My Religion Is Music
I can smell god.
The stench of beautiful corruption and the nascent nostalgia of pure joy…that’s god right there. That extra sense that’s somewhere between Johnson’s Baby Lotion and sulphur, between cardiograms and anagrams…..No, scrap that we’re reading from the same hymn book but have somehow mixed up the psalms!
Ok, I’ll start again, here goes…
I can smell god.
If I was a more eloquent person I’m sure that statement would pave the way for numerous metaphorical musings on the nature of deities and the insipid forms that spirituality can take. I mean, I can smell god. Literally. Don’t take that the wrong way, I’m not making a snide comment about any omnipresent odours or a quip about the sanitary conditions of the said deity’s self-styled universe. For real, I can smell god yeah?
It’s not like really being able to smell something, like a good strong Roquefort or the news…it’s just, I know I can’t see, hear or touch god and the idea of tasting god is a little bit perverse. So I can only describe it as smelling god, which I understand sounds like the title to a rather ambiguous Jerry Adams novel but it’s all I’ve got alright? So this smell, or feeling, what exactly is it? Well it’s the essence of all religion, organised or organic or otherwise. It’s the utter belief in something that you find utterly compelling and irrevocably petrifying. It’s the window to your soul, whatever that is for you.
My religion is music. Come on, don’t laugh. What’s so preposterous about that? Is it any different to belief in Christianity or Judaism? Well apart from the wars and the hate but then look at the Mods & Rockers or the war between Morrissey and people who like good music! Obviously I’m being pedantic but I do believe that music is more than just a passion for me. It’s something that encompasses my entire life and provides me with faith, hope and fear in the same way that Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, Jedi (or the billions of other religions or offshoots I don’t have space for) does for millions of other people. It does the same thing for me but it’s not entirely the same. I mean, if I listen to something and enjoy it I don’t have to repeat Lee Perry’s name 50 times and if I hear something I hate I can just switch it off and not go out and kill every Susan Boyle fan there is….no matter how tempting that might be at times! This is the very reason I’ve had to say I can smell my own god because religious people and organised religion have sullied the idea of belief and passion to such a degree that I’ve had to distance myself from them. I smell god and that leaves me free to live with my belief happily and non-violently!
Ok, let’s look at this in more detail. Let’s take a seminal album, let’s say ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ by Pink Floyd…too obvious? Ok, let’s go with ‘In The Aeroplane Over the Sea’ by Neutral Milk Hotel.
Let’s see how this corresponds with a holy book, I’m going to go with the bible just because it’s the best-selling one (Sorry to all the others, try getting Dan Brown to do a version of your holy book and maybe things will change he’s good at bestsellers!?) . Oh this is going to be fun….
In fact there are just too many similarities to mention, they were both shunned when they first came out, they were both revered and feared in equal measure, there are many interpretations of them both, they brought fame to those who created them so much so that they had to stop, they both have many facets both beautiful and haunting, they both polarise people who read/listen to them. Some people are fanatical about them, others just like portions of them and leave the rest well alone, some people don’t like the originals but when they hear/read new interpretations they instantly fall for them, they both have their critics. I could go on but you can attribute lots of elements of the bible to countless other creative works, cultures or fads because when broken down this is all that the bible and all religions really are. Fads!
Let’s go back to the idea of music as religion, I’m an opinionated bastard when it comes to the art of noise, notes, staves and melodies. I like a wide range of music and I can talk at great lengths about it, some would say to the extent of ruining the point of just listening to the tune but surely this is what’s great about music. One person can listen to Flaming Lips and just enjoy the lovely songs whereas another can debate the nuances of Wayne’s vocals, the evolution of their sound since the ACID years or whether the music they make is pop,alternative, rock, prog-rock, post folk, nu-psych, shun-funk or just music. It’s fantastic and religion could take a few leaves out of the music followers’ book, we debate to the ends of the earth but we don’t wage war on each other…well unless Oasis are involved but then nobody really thinks of them as music anyway and what’s with that name it’s fucking atrocious! Seriously though, music isn’t without it’s bust ups, wars of ideals and sadistic, insane dictators or fans but it doesn’t seem to instill ignorance or single-mindedness in the majority of it’s acolytes. It’s a hard one to argue because I know myself when it comes to Oasis or Morrissey I’m a very hard person to convince of any merits they have. I can be very opinionated when they are played out to the point of leaving bars if more than one track from each “artist” is played, but I have tried. I’ve borrowed albums and listened to them. I’ve heard songs out and I’ve seen them perform on Jools Holland but try as I might I just cannot see any musical value in either of them. Tell them I hate them yeah?
