Friday, September 17, 2010

Dis and Dat

Things I love: MEN. I love MEN so fucking hard. I saw them last year with Stacy and my head blew open. They combine everything that is wonderful about music: actual fucking musicality, inventiveness, politics and button pushing, thought provoking lyrics, and awesome rad artistic original dance awesomeness. I've harped on and on and on and believe me I'm no Camilla Paglia fan, the woman has a screw loose, but Men is a perfect example of why I don't like, can't accept Gaga. Because bands like Men are doing the real thing every day. Okay, Gaga, call yourself a performance artist, call yourself a provocateur, call yourself whatever, but don't call yourself a musician. Pop star, sure, but surely Men play 'pop' with a capital 'P'. Friends have said, 'Oh but kids in high school listen to Gaga and she exposes them to new kinds of music. Lazy, lazy excuse. Why can't we just elevate bands like Men and then we wouldn't have to have limp dick versions of what real groundbreaking music sounds like? Thin paper artifices of what we were really stabbing at? It's absurd! That logic, that 'oh but she's exposing mainstream kids who grow up in strip malls to meat dresses, John Lennon glasses and middle fingers' is ridiculous. But what is it for? What does it stand for if her lyrics are as dry and insipid and 'baby how can I get you back?' as the rest of them? Girlfriend doesn't sound any different than Katy Perry, Britney Spears or any of the rest. I know she supports gay rights and she's done it vocally, that is WONDERFUL, but great, be a politician, be a performance artist. I can't be the only one who still thinks, music, actual MUSIC, the power of sound and movement is political and resistant. The music IS the movement. Not the costume, not the magazine cover. The sound that comes at you from the mix tape, the youtube music video. And I say bullshit to the idea that kids in strip malls can't understand or appreciate bands like Men, growing up in a town made out of strip malls doesn't mean you aren't gay, isolated, misunderstood, angry or in need of real actual music that encourages you to get out and dance your fucking ass off in a field with your friends to fuck the fascists. It insults the intelligence of those kids to say that all they can understand is Gaga's bag of mixed messages. She's still on the cover of Glamour. Believe me, if you put Men on the cover of Rolling Stone and gave them the same kind of media attention that Katy Perry and Gaga get, they would embrace it the same way. That's why music is wonderful, that's why music is important. As soon as we say that the music is incidental we loose the magical glue that has held musical community, musical identification, musical resistance, together for so long. That glue is what it's all about, that thin invisible thread, that underground railroad to free thinking, that gets passed between classes and exchanged in the back of your crappy car when you and your buds just shut up and listen to cool music. Now it's on an ipod, for me it was a mix tape, but it's all the same thing: deciding what kind of grown up you want to be, what kind of choices you want to make when you go searching for Oz.
Anyway, my editor at the LA Weekly did an amazing interview with Men. click here to read it