The coincidence of good music and good lyrics is definately the exception, not the rule.
(Note how I used that smarmy, fatuous blogger technique of taking an idea thought to be exceptionally insightful, and separating it into its own single-sentence paragraph.)
So, in my half-hearted quest to keep one ear open to the endless stream of crap music churned out by the uninspired rock musicians of the day, I listened to an interesting song on the radio..."Starlight" by Muse. I admit the fuzz bass hooked me initially, but the vocals and melody was exceptional for the genre, at least. The guy obviously has a Thom Yorke infatuation, but I'll forgive him that. They are British, and apparently from the same generation (starting in 1994). I've listened to the rest of the album (2006's Black Holes and Revelations), and most of it is hit and miss. Sometimes the music reminds me of stuff my old band did, when I was into what we pompously called "progressive alternative" (could a music style possibly sound any more "San Francisco" than that?). All around there is some good music in it, but the lyrics...
Perhaps they are simply marketing to the wealthy ignorati of American youth...but the gist of the album seems to be a huge anti-Bush screed. This being a BRITISH band, I remind you (not that that stopped their idols, Radiohead, from releasing the likewise childish "Hail to the Thief"). And its not even a logical anti-Bush screed. It contains the popular paradox of Bush as both a foolish simpleton and an evil genius. The first track, "Take a Bow", accuses Bush (or who/whatever) of "crimes against the Earth", "cast[ing] a spell on the country you run", and bringing corruption, death, and destruction to all that he touches. Then he ventures into an orgiastic fit of Bush-hating schadenfreude about how he will burn in hell for his sins. The final track has a line "how can we win when fools can be kings". I'd love to believe that the lyricist was venturing a bit deeper than just politics. "Take a Bow" would have been much subtler, surprising, and interesting if it was written about...let's see...the use of sodium bicarbonate in toothpaste. Or about Dick Clark. In fact, it would have been great to do it about Dick Clark, casting him humourously as the Dark Lord over the Earth. But no, it is a humourless amalagam of tired, childish cliches, served up to emotionally stunted people that find an irrational hatred of a government official to be a bedrock in their lives, a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Imagine if they wrote this song about the Secretary of State in 1991. Anyone remember who that was, offhand? No?
My point is that they think that politics is this high ideal...that political protest songs are deep and meaningful. If anything, political lyrics only serve to sever any potential depth of a song, rendering them entirely shallow and shrill. If you think that your life is going to radically change depending on which brand of bureaucrats is helming the leviathan of federal government at the moment...then get a grip, and get on with your life. And if you care that much about the government of ANOTHER COUNTRY...then you're even more silly and pathetic! I can understand Radiohead and Muse seeing a market and exploiting it, I suppose. Just like Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, et al writing silly country songs about kicking terrorist keister and rememberin' them thar Twin Towers, this kind of music is just silly, shallow claptrap marketed to people who feel validated when pop stars sing mantras to them that seem to confirm their feeble thinking.
That said, I know that Eustace Lufgren is in the process of writing a song entitled "Hu Jintao", but it is far from a protest song. More a song of love forelorn, of admiration unspoken, and of funkitude inexplicable. "Hu Jintao...don't you know we gonna make it somehow....somehow."
Perhaps this is the biggest reason I gave up trying to be in a creative rock band. On the rare occasion that I've found creative, talented musicians that have the free time to write and play music, often they end up having a dream to be singer-songwriters as well and have ABSOLUTELY NO TALENT FOR THAT. Honestly, if you can't write good lyrics, shroud them in obscurity. These people would write gut-wrenchingly bad quasi-emo lyrics about the pain (the PAIN!) of whatever-despair-they-are-currently-subjecting-their-emotions-to. Hup-BLAAAAGGGGHH. But the crappiness of emo lyrics is a matter for another day. And...if you are reading this wondering if this rat bastard was talking about you in this paragraph, never fear. The people I'm referring to probably don't even remember me or know my last name, much less know of this blog. I've worked with a lot of great musicians actually, none of us (myself included) seem to have any free time anymore.
Oh, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. (shoot me! shoot me now!) OK, sorry, I won't continue speaking Christmas lyrics. But I'm looking forward to it. Not least for the two days off that I have. Speaking of shooting...I got a Dremel polishing/cleaning kit at Walmart. Yet another tool in my slowly expanding gunsmithing kit. Did some light polishing on the feedramp of my Bersa...hopefully it will work nicely with the Magtech FMJ I still need to buy for the next range trip. Oh, and our Christmas tree may be a rather spindly and cheap Douglas Fir, but its real, at least! I'm not sure about alive, but at least it WAS alive. Although given that petroleum was developed from the organic material of prehistoric plant life, and plastic developed as a petroleum product, you could say the fake-o trees were alive, once, as well.