The thing is I’m happy with this and all you die-hard Oasis fans should just think of it as one less person trying to see them when they play or one less gangly folk boy playing one of their awfully simple songs on a guitar around campfires. I don’t mind that people hate Neutral Milk Hotel or Aphex Twin or even Cut Chemist (although how you could is preposterous) and that will always be the difference between music and religion. DJ Shadow didn’t release ‘Entroducing’ with a list of commandments stating “Though shalt not listen to any other sample-based music except mine” or “Though shalt not skip tracks” or “Though shalt not let women listen to this album in thy presence” although he probably would nowadays after that Outsider album (Josh, that hurt me in the same way Jesus must have felt during the passion. I believed in you Mr. Shadow!) It would be ridiculous if people were expected to like certain music or not sleep with people who didn’t like the same music or god forbid have children who didn’t love exactly the same music! So music has it’s dogma and people will abuse this and have done throughout it’s history, but I love this fact because it’s an interesting by-product of passion and it allows us to continue creating as a species. Passion may have it’s more sinister sides but where would we be without it? Listening to fucking Cast whilst Morris Dancing probably.
Religion is no different to any other passion except it’s removed itself from the main point of it’s existence. Passion should be uninhibited. Applying rules & steadfast doctrines to peoples’ passion only serves to cause escalating problems through relationships, communities and ultimately human societies in general. We need to change this going forward, we need to be in control of our passions and be able to share them. I’ve chosen to focus on music in my musings on my own religion but it really can work with anything you are passionate about. Fashion, daytime talk shows, movies, dance, serial killers, Clive Dunn or the illustrated version of Mein Kampf as long as you realise that the passion is a personal journey. We can be vocal and have opinions about our passions and debate, discuss or drunkenly enforce opinions on each other as long as we’re aware at the end of the day that other people don’t have to agree. I am in a relationship with someone who is a huge fan of R.E.M, two of my closest friends actually like Kasabian and some of my family like James Blunt…I do not and will not ever fully understand these musical choices but I respect them as their choices (as long as I’m not in the room). I don’t despise them or try and make them change their ways and I feel as each new generation comes through we are becoming more tolerant of different beliefs, passions or opinions.
So I implore you as a reader of this magazine, as a fan of whatever you are a fan of to try something new today. Try smelling your own god. Don’t be shy it’s a hip new craze all the kids are doing or it will be if I can get Bieber involved. We’ve had opinions and rules on everything force fed to us for years so let’s try our own take on how to converse with passion. Let’s use our most underrated of the senses, all the other ones are so stuck in reality. You have to see something to believe it, you have to be around the tree in the forest to see if it makes a sound when it falls, you have to touch someone to feel close to them and you have to taste something to know if you like it. Passion shouldn’t be based in reality you should be amazed by it everyday. You should smell it.
My passion smells of the Jorvik Viking Centre and some honeysuckle, how about yours?
(Originally published in Spindle Magazine)
SHOCK HORROR: Radiohead Don’t Play Creep!
I am amazing, I am one of the blessed ones, I saw Radiohead live at the 02 this week and was right at the front, who wants to touch me? I said WHO WANTS TO TOUCH ME?!? I’m sure you all do after all this is the band who, begrudgingly at times ,have managed to remain one of the biggest bands in the world since the mid 90’s playing the same sold out venues as Rihanna, Take That & Coldplay! This is the band who released albums which automatically nestled alongside Pet Sounds, Sgt. Peppers and Dark Side of The Moon and helped millions of people around the world realise there was more to music than guitars despite having one of the best guitarists in the world in their band. So who wants to touch me? Oh by the way did I mention they didn’t play anything off ‘The Bends’ and they definitely didn’t play ‘Creep’… hey why are you running away!
