Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Author's Playlist – Or All The Stuff That Isn't On It

Is this the American idiot of whom ye sing?

American Idiot – As recommended by a certain Greenpeace zombie Alfred Goyer, who actually answered the last issue of this series incorrectly but did so with such a gross, barbaric, and thoughtless display of incivility towards a pure and innocent maiden that he had to get what’s coming to him.  We at the Files pride ourselves on following a Code of Chivalry transcribed in the print edition of the journal, which holds that readers can direct any brand or measure of criticism at the Author, no matter how uncouth, inarticulate, or resentful, but that the Author will tolerate no insults or slights against the character of a lady – especially one he likes.  This is payback, Al, you coward, you slanderer, you musically tasteless scoundrel, you un-American idiot.

In case you aren’t familiar with the name Green Day or its legacy, allow me to preface this review with several words of wisdom by its founders.

“The only people who should sing about social issues or politics are the ones who aren't full of s***.” ~ Billie Joe Armstrong

If there is a God or anything like that, there’s nothing I can certainly do about it.  I believe we’re all part of the Force.  It’s like the Force.  There’s Luke, there’s Leia, and there’s us… I base all my religious beliefs in Star Wars.” ~ Mike Dirnt

“[The American flag] means nothing to me. Let’s burn the ****ing thing.” ~ Both, referring to a music video in which they do, in fact, burn the ****ing thing.

And so you now know all that there is to understand about Green Day.  They aren’t full of s***, at least from their perspective, they worship the holy trinity of Luke, Leia, and Han, and they have no qualms about desecrating a symbol of national pride to turn a profit, which they nevertheless revile in their music along with Jesus, country hicks, and George W. Bush.  Actually, pretty much the entirety of their iconic album American Idiot can be summarized in theses relating to George Bush: Bush is a war criminal, Bush is a heartless 1 percenter, and Bush just all-around sucks.

Lampooning politicians in music can be amusing when done as parody or satire, as self-described white comedian Paul Shanklin regularly proves in segments on the Rush Limbaugh program, but American Idiot sells itself neither as parody nor satire but as a completely serious punk rock album, and so it ought to be, and yet there’s nothing about it worth taking seriously.  This is what happens when you provide a bunch of disgruntled leftists with a microphone and ask them to sing whatever crosses their mind with no regard to its decency or rationality.  Unlike a lot of music produced nowadays, American Idiot actually means something inasmuch as the songwriters had a purpose in making it, but that something they meant to say just so happens to be a nothing, which is all this drivel signifies other than its authors’ stupidity.

On this its 10th anniversary, it’s interesting to note that American Idiot hails from an era when profanity wasn’t especially cool or common in mainstream music.  Back in the year of 2004, artists generally found more creative and articulate ways of expressing themselves than those involving the F-bomb or blaspheming the name of Jesus Christ.  Prudes!  Green Day, God bless ’em, heroically took it upon themselves to rebel against this tradition of prudishness and stuff as much gratuitous vulgarity into their songs as possible.  Here are some of the more poetic and thoughtful examples of Billie Joe’s verse:

“Well maybe I'm the faggot America. / I'm not a part of a redneck agenda. / Now everybody do the propaganda. / And sing along to the age of paranoia…”

“And I leave behind / This hurricane of ****ing lies / And I walked this line a million and one ****ing times / But not this time…”

This is some really deep stuff, Al.  Thanks for recommending it to me.  Anyway, American Idiot touts itself as a “rock opera”, with the implication that its songs tell a continuous story concerning several recurring characters, namely Jesus and his girlfriend Whatshername, but you wouldn’t reach that conclusion without the extensive use of visual aids, as pretty much the whole thing sounds like a cacophony of angry yelling and angry electric guitars.  The first and most patriotic track on the CD laments the “sound of hysteria” of a “new media” that’s turning everyone into American idiots, except for the speaker, of course, who’s perfectly rational and hasn’t yet imbibed the redneck kool aid.  The next song of nine minutes introduces us to Jesus of Suburbia, a coke-smoking, gutter-talking son of rage and love “from the Bible of none of the above, on a steady diet of soda pop and Ritalin”.  According to this Jesus of only coincidentally symbolic name, “everybody is so full of ****”, having been “born and raised by hypocrites”, and He Doesn’t Care!  He Doesn’t Care!

Clearly he’d be a really pleasant guy to hang around, which is great, because Green Day’s disciples will get to spend the rest of the album listening to him and his profundities about American society, starting with the third track, Holiday, which is a kind of screed against the Iraq War and almost rivals the Grammy award-winning Bush Lied, Kids Died for compositional sophistication.  “Hear the dogs howling out of key / To a hymn called ‘Faith and Misery’ / And bleed, the company lost the war today. /  Hear the drum pounding out of time / Another protester has crossed the line / To find the money’s on the other side…”  Those pacifist protestors have it so hard in the United States, always getting trampled on by the thought police whenever they try waving their picket signs or singing their Green Day songs.  It’s just too bad we don’t have a 1st Amendment or something like that to consecrate their right to sing 21 Guns all day long. But wait, there’s more: “Sieg Heil to the president Gasman / Bombs away is your punishment / Pulverize the Eiffel towers / Who criticize your government / Bang bang goes the broken glass and / Kill all the fags that don't agree…”  I’m not even going to pretend that makes a whit of logical sense, nor do I remember the gay advocacy groups taking up arms against Billie Joe and his pals for using homosexual slurs every other song on American Idiot.  I guess they all got free passes like Alec Baldwin because they claim to endorse the secular redefinition of marriage.

