Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lying Awake Intent On Tuning In On You

You know what I really hate? "Ironic" pop song covers by punk/metal/hardcore/whatever bands. Hell, I am going to expand that to include "ironic" covers of any kind.

Whenever a band covers song for any reason other than "I like this song and would like to play it myself because I like it so much" that performer places themselves above the original performer, even if they're doing it subconsciously. I think that is outrageously pretentious and also incredibly disrespectful. Even if it is just the most simple, dumb pop song ever released, it still involved a very long and arduous process in its production. Making music and then releasing it is REALLY HARD and REALLY STRESSFUL. Demeaning another person's effort in that process seems like a real shitty thing to do, in my opinion.

On that note, that also implies that your own music taste is so superior to other peoples that you'll just be condescending about it. If you do that, FUCK YOU.

Like any capable writer I should give examples to illustrate my point.

One of the worst offenders in the "ironic" pop cover category is Fearless Records and their "Punk Goes..." series of cover compilations. The first iteration was a bit of a mixed bag because it seems like some of the covers were completely genuine and featured bands cover metal bands who you could tell influenced them in some way, such as Bigwig's Slayer cover and the RX Bandits Megadeth cover. On the other hand, there were completely awful contributions by Less Than Jake and New Found Glory (See! I'm not biased, I'm being critical about bands I like too!), so who knows. "...Goes Acoustic" which was acoustic versions of songs, so again not that bad.

After these though, everything went to shit. "...Goes Pop", "...Goes 80's" and the worst offender of all "...Goes Crunk" followed and were filled with the type of covers that I started this post putting down.

For example:

At the time, Katy Perry was figured by most to be on the fast track to becoming a one-hit wonder because of "I Kissed A Girl", so I'm sure Attack Attack! was looking to capitalize on her moment of popularity to benefit themselves. Jokes on you shitheads, she followed that with an amazing single and then put out one of the best pop albums ever, while all you're known for is this and being the soup du jour on Warped Tour one year.

These types of covers are also really popular with local bands because they can be a really easy way to gain cheap popularity for a bit, which is something else that really bugs about these. People should like you because of the art you make, not because they recognize a popular song at your shows.

Now, this is not all to suggest that there is something wrong with covering pop songs, just in the fashion that most bands approach it. In fact, I downright love me some pop covers. When the band Joyce Manor (who are very good, this is one of my favourite songs) announced that they would include a cover of The Buggles' "Video Killed The Radio Star" on their second album, most people rolled their eyes because it seemed exactly like the kind of music bullshit that I have been describing so far. However, Barry Johnson was quick to point out that he's always wanted to cover the song and was a genuine fan of it. What a novel idea! Being a genuine fan? Who even does that anymore?! The first time I listened to Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired I didn't even notice the song was a cover the first time it came on. A funny thing happens when you actually like the song you are playing: Quality increases!

Now compare that to:

Another great example is the power-pop band First Base's cover of Abba's "Mamma Mia"

First Base covered this song because it is a GOOD POP SONG AND THEY LIKE IT. NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THAT.

I know that irony can be funny, by hell is it ever a slippery slope.

Also, a few years ago, Blogger totally revamped its platform. I've said it a few times, but to reiterate, I am completely committed to this site as a writing platform over Tumblr or other options because it is much more of a word processor and less of a "here's something to read for 1 singular minute before you scroll down and then forget it". One of the features they changed was that when you were embedding a video, for example from Youtube, instead of just throwing the whole code into the raw text of your post, you click a button that says "HTML" and put it there. I like this because it reminds me of my days on MySpace when I had to learn rudimentary coding to spruce up my amazing page. Because of that experience I have a kind of nostalgia for HTML. I thought of this wild-ass tangent because of how many videos I just had to put into this post.