It really fucks me off when Radiohead get maligned for not playing their “hits” by clammy journalists who seem to believe that every gig should be curated by them and not the actual band that they’re supposed to be fans of. Radiohead are not Coldplay, they are not in the habit of writing songs specifically for a stadium to sing to which seems to be all Chris Martin can do these days, even their songs which are anthemic were sometimes accidental. ‘Creep’ gestated out of Jonny Greenwood’s frustration of having to play the song in the first place and no offense but who’d have thought songs as dark and meaningful as ‘Karma Police’, ‘Paranoid Android’ or ‘Street Spirit’ would become singalong crowd pleasers? Radiohead have always been a progressive band who, through musicianship, music appreciation and a desire to further themselves as a band, have remained relevant. If they were Oasis they would still be playing songs from ‘Pablo Honey’ and sounding like a Neil Young covers band, thank fuck for musical integrity!
The gig itself was incredible,more for the fact they didn’t play their “hits” but suprised even ardent, globe-trotting fans with renditions of new tracks, rare b-sides and songs you just never expected like ‘Kid A’ and a haunting piano version of ‘Like Spinning Plates’. The setlist was King of Limbs-heavy but that’s the album they’re touring so why do so many people get upset by the fact they played a lot of songs from it? It’s not like there weren’t classics in there: a jazzy, piano led ‘Karma Police’ was brilliant and a dubby version of ‘Climbing Up The Walls’ alongside a string of Kid A/Amnesiac songs which in my eyes are as classic as anything from ‘The Bends’. There were also a suprising number from ‘Hail To the Thief’ which you realised whilst listening have a totally new resonance in the current hateful Tory climate and even more so with U.S elections a month away, Thom Yorke’s voice stronger now than in his youth lending the lyrics new power alongside all the lovely new equipment which the band have at their disposal bringing every lick and drum pattern a powerful punch!
If I was to say anything negative it would be that Caribou, who blasted the 02 arena with a stonking half hour set, should have been given longer but when you see the incredible stage show with movable screens and then Radiohead play for over two hours you realise that there was a reason. The band looked comfortable together and even Jonny Greenwood now looks directly into the audience and seems to enjoy the spectacle rather than retreating into his amp. The set was clever and varied and really pushed boundaries in the field of stadium electronic music, I’ve never danced so much to a ‘rock’ band before especially to songs like ‘Feral’ and the new ‘Identikit’! I heard snippets of conversation leaving the gig and the usual “They didn’t play Creep” or “Nothing from The Bends” could be picked out and I’m sure for some this was a disappointment but when you look at their sets from night to night you realise they are playing different songs each night. The night after we went they played ‘Airbag’ and ‘Planet Telex’ so maybe people were happier but when a band can be that fresh and entertaining whether playing twenty year old songs and brand new electronic glitchiness you’ve just got to feel lucky to witness it. I even managed to get a setlist at the end to remember it all by so I’ll ask again, who wants to touch me?
(Originally published in Beatwolf Magazine)
Carl & Pete Should Listen to more Blur
“It’s over” as Damon Albarn once wrote, who knew he was talking to two boys who studied at Brunel Uni.
I heard the news today, oh boy, Carl Barat and Pete Doherty are writing songs together in Blackburn, Lancashire. OK, so it’s probably not in Blackburn it will probably be in Lord Cardigan’s house in Wiltshire which Pete lives because he’s not allowed in London anymore. Am I the only person out there who really thinks this idea is worse than when R Kelly used a toilet one day and thought ‘I think a girls face would be better for this’?
