Don’t Listen to the Radio, Listen to This! Part 1.

Anyone who has spent any time listening to the radio in the past 10 years can attest to it being filled with some of the worst examples of so-called musical product that’s ever been heard.

Where to start? It’s fair to say that almost anything that’s been in the Top 40 in the past decade qualifies: Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Jonas Brothers, Limp Bizkit, Creed, Hoobastank, Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, James Blunt, Kelis, 50 Cent, Tila Tequila, Amy Winehouse, Coldplay, Rat-a-tat, Chromeo, Jessica Simpson, Soulja Boy, Fall Out Boy, Sum 41, Blink 182, Kings of Leon, Avril Lavigne, Good Charlotte, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Pussycat Dolls, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, Kelly Clarkson, Ashlee Simpson, Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff, Timbaland, Shania Twain, Rascal Flatts… these “musicians” are the representative cohort of what is bleakly referred to as  “The Worst Decade In Music“, with the Grand Poobahs of Suck themselves, Nickelback and their Nickelbands (except for these guys; they fucking rock) as valedictorians of Class of ’00.

To truly grasp the scope of Nickelback’s sucktasticnesshere is a direct side-by-side comparison of two songs from two different albums, released two years apart (props to whomever originally created this mashup): How You Remind Me (2001) and Someday (2004). Same tempo, same chords, same chord progression, same breaks and even the same melody: Nickelback are without a doubt the Worst Band Ever. Chad, the infinite monkeys principle isn’t valid with only one monkey banging out the same thing repeatedly, forever: you’re doing it wrong.

For everyone who was looking for but couldn’t find the great music of the ’00’s, belly up to a buffet of the best music you never heard, but really should have been mowing down, all this time. Bon apetit!

Beast – Fingerprints (Live on Belle et Bum)

Beast (despite what you see in the video) is a two-piece transplanted from France to Montreal, making them (nominally) Can-Con. Interestingly, they opened the 2009 Juno Gala Awards dinner with “Mr. Hurricane”, the first single from their eponymous debut. The same Junos that awarded Nickelback Group of the Year and Album of the Year, as well as nominations to two other categories. Needless to say, as a result, the Junos have totally undermined any credibility they might have had as a legitimate musical awards body.

Beast. *rawr* Get hot.

Metric – Gold, Guns, Girls

Metric have been around for a while now (what?  12 years already?) which is long enough to prove to anybody their staying power as musical innovators (and having a babe like Emily Haines as your frontwoman doesn’t hurt you, either);I was converted last year when my buddy CBet made me wise. Thanks, Bro!

DragonForce  – Through the Fire and Flames

Epic. Epic songs. Epic lyrics. Epic guitar solos. Epic hair. Everything about this band is epic. But then, when you first hear a name like DragonForce it immediately puts you in mind of a time when men wore swords like Levi 501’s, when wizards wore robes like Dumbledore’s and women wore bodices like… damn. Who’s hot and wears a lot of corsets these days?

Pete Philly & Perquisite – Mystery Repeats

Dutch hip-hop duo Pete Philly & Perquisite do something that you don’t see often; they have live musicians backing them, including Perquisite, who composes and produces the beats and also plays the cello. Definitely like no other hip-hop you’ve ever heard, which is a relief.

I don’ t know about you, but I think the “big-screen TVs, blunts, 40’s and bitches” genre of hip-hop that’s been so prevalent of late is a horse that’s been ridden down pretty much right up to the carcass. Can we move on, please?

Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Buster Voodoo [Live on Late Night with Craig Ferguseon]

These two started off as half of a thrash metal band going nowhere in Mexico City. They decided to make ago on their own and take their music in a new direction. What did they get? Flamenco style acoustic metal.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. Everything you hear is made by them on their guitars; no drums, no extra musicians. Who needs them?

Eagles of Death Metal – I Only Want You

Josh Homme’s other band. No, not that one. No, not that one either. Nope, wrong again.

Jeez…  maybe he should get a girl. Whatever. Rock on, Josh.

Gogol Bordello – Wonderlust King [Live on Letterman]

You’ve heard of Gogol Bordello, right? Of course you haven’t; they’re The Biggest Band You’ve Never Heard Of. What’s not to love? European gypsy punk, complete with oompah polka basslines, frenetic guitar strumming, soul-searing violin playing, tiny, screaming asian girls carrying marching drums and cymbals, all led by half-mad, half-genius, handlebar-moustachioed Chernobyl-refugee frontman Eugene Hutz. Music doesn’t get any more entertaining than this.

