Friday, January 28, 2011

Dad bands

Coldplay: Jonny Buckland, Will Champion, Chris...Image via Wikipedia
Hi, we're really, really dull

There are two types of bands that I don't like.  The first is merely a vague dislike, accompanied by a sense of disbelief that such an ordinary sounding act has done so well, I still fail to understand the allure of Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, U2 or Paramore.

The second type though are the 'Dad bands', these are the sort of acts that appear slightly edgy, almost as if they walked past Slash in a hotel corridor and caught a whiff of real rock and roll.  They appear on the fringes of the rock scene, but always tainted by the allure of pop and indie.  Their fans tend to be people whose interest in music halted at when they left university, when it became just too much trouble to seek out anything new and different.  They are safe as houses, performing to big seated arenas, they use guitars just enough not be labelled a pop band yet they cannot pull out a big enough riff ever to be really called rock.  You know who they are, Oasis, James, U2 (again), Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Keane, Radiohead.

The thing is about rock music, it's supposed to be edgy, it's meant to excite you and upset your parents, if you're at a U2 performance (and please don't called U2 shows gigs) and everyone else in your row is a 45 year old marketing manager from Cheshire who drove to the arena in his BMW X3, then  you are doing it wrong.  Look also at the cost of your concert ticket, is it £7 to see three bands in the upstairs room of a backstreet city pub, or is it £138 to further line the pockets of Queen's multi-millionaire poodle haired Brian May.  If it is the latter, then again you are doing it wrong.

At what point did the thrill of the new, or even just the thrill of the interesting, die in some people.  When did it all become just too much effort, yes there was a point in your life Status Quo were still a proper hard rock band and hairy men in denim jackets headbanged at the front, but go to Quo now and it's like a Saga night out, comfy seats, organised sing-a-longs and people drinking decaffeinated lattes in the bar.  Don't you remember what it was like when the band were on the up, when it was all fresh and viscerally thrilling ? Yes ? Well there are new bands that will give you that same buzz.

Just for research purposes, I'm listening to a bit of Coldplay while I'm writing this and oh deary me, it's so bloody dreary.  Sad young man wails tunelessly over jingly guitars as he waits his turn in the queue for Dignitas, how the bloody hell can you excited over this crap ? It's absolutely bloody dreadful, Chris Martin makes Ian Curtis sound like Ken Dodd.

U2 - boring, Oasis - boring and derivative, Snow Patrol - snore, James - turn up the volume and not only will your Mum not complain, she'll sing along, Keane - I actually own a Keane album, was I drunk ? Depressed ? Deaf ?

I'm sorry, I was going to write a bit more, but I have to get back to some decent music, Radiohead have just come on and I'm losing the will to ......
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  1. Anonymous9:19 am

    I find it so weird that you find Coldplay depressing and boring. A few of their songs are sad, but some of them (like Strawberry Swing and Yellow) are so uplifting and beautiful. I really like their melodies and harmonies, especially on Viva la Vida. I'm not in their fanclub or anything, but there are definitely things there to like.

    I imagine my Iron and Wine collection would bore the shit out of you, though, so take it with some salt I guess. ;)

  2. There is no right and wrong here, it's just a matter of personal taste. Tastes change as many of us mature and we come to appreciate different things, while still loving some of what really turned us on in the past. For others, like yourself apparently, the preference remains fairly fixed, which is perfectly fine, too. What floats your boat won't float mine these days, but that doesn't make either of us cooler or smarter than the other, just different.

    You can't completely slag off a band just because your ears aren't turned on, though. The ones on your hate list include some fantastic lyricists, which makes them hugely appealing to me. Also, the fan base of many artists is aging right along with them and some of us have lost the urge to hang out in the mosh pit. Personally, a comfy seat and sober brain enhance my appreciation of good music. Again, my preference only.

  3. I'm sorry onthetide, it was Yellow that I was listening to when I wrote that, and that's one of the happy tracks ? I can't quite explain what it is, but Coldplay just make me annoyed.

    Iron and Wine are alright actually (even better if Spotify didn't have them listed under 'and' and '&'. I like a bit of breathy folk.

    I may have sounded more angsty than normal in this post, but Meg's just bought me my first ever pair of slippers and I'm railing against growing old gracefully ;-)

  4. Paddy8:19 am

    Having no chance of upsetting my parents I also appear to be unable to upset my children with my musical tastes. My daughter likes gogol bordello and my son nicked The Wildhearts and Terrorvision albums for his room.
    They on the other hand have some perfectly dreadful musical tastes in JLS, Tinchy Stryder and Girls Aloud (although I'm not sure if the last lot are a band or just some prostitutes who wandered on stage).