clap clap blog: we have moved

Friday, May 21, 2004
While I of course eagerly await Sasha's take on it, I have to say that I'm not entirely unsympathetic to the Nick Hornby piece in the Times today. Well, to be more precise, like his assessment of the "rock is for the young and not to be listened to be the old" statement, I think the premise is OK but the conclusion is half-batty. Quite honestly, I agree with the stuff on the first page about "the energy, the wistful yearning, the inexplicable exhilaration, the sporadic sense of invincibility, the hope that stings like chlorine." (Even if the last phrase is clunky and awkward, lacking in lyricism and chained to the ground by self-consciousness.) I talk about that kind of stuff too as both necessary for and encouraged by music, except I'm talking about pop and he's talking about rock. So will I sound like Hornby in 25 years? Eh, maybe. But again, I think the problem is less that he's wishing for these things than that he's looking so narrowly, and that seems less cause for anger than invitation to a pat on the head. I agree with him, obviously, on the stuff about good rock songwriters needing to be less scared of the mainstream, but I also just as obviously disagree that there's not great middlebrow (yay!) stuff in the mainstream right now. Just as rock has certainly seemed to become miserabilist, pop has become joyous and unrestrained, and even kinda smart half the time. And the stuff about how the influences of most modern groups don't stretch back very far--blech! When has this not been true? Not to mention decrying self-important music and self-effacing music in the same paragraph. You don't think Bruce Springsteen's got just as much artfulness as the White Stripes? Hmm...

As for Marah, I can attest that their rock spectacles are only kinda OK, nothing on a lot of other acts I've seen, although there are a lot of people at a certain record label that, like Hornby, are still shocked they didn't make it big. I can make a good guess why they failed, though.