The Black Keys – Just Got to Be

Forget the White Stripes, They Black Keys are the best two-piece you’ll ever see.

Brother Ali – Uncle Sam Goddam

Breaking all barriers of race, color, religion and creed, Brother Ali is an albino Muslim from Minnesota. You figure it out for yourself. Meanwhile, spin the track.

Muse – Citizen Erased [Live from Glastonbury]

Muse….oh, gosh, MUSE.

*sigh*

I love Muse. I mean, serious Mancrush. I can gush forever about Muse, they’re so good. But in order to spare you all from my famous ranting, I’ll keep it brief. I would settle in with a nice cuppa‘, were I you.

Ok. Here goes.

From their songcraft (which is impressive), to their musicianship (which is amazing), to their vision (which is astounding), Muse set the standard to which a modern rock band should aspire. Bombast. Grand, operatic themes. Over-the-top showmanship. Church organs and massed choirs.  Towering guitar solos and riffs as implacable as a glacier. Drama to glut the masses. They implore you, beg you, issue stern warnings, make bold statements and make you want to shake your booty, nod your head, shout out loud and raise your fist.

Their influences are worn defiantly, like a chip on their shoulder, as if daring you to take your best shot.  You’re as likely to hear something  you could swear Radiohead, Queen, Pink Floyd, Rush, The Mars Volta or King Crimson played, right next to Chopin’s Nocturne in Eb Major.  And boy, do they pull it off.

Muse sounds like everyone you’ve ever heard, but no one sounds anything like Muse. Simply put, Muse are the most exciting band in modern rock. You should definitely opt-in.

Stay tuned.

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Listen to the Radio, Listen to This! Part 1.

  1. Eagles of Death Metal remind me of ripping through town in my friend’s pick up truck and eating McDonalds at ridiculous hours on Scout Island. Best. Band Ever. Great article, and it made me feel extra special knowing I listen to these bands.

    • It’s only Part 1, Dear, but I’m glad you like so far.

      I don’t know if I would be considered an authority, but I know good music when I hear it (and vice versa).

      Got any suggestions for Part 2? Fire me an email (or just add a link to this post)

  2. For the record, I heartily encourage you to think for yourselves, but there comes a point…. well, I think Sam Harris said it best.

    The subject matter has nothing to do with my post, save for the part about expertise, talent and genius; specifically, “moral expertise, moral talent, moral genius”. Showing a picture of himself on one side and Edward Witten on the other, Sam states, “On the left you have Edward Witten. He’s a string theorist. If you ask the smartest physicists around who is the smartest physicist around, in my experience half of them will say Ed Witten. The other half will tell you they don’t like the question. (Laughter) So, what would happen if I showed up at a physics conference and said,”String theory is bogus. It doesn’t resonate with me. It’s not how I chose to view the universe at a small scale. I’m not a fan.” (Laughter) Well, nothing would happen because I’m not a physicist, I don’t understand string theory. I’m the Ted Bundy of string theory. (Laughter) I wouldn’t want to belong to any string theory club that would have me as a member.

    “But this is just the point. Whenever we are talking about facts certain opinions must be excluded. That is what it is to have a domain of expertise. That is what it is for knowledge to count. How have we convinced ourselves that in the moral sphere there is no such thing as moral expertise, or moral talent, or moral genius even? How have we convinced ourselves that every opinion has to count? How have we convinced ourselves that every culture has a point of view on these subjects worth considering? Does the Taliban have a point of view on physics that is worth considering? No. How is their ignorance any less obvious on the subject of human well-being?”

    My point is: you may have an opinion and you may be very vocal about it, and there is nothing that forbids you from having an opinion. Does this mean we have to listen to anyone that has an opinion on a subject about which they have demonstrated a complete lack of proper judgement and reasoning?

    No. It doesn’t.

    What it means is that if you are deliberately being a tit about something, you completely undermine any chance of giving your side (of the argument) any sort of leg to stand on.

    Which means, if you still listen to Nickelback after reading my posts, you’re entitled to do so.

    But I’m also free to think you’re an idiot. Jus’ sayin’.

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