I wrote a tweet in my mind yesterday, it’s a therapy thing, saying, ‘Please NME don’t let this happen. Don’t let them look back into the sun!’ This music news isn’t like when One Direction release a song and I think I will give little to no care to this as long as I don’t have to listen to it. It’s not like when an ageing rocker like Dylan releases a new album which you know will be awful but you just think, ‘Bless him, hopefully it will keep the dementia away’. It’s not even like when Blur return to song writing and you realise that actually they broke up weirdly, left albums unresolved and genuinely might have some magic left to release together. It’s a whole new kind of musicians trying again thing, and I’m not happy about it, in fact I’m downright perplexed.
The Libertines were necessary. I don’t rate them hugely on the British music spectrum but I understand their influence and the ethos, swagger and style they bought back to London guitar music, all be it with a lot of help. If British guitar music was a pie chart, I don’t think they’d be a slice they’d just make up a bit of the crust.
They wrote some great songs, the albums aren’t up to much but there’s no denying ‘Don’ Look Back into The Sun’, ‘The Good Old Days’ and ‘Up The Bracket’ are great for a wiggle. The thing is they’re a bit like all those ‘THE’ bands from the sixties The Animals, The Turtles, The Troggs or The Equals, they were an integral part of the overall movement but that was their window. In the sixties The Kinks, The Who and The Beatles carried on their own musical legacy to varying degrees and maintained their status whereas the others had songs that stood the test of time, that’s it. Carl & Pete need to realise they fall squarely into that category, if Kasabian and Muse are the big guns then The Libertines are The Turtles of 2001.
I’m sorry guys, I’m not trying to be antagonist I’m saying it because I feel it’s the right thing to tell you. Your time has passed. You both have talents, not as much as Gary the drummer did, but still a great deal of talent and you should use it wisely. Carl is soon to begin touring with Africa Express, you lucky shit, which is a great way to expand your musicality and experiment for the future. Pete…well, you’ll do great darling you could be a poet for a generation going forward just not in the way you were, that’s done, maybe you could go to Sea World and write a song about Shamu, it’s a bit less likely to turn all druggy and all that.
I know it must be tempting to do the whole create the old magic kind of thing and reconciling musicians will always feel the need to try again, look at Simon & Garfunkel you’d think they’d learn one day. Creating music is a wonderful experience and doing it with people can infinitely enhance that, it can also seriously diminish it. Who knows Pete & Carl may suprise me and come out with something very new and un-Libertines like which would mean I would need to eat this page. I doubt it though and can think of nothing worse than two talented artists cashing in on a bygone scene to make some money or propel their future selves. Well I can think of something worse but it involves R Kelly and asparagus…
(Originally published in Beatwolf Magazine)
I went to V Festival and all I got was this piss-stained t-shirt!
I laughed when I first heard that Cheryl Lloyd had been pelted with urine at V Festival but that’s only because I thought they were talking about the one woman hate factory Cheryl Cole. When I realised they were talking about a 19 year old girl who unlike Ms. Cole has so far only offended people with her music, I actually felt pretty bad!
Is it Cheryl Lloyd’s fault she makes accessible, saccharine pop music which sells a lot of records and gains her millions of fans around the world? No.
Is it her fault she got booked to play a huge pop festival at the behest of executives who capitalise on the allure of a ‘novelty’ act at these kind of events? No.
Is it wrong to throw urine over a barely legal, reality TV winner just because you don’t like her music? Yes (R. Kelly take note…again!)
