you to give up the beat of your own drum and march along to the beat of conformity. In a maritime march, natch.
Where's the outrage?
We've gotten so used to downloads and other excuses that we've allowed the kids we would have laughed at in school to drive us away from our own radio stations. I'm throwing out this battle cry: We need to reclaim our music.
Beyonce, you've got a cute butt. We've seen enough of it. Somewhere someone told you that all you had to offer up was kiddie porn and that you were really saying something. You're saying nothing. Back your way out of the room now because apparently no one wants to see you from the front. (Which is kind of insulting if you think about it.)
Beyonce's the type of kid who indignantly pouts in government class, "Well I think Clarence Thomas is a great man!"
She's got nothing to say even with other people writing the words. She's Suzie Sorority and she's done now.
There was a post about the power of "yes" and the power of "no." It's past time that we rise up and start saying "no" to these Nixon clones that have taken over popular music. Yes, that means you too, Britney Spears. And Justin Timberlake, the ultimate mama's boy. When he goes off on his blunts rap, I always wonder, "Oh how sweet, does Mommy roll them for you?"
Anyone ever notice that onstage while ripping off Janet Jackson's top or grabbing at Kylie Minogue's butt, he's always fully dressed? Get the idea he's the uptight kid who really doesn't know how to let go? No wonder he's so close to Mommy. Sex to him appears to be something used as a prop to sell records. Wonder if he's still a virgin? He sings like one.
The Disney Kids brought honor to all the losers who wouldn't give it up in high school. Timid virgins. Well head on back to the Magic Castle, kids, because we're a rowdy crew here. Yeah, we even go [gasp] all the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We don't just tease about sex, we actually do the deed. (Don't believe Mommy, Justin, it's wonderful!)
They're the kids taking the DARE pledges and promising to wait for marriage. And somehow they've been allowed to think they're cool.
I am a sexual animal. Maybe that's why the antiseptic antics of the Disney Kids leaves me so cold. I have desires and I act on them. To me, that's cool.
Wake up, America, they're nerds!!!!!!!!!
The world is spinning around and around
Out of control again
From the 7-11 to the fear of breaking down
So send my love a letterbomb
And visit me in hell
We're the ones going home
We're coming home again
Billie Joe, you and Tre & Mike ride the rapids while pop tarts are too busy making sure they're coloring safely within the lines.
The biggest snickers at Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 came when Britney weighed in that we should like trust our like president because like he's like the president. Those snickers should follow her everywhere. Sounding like the historically ignornant and unaware Disney Kid that she is, Britney deserves to be held up to ridicule.
The right wants a cultural war? In the words of the Bully Boy, Bring It On! In climatic times in our nation, the arts have spoken and having lost their heavy hitter The Gropinator, they're in no position to defend themselves. (Not that the stiff known best for portraying a cyborg was a lot of help to them.)
Kat's Korner exists on the far left side of the world and I'll be lobbing my spitballs from here at every prude who thinks their antiseptic, black/white, good/evil view of the world is somehow reality. The world's messy, life's messy. You can lock your bodies in a chastity belt (and your minds as well) but don't try to pass that off as cool.
For those worried that I'll only focus on new music here in the Korner, don't worry. Even if the current state of music wasn't so God awful, I'd still want to highlight some of the classics of the past.
Green Day is a rowdy, angry band that wasn't afraid to speak truth to the Bush lies so I started with them. If you're tired of living in a PG-13 world, I'd recommend you rush out and grab American Idiot. The CD, not the Bully Boy! You'll find fifty seven minutes of glorious messy (and gloriously messy) music by three guys who aren't trying to fit in. And just listening you know they've actually done the nasty!
King of the 40 thieves and I'm here to represent
The needle in the vein of the establishment
I'm the patron saint of the denial with an angel face
And a taste for sucidial cigarettes
Somewhere, the Disney Kids are running off to tattle to their mamas. Justin, be sure to tell Mommy that Green Day also says
Welcome to a new kind of tension
Where everything isn't meant to be o.k.
This review originally appeared at The Common Ills on December 19, 2004.