Tuesday, October 17, 2006
"Say it with dead flowers at my wedding/ and I won't forget to put roses on your grave..."
For the past two plus years, by choice and by circumstance, I've been immersed in all things indie rock. I've mostly enjoyed myself and there have been some magical times, but the problem is that, too often, indie does not rock. My favorites in the genre bring an unfettered energy as well as an accomplished artistry to their work. They are the exceptions. I listen to KEXP constantly--at this point, it's a job requirement--and some of what I hear is mesmeric and inspiring and on. But over half of today's crop leaves me screaming, "Oh my god. Wake up, you monkeys."
Thurston Moore said recently that the Rolling Stones have sucked longer than they were great (prompting, in my mind, the phrase, "glass houses", but anyway) and maybe that's true. But Let it Bleed, Beggars Banquet, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main St. have been staples of my adult life and are medicinal. (Three years ago, I was in an NIH study on Fibromyalgia and CFIDS and named those four records as part of my health regimen. The doctor thought I was joking. I insisted she write them down.)
So I was amazed when I quoted the headline lyric to a friend last week and he had no idea what I was talking about. How can a highly intelligent, creatively gifted thirty-nine year old male not know the lyrics to "Dead Flowers"? How did we arrive at this point in history? How can we stem the tide?
I'm ever the optimist. Perhaps if more folks are exposed to these seminal discs (don't say Exile is overrated or I will cut you), aesthetics will morph and listeners will seek music with more blood and wit. Perhaps not. But if I must live in an era wherein the Fruit Bats are taken seriously and Illinoise is heralded as a masterwork, I won't stand by in protracted mute horror.
My love is not in vain.