Reading/Leeds Festival has a lot to answer for. Not only has it paved the way for commercialism to stranglehold & extort punters at festivals it’s also set the bar for what 12-21 year old alternative music lovers want from their summer carnival. They want big bands, they want access to a high street (preferably with a Hollisters & McDonalds) and they want a gimmick act they can berate until their hearts are content. The snickering, teenage nu-metal fan from my youth remembers similar acts of musical snobbery against bands who weren’t cool; Daphne & Celeste, Fifty Cent, Daniel Beddingfield and Kasabian. I was never a piss slinger but I definitely heckled shitty pop bands who I perceived to be crimes against ‘ROCK’ and I probably did it whilst using my thumb to hold my middle and ring fingers against my palm, god I was cool! What I don’t understand is why the vibe is so different at Glastonbury & Bestival compared to Reading, V, etc? I’ve seen Village People, Rolf Harris, Lily Allen & Jay-Z at Glastonbury and none of them were ever bottled or got given a golden shower, if you don’t enjoy them either sit down and smoke or go watch something you do like. Surely that’s just common sense right? Maybe it’s the way these teenage festivals are set up, like a cattle pen with one big stage and some tiny tents dotted around the edge so people have to put up with what ever is on the Main Stage or maybe it’s just that there are more rampaging hormones at Reading and V, who knows?
Cher Lloyd doesn’t deserve this kind of hate. Shit Daphne & Celeste didn’t really deserve it (OK they asked to play Reading but still) and even Fifty Cent…well Fifty Cent deserves ridicule for his appalling misogyny and hateful videos but not for his music. Nobody should be abused physically for the music they make especially not with a projectile, excretion-filled weapon. This would be a crime, even at a football match, if it were done to a man or a woman let alone a fucking teenager! How has this nasty tradition of booking acts whom are destined to be piss targets continued unabated? Why is there such a large cross-section of ‘alternative’ music lovers who get their kicks from drenching young pop stars in bodily fluids? Why can’t a masochistic music journalist find a crowd of people willing to cover him in wee wee whilst tiny crabs clamp his delicate, pink nipples? Erm….
I think the moral of this piece is that festivals should be about inclusion, getting wasted and celebrating the non-conformity to the 21st Century rat race. It should be about watching the music you love, finding new music you love and shedding the shackles of being a child. If you don’t like a band or genre then find a campfire, bring beer and sit and debate your point until the sun comes up. Let me put it more succinctly would you rather be like Joe Strummer (inclusive, loves music, campfires, fun) or R. Kelly (piss, bad music, guns)? Stop throwing piss at teenagers or embrace your fetishistic lust and find someone who enjoys that kind of thing with you, your mum maybe?
(Originally published in Beatwolf Magazine)
Rihanna suffers Stockholm Syndrome for Chris “The Fist” Brown
I’ve never hit a woman. I don’t intend to, well unless there’s a zombie invasion and then I will dive in like Mike Tyson with a hard on… not because I want to you understand, but because the zombies will be trying to eat me. Zombie apocalypse is really the only time when it’s right for someone with physical superiority to strike someone weaker than themselves, otherwise let’s face it, you’re a prat! Chris Brown didn’t just strike a woman (she’s not a zombie, I don’t think?), he battered her black and blue, he also sung ‘Yeah 3x’!
I’m not going to rip into the music of either parties here, if you want to read about Chris Brown’s new album just head to Chloe Papas Review from X-Magazine. We could be here all day if we delved into the insipid, auto-tune obsessed, samey crap that both these “artists” release on a continual basis. The music is abominable but despite the hate that boils inside us when we hear their dulcet odorous tones, this is no cause for violence, seriously even ‘Hear Say’ didn’t deserve to be stabbed for their music just switch the radio off.
The most upsetting aspect of domestic violence is that it’s usually perpetrated by someone you love and want to be with so the emotional pain can be more excruciating than the physical. Sticks and stones and all that, sometimes the knowledge of what someone has done and the ramifications can run deeper and cause serious personal issues in the future. I sympathise with Rihanna, she’s not only been on the receiving end but also seems to feel she’s partly to blame for Mr. Brown’s relationship impairment. It’s a common case in instances like this which is why so many men and women fail to alert authorities or even friends and families when they are being abused. The difference in this case is Rihanna has become, unfortunately, a role model for generations of girls and women and her acceptance of this vile occurrence could have severe consequences for victims going forward. I’m not blaming her, it’s a terrible thing and he obviously needs help but this needs to be publicised, they need to admit it was wrong and work to ensure it never happens again not just for themselves but for the millions of other victims out there.
