Paul Fuzz Thinks Way Too Much About The NME
I don't know how long it has been since the NME put a mega-platinum selling US pop-punk/emo band who aren't Green Day on the front cover, but keen followers of the indie weekly's ebbs & flows cannot of failed to recognise the significance of the 'soft-core' stadium swallowers Fall Out Boy's appearence on the front cover this week. There are have been countless hints in the past few months that the NME is seriously unsure of it's direction & editorial policy in the post Libertines era (Anna blogged a piece about the cover CD from a couple of weeks back, noting that it was not only wildly ecelectic in the messiest sense, but also larely sub-standard) and here we have the final and most damning evidence of all - a paper which for two years hasn't had to wander any further than it's local crack dealer's house to find THE NEXT BIG THING is once again wading in the murky waters of big-bucks, owning-you-own-skateware empire MTV US punk, looking slightly embaressed, trying very hard to convince us and themselves that they, like, REALLY BELIEVE in the story, and that anybody who started reading the NME during the Franz/Kaisers/Libs Nu-Wave of Brit Pop 'golden age' has the slightest interest in the corporate, Hollywood, hanging out with Jay Z, baseball cap & shorts wearing post-Linkin Park culture that passes for mainsteam alt. rock 'stateside'.
Perhaps most significant of all was that during the course of the interview there were numerous flashbacks to the nu-metal horrorshow of the early Bush administration era; rock bands chilling with rappers, rock bands listening to Justin Timberlake on their i-pods, talk of being produced by ring-a-ding bling RnB cats, talk of breaking down divisions bewteen genres, owning skate-wear lines & record companies, a devotion to 80's indie, especially the Smiths, but evidently misunderstanding anything the Smiths were about on the most fundemental level...
...none of which bothers me
particularly; I'm a Jay Z fan, I think pop genres should
absolutely be blurred as frequently as possible, and it bothers me in this
country how little
cross over there is bewteen hip/hop & rock cultures...
...but the discussion here is not of good or bad, right or wrong, rather it is of a paper returning to heavy coverage of a genre/culture that for the past 2/3 years it has been able to totally ignore, and often mock outright, because of an abundance of local traditional NME fare - druggy, white-boy Brit rock 'n' roll. MTV punk pop is not what the NME does best, and they know it. But in uncertain times you must throw as much mud against as many wall as you can, in the hope that some of it sticks. They even mentioned Fred Durst, fer chrissakes, and how Fall Out Boy know they need to be more 'Jay Z' than 'Durst.' One imagines Carl Barat doesn't have the same problem. The very fact that Durst's name was mentioned at all, that FOB are a band actively having to avoid becoming increasingly Durst-like, is evidence enough of the paper's editorial policy shifting wildly.
The biggest problem is simply that the NME doesn't really care about Fall Out Boy, and when they cover these sortsa bands it's like they're grinning through gritted teeth. (Robo-automaton-voice:) 'No. Really. We really like Fall Out Boy. We like that whole, uh, thing. They are as important as The Libertines. We listen to mainstream US pop-punk in the office all the time. Seriously. Go Fall Out Boy. ' What I'd really like is a front cover that says 'HEY! WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL WE'RE DOING AT THE MOMENT! HAVEN'T DONE FOR MONTHS! SERIOUSLY: WE GOT NOTHIN'! I MEAN, YOU GUYS KEPT ON AT US ABOUT THE ARCTIC MONKEYS, SO EVENTUALLY WE GOT ON BOARD WITH THEM
, BUT ACTUALLY WE'RE NOT REALLY SURE ANYMORE IF THEY'RE AS GOOD AS YOU THINK THEY ARE, I MEAN, THAT NEW EP, 'WHO THE FUCK ARE ARCTIC MONKEYS?,' WHAT THE HELL IS THAT
ABOUT? IF YOU DON'T LIKE BEING IN A POPULAR INDIE POP BAND WHY DONCHA TRY NOT RELEASING EPS WITH SELF-REFERENTIAL TITLES & LYRICS ABOUT 'THE BACKLASH,' HUH? GEEZ! SORRY WE HELPED YOU BECOME RICH & SAID LOTS OF NICE THINGS ABOUT YOU! OUR BAD! AND APART FROM THAT BUNCH OF NORTHERN JERK-OFFS WE'VE GOT...WHAT? ZOMBIE MARCHING BANDS WHO SOUND LIKE THE WATER BOYS FROM CANADA AND THE GO! TEAM. I MEAN, ARE YOU FRIKKIN' KIDDING US? THIS IS WHAT WE'VE GOT TO WORK WITH? CAN SOMEBODY FORM A DECENT BAND PLEASE? OR, OF PETE DOHERTY'S READING, CAN YOU HURRY UP & DIE? THOSE MEMORIAL TRIBUTE EDITIONS ALWAYS SELL LIKE HOTCAKES.'
Psychedelic Soul Band At #1 ! Paul Fuzz decides internet "not all bad!"
With the rolling gait of a Harlem pimp loaded on high-balls, Gnarls Barkley's low-slung neo-psyche soul hit 'Crazy' has loped hazily & lazily up to the #1 spot of the Top 40 on the back of a gazillion down loads, and then again this week on the back of huge sales clocked up by some retrograde 20th century confection they used to call the 'CD single.' What's great about Gnarls Barkley's wonderful funk 'n' strings smasheroo topping the charts on downloads alone is that it completely puts knuckle draggin' luddites & .com cynics like me to shame. While I don't imagine for a second that every big internet hit will be of this quality (I mean, how could it be, right?) it sure as heck is nice to have my neanderthal fear (that an mp3 dominated Top 40 would consist of nothing but novelty junk, lowest common denominator trash & fad-driven tweenager pap) totally debunked. Instead, i-tunes et al have produced one of best #1's of this decade....I'll still be buying vinyl for the forseeable, but I'm pleasently surprised to learn that download culture isn't the death-knell for quality Top 40 pop music I thought it might be.