Thursday, June 16, 2005

Our Childrens' Nostalgia

Above is VHS Or Beta, one of a growing cadre of new bands out there (Ima Robot and The Chalets being two of the more tolerable ones among them) who are seemingly obsessed with sounding exactly like they sat down with Duran Duran, The Clash, Translator, Joe Jackson, Tommy Tutone, The Police, The Cars, The Go-Go's, Tony Basil, Talking Heads and The Cure for an ecstatic, all-night, almost too-imitative-to-be-considered-copyright-safe musical orgy.

Whoda' thunk that anyone would ever have wanted to rip off the 80's, which is collectively known as one of the most embarrassing decades of human civilization? I mean, hey, I love every 80's song ever made (with the one possible exception being "Pop Goes the World", the most annoying doink-bop piece of trash ever created, in case you were wondering how I really felt about it), but everyone knows that that's due to nothing other than good ol' nostalgia, which, as we all know, just ain't what it used to be.

It reminds me of the deporable (yes, deplorable even today) tendency of late 80's and early 90's pop music to emulate 60's music (see "Sowing the Seeds of Love," "The Dukes of Stratosphear," World Party, Jellyfish and way too many others), which was just freaking stupid and... well, just freaking stupid. Deee-Lite was the only group that could really pull it off, because they not only dove in head-first with an infectious, modern-retro Day-Glo theatricality, but they also brought hip-hop, funk and techno in to meet the 60's head-on, creating a new genre of retro-fusion that innovated as it imitated.

Thus, I just can't figure out how to feel about groups like VHS or Beta, whose tunes are certainly catchy to me, but, I suspect, only feel that way because they sound like they were recorded with the same instruments and in the same studio as "Rock The Casbah" -- are these truly great musicians, or just truly great poseurs?

(P.S. Just as a footnote on the whole "innovation during imitation" theme, I actually really enjoyed this video from The Chalets that I saw today on Screenhead, which has become my everyday, between-task desktop TV.)


At 8:44 PM, June 21, 2005, Blogger MC Aryeh said...

More musical commentary posts please! This was great. Props for the Deee-Lite mention.

At 8:17 AM, June 22, 2005, Blogger barseff said...


i wonder what the big pig in charge thinks of the white stripes. here's some new bands i've heard of:



Post a Comment

<< Home