Rihanna has stated she feels protective of her lover and OK he’s received a great deal of negative press but nowhere near enough in my eyes. He has seemingly been allowed to get a rap on the knuckles and now the world is ready to welcome him and his abhorrent music back into mainstream culture. The man needs to prove he has taken stock of his actions, worked to better himself and assist the situation of others. Couples can get through a lot if they are willing to work through things and everyone in a relationship has things to work through. What people shouldn’t do though is trivialise situations especially ones as serious as this, it’s wrong pure and simple, and like any wrongdoing there need to be consequences.
Domestic violence happens to both men and women but for obvious reasons the plight of women being abused is given more attention. If a boxer or trained fighter strikes someone in day to day life the punishment is more severe than a usual fight (like Nic Cage in Con Air yeah?) because they are technically a trained weapon. The majority of women are physically weaker than men and so should this not mean that battery should hold a higher penalty than punching another man of equal strength? The pop power couple should be working with charities, authorities and the media to research these questions not feeling sorry for each other and releasing more tripe. I’m not saying go all Bono on our asses but they have a responsibility in my eyes to prove the rekindled relationship is a positive, therapeutic statement and not just a case of Stockholm Syndrome with auto-tune. If he makes you feel like the only girl in the world then surely he can do it with love and not his knuckles?
(Originally published in Beatwolf Magazine)
MCA say No Way to Mad Men Style Pay!
Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch passing away was a big deal. Not just for his family, not just for the music community, not just for his fans and not just for those who’ve been touched by his humanitarian efforts. It was a big deal for culture in general. The Beastie Boys have followed Bowie in that exceedingly niche category of fun, creative, artistic, chameleonic careers where wackiness is always backed up by their talent and their integrity has shone through in their image musically and in the media. Very few artists have this luxury and so their legacy is even more sacred, which brings me to my point…
MCA’s last will and testament, according to DNAPresents prohibits his music and so the music of the remaining Beastie Boys to be used in advertising. This has the hall marks of a Guardian Comment is Free slug fest as the general public debate his “selfishness”, proclaim his punk ethos and generally get involved in something that has nothing to do with them. If, in my will, I said I didn’t want my children to sell or masturbate over my sophisticated collection of Calvin & Hobbes porn then firstly I’d hope they’d respect it (the pages are very delicate) and secondly apart from my immediate family then who’s fucking business is it anyway?
Musicians have long been our best friends, our mentors and our deities so it’s no wonder we get inspired/enraged/befuddled by everything they do or say but let me ask you, why should any music be used for any purpose other than to enjoy? Why should I have to tarnish my memories of rocking out to ‘Sabotage’ in school if I then have to see it promoting Gap? Who wants to forever relate ‘Fight for your Right (To Party)’ with adverts for the fucking Armed Forces? (You know they’d get it in somehow) Those songs were created for fans, music lovers and the boys themselves to enjoy, see in concert and maybe woo a young lady to… although maybe not Paul’s Boutique!
I’m not belittling or enraged by artists who do sell their tunes to ‘The Man’ it’s a part of the music business and a lucrative way to make money especially in the electronic field. One of my favourite labels, Ninja Tune, had a period in the early 2000’s where every artist they signed had a song on an advert, a clip show or during MasterChef. It’s a great way to support yourself if you’re an indie label and a great way for exposure from those not scouring the leftfield record shops in Leicester. It’s not a prerogative though and anyone who does have integrity deserves respect. Look at Daniel Kitson, he’s one of the most respected stand ups working today and he’s hardly done any press or shown his face on TV since 2001 he gets by as he wants to without the help of a corporate machine. Now we can all point fingers and say well ‘The Beastie Boys’ have courted the press and labels over the years but anyone with a fan-base at some point is going to have to do that. It’s about how you come across and who you feel is important, Chris Rea and Van Morrison get bad press and abuse their fans by cutting sets short or standing with their backs to the audiences. The Beastie Boys may have courted the press and made their share of industry led decisions but they’ve always known the music and the fans come first, take note Frank Ocean.
