Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The author playing with his college rock band 22 years ago.

The author playing at the reunion of his college rock band two weeks ago.
(I didn't play upside down or stage-dive, but I did slam dance a little.)

There’s a wide-ranging discussion going on now in Blogville about the woes of College Rock. College Rock is too white-sounding, too middle-class-bound, too bland; plus, the kids hype it all too quickly.
Simon Reynolds anticipated a whole bunch of the discussion back in May, in this interview conducted by K-Punk -- the disintensification of indie, the chasm between white pop and black pop -- and he did it very smartly.

Carl has brought the changing of the generations into the discussion, which is something I wrote about back in August, in relation to the disintensification question.
Passion is no longer the fashion in the world of popular music consumption. The turn away from passion might be the most brilliant move in the Oedipal chain of generational outrage yet. It makes total sense after 40 years of propaganda that [pop, rock] Music Is the Most Important Thing In Your Life!!! When Paw and Grampaw are geared up for someone to top Marilyn Manson and Eminem in the offensiveness department, disintensification is the perfect non-topper topper. "That'll really piss the old folks off! Not giving a hoot about their 'outrage' jones!"
Similarly, back in May, and also in response to Simon’s stuff on disintensification, I wrote,
Edginess has been subsumed into the mainstream. Nothing is more corporate than edginess, nothing more mom-and-dad play-it-safe play-your-prescribed-role fit-into-the-pre-existing-narrative than going for being “edgy.”
I stand by my points, but I have to give the palm to Simon for insight into the disintensification question, with this quote from his interview last May:
A new landscape is emerging that is doubtless generating new ways of experiencing and discovering music, new forms of collectivity around music, yet it’s hard for me to see the changes as anything other than dis-intensifying. The web has extinguished the idea of a true underground. It’s too easy for anybody to find out anything now, especially as scene custodians tend to be curatorial, archivist types. And with all the mp3 and whole album blogs, it’s totally easy to hear anything you want to hear, in this risk-less, desultory way that has no cost, either financially or emotionally. I sense that there’s a lot more skimming and stockpiling, an obsessive-compulsion to hear everything and hoard as much music as you can, but much less actual obsession with specific arty-facts.
But as Scott of Pretty Goes With Pretty pointed out in the comments to Carl’s recent post on the generational question, it’s mostly us older folks who are angsting about the state of indie now. As I wrote in my post of August:
70 years ago, a leading popular music critic was Frederic Ramsey, Jr. Who? Times change.

And when times change, the old guard gets pissed. When Rock came and started making a lot of money -- and, even worse, started drawing more of the fashionable attention -- a lot of the old guard freaked out. Not because they weren't still popular or they weren't still making money -- they were still making lots of money. But their style was no longer the most fashionable.
People younger than me are the old guard now. Not all of them are pissed, but some of them are, and angst abounds. In rock-fashion terms, I’ve been old and out-of-it for so long that the angst strikes me as funny.

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