The Beastie Boys are an institution, they stopped just being rappers or musicians years ago and have come to embody more than that. They’re pioneers and I’m sure their music and decisions going forward will continue to inspire and change the industry but not this decision. This decision is nothing new, hundreds of artists have done the same thing, it’s a mans wish, no it’s a punks wish and we should all respect that. Besides it’s not like it’s a suprise, just listen to ‘Putting Shame in The Game’.
“Don’t grease my palm with your filthy cash
Multinationals spreading like a rash
I might stick around or I might be a fad
But I won’t sell my songs for no TV ad”
Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “MCA” Yauch, Adam “Ad Rock” Horowitz, Michael Scwarz
(Originally published in Beatwolf Magazine)
Limp Bizkit are over, did anyone notice?
I just watched ‘Searching for Sugarman’ a beautiful documentary about the musician Sixto Rodriguez and the impact of his music across the globe and what it meant to a country under oppressive, apartheid rule in the 70’s. I’m not going to talk about the film as it’s only just come out and you should really check it out so I don’t want to spoil anything about it, but it got me thinking when should a musician realise that they didn’t make it and get on with their lives or when should you realise your brand of music isn’t what’s hip? If you give up you may never create your own ‘Revolver’ or ‘OK Computer’ but if you keep plugging away you may end up like Chris de Burgh releasing minstrel-rock for evermore! What to do, what to do indeed…
Limp Bizkit have decided that their time is done and that although they had fans, the time for silly, neutered nu-metal is done and they were the last to realise it. Music is cyclical so who knows maybe in 2040 we’ll all be pining for Fred’s particular brand of shit rapping and fun George Michael covers but for now though the world has moved on. I’m actually surprised to say these words, “I respect Limp Bizkit’s decision”! Wow, that was pretty hard to say but it’s true I think they are totally right that the window for nu-metal really has closed and relegated to the early afternoon slots at Reading Festival and sad reunion gigs where confused people jump around a bit whilst trying to mask the fact that they’re past 30 now. No Doubt on the other hand seem to think that now is the right time for their unique take on rock and maybe they’re right but I’m not so sure.
The Beatles started out writing pretty samey, catchy pop songs and if they’d given up after the first few albums I can tell you now that ‘Macca’ wouldn’t be rolled out for every national event. They are only the band we know them as because of the time they had to hone their style and because they evolved with every album they made. The Beatles were famous and they used that fame to explore diverse styles and expand their collective passions and influences, in a similar fashion to Radiohead. Bands like these can’t really be classified into one genre because although they have a sound and the same members they experiment and diversify from the label they were given by the media. Coldplay, even if you don’t like them you have to admit they’ve developed their style so ‘Yellow’ and ‘Every Teardrop is A Waterfall’ can’t be classified in the same genre. Limp Bizkit, No Doubt and many other 90’s rock bands seemed to get mired in the same sound so although there were some catchy riffs and fun choruses the style never differed. It feels like such a waste not to capitalise on your creativity and to just turn your back catalogue into a 9-5 work thing and not take it any further. In recent years I think Portishead did a great job of re-inventing their trip-hop roots for a new generation whereas a band like Offspring will forever roll out the same sound that made them famous.
Limp Bizkit are famous and rode high on a wave of success for years but even though they’re still famous they have the grace to realise that continuing that style of music would be flogging a dead horse so maybe they’ll reinvent and use their notoriety to propel that. Who knows maybe the next album from the ‘Chocolate Starfish’ boys will be Sgt. Peppers for the dubstep generation but frankly who cares? Limp Bizkit are done and personally I feel their decision is preferable to Gwen Stefani saying her solo career got a bit too much so she’s going back to her day job of ‘No Doubt’. Do we really need a new ‘Just a Girl’, they were a good band back in the day and they have some fun songs but I’m not sure pop-rock-alternative-reggae fusion is where the kids are at these days, maybe they should team up with Chris De Burgh?
(Originally published in Beatwolf Magazine)