The fourth track, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, is actually pretty good with its melancholy, subdued vocals and chords, not to mention the added benefit that it doesn’t overtly push any political message.  That makes 4 minutes of worthy music on a 50+ minute epic Broadway musical that’s anything but epic. Regardless, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tré Cool are only three of the American idiots associated with this foul, godless trash.  Every idiot band needs an idiot audience to support it.

One of the two good songs Green Day has ever made is even better with bio-mechanical warriors duking it out in epic fashion. I think this is actually a remix with some Oasis and Aerosmith spliced into the original song. There are other Bionicle videos set to BOBD that are better edited and don’t recycle the same footage, but few of them bleep out the one bad word that’s randomly tucked into the middle. Gosh DARN it!


Singles
Get Lucky – As recommend by a punk I knew in school.

The music of Daft Punk might sound remotely bearable if you were smoking crack, doing pushups, and watching Tron all at the same time.  Even then, you’d have to get lucky.  As the flagship song of the electric pop band’s whole career, Get Lucky is typically the most insipid and egregious of all their miserable creations, imagining the sound that results from strangling an already pathetic Adam Levine, overlaying his broken voice with a computerized backing track virtually stolen out of the Bee Gees, and massacring any remaining semblance of sanity with a chorus that evokes I Gotta Feeling and The Fox for all its complexity of verse.

The first lines are a cryptic allusion to Egyptian mythology, invoking “the legend of the phoenix” and doing nothing thereafter to elaborate on the legend or its relation to the speaker.  In all sincerity, my memory of the interludial lines is mostly smothered beneath the bitter after-taste left by the unforgettably stupid chorus.  Daft Punk sings in a flat and lifeless tone more befitting of a robot than a human being, evoking the keen observation of Obi-Wan Kenobi that “They’re more machine than man now,” which makes sense given the duo’s preferred stage look.

Rarely does one as verbose as myself get so severe an affliction of blogger’s block, but I can only grasp vainly for the appropriate words to describe how obnoxious and vapid this tune is.  If Get Lucky was nothing more offensive than a mindless ode to meaningless sex (“She’s up all night for good fun, I’m all night to get lucky, get lucky, get lucky…”), then I might find it within me to pardon Daft Punk for this insult to my intelligence, but the subject matter of the song’s lyrics is so deliberately ambiguous as to render the group’s offense truly unforgivable.  Perhaps the invocation of the phoenix symbolizes Daft Punk’s woeful attempt to resurrect itself from the ashes of their score to Tron: Legacy, which remains one of the most exhilarating of all time.  I guess they forgot that Tron fights for the Users, not the losers.  End of line, man.


This is how I'll choose to remember Daft Punk in the end times.


ApplauseNo living person would think to recommend this song.

I’ve never listened to this limp excuse for ‘music’ in its entirety, but when I do stumble across it, all I hear is, “Applause, applause, there will be a pause pause, you did a blah blah blah, so turn the lights on.   Paws.”  Then I recall that this is the #1 worst-selling track from Lady Gaga’s dud of an album with a cover that looks like ArtPorn.  There’s probably a lot of subliminal gay messaging under the outer layers of craptastic, but I refuse to subject myself to the pain of searching it out.  Based on her album’s miserable sales numbers, I kind of wish that this fame monster had played a more instrumental role in Obama’s re-election campaign.  Alas, he was too busy mingling with true, respected artists like Jay-Z, CeeLo Green, Beyonce, sans any stripper attire or destiny children.

I pity the fool who has to try describing how this woman’s real singing voice sounds.  What with all the electronic processing that distinguishes her craft, there’s not a whole lot of workable evidence in public circulation.

Burn – 

If you seek proof that the songwriting industry has lost its fire, fire, fire, fire and been hijacked by lazy poetry rejects short on original ideas, sentences, and words, look no further than Burn, Burn, Burn, Burn, which is exactly the fate that this song deserves.  I had to look up the lyrics because I couldn’t discern a syllable the singer is pronouncing outside of those two words repeated over, over, over, and over again for emphasis, and the internet turned up this result, which I have not and will never bother to check for accuracy:

“We don't wanna leave, no.  We just wanna be right now, r-r-right now / And what we see is everybody's on the floor acting crazy, getting loco 'til the lights out / Music's on, I'm waking up, we stop the vibe, and we bump it up… We can light it up, up, up / So they can't put it out, out, out / We can light it up, up, up / So they can’t put it out, out out / [Rinse, copy and paste]”

Does this not sound like every stupid pop song ever written?

Counting Stars –

Like most socialist anthems to wealth redistribution and collective ownership of property, Counting Stars accomplishes its purpose very subtly, with such tact that its subliminal messages will worm their way into all but the most discriminating minds without betraying the slightest indication of their existence.  The one difference between it and other socialist songs like Firework, I Kissed A Girl, everything else by Katy Perry, Born This Way, Poker Face, everything else by Lady Gaga, Imagine, All You Need Is Love, and everything else by John Lennon is that OneRepublic’s members don’t wear their socialism on their sleeves like the aforementioned hippie numbskulls, and as a result their music is all the more dangerous.

Most people will pass Counting Stars off as an innocent shanty about spurning the pursuit of material wealth for nobler aspirations, but lead singer and songwriter Ryan Tedder quite clearly had more sinister ideas in mind than just that.  On the one hand, the song promotes a vein of moral relativism that’s essential to the strict maintenance of all socialist communities; we see this reflected mainly in the speaker’s admission that, “I-I-I-I feel something so right by doing the wrong thing / And I-I-I-I feel something so wrong by doing the right thing.”  Socialism revolves around making thieves and criminals feel they’re committing acts of charity and justice by breaking the natural laws of property rights and Live And Let Live.  “I could lie, could lie, could lie / Everything that kills me makes me feel alive.”  Socialists never feel more alive than when they are destroying the collective body of mankind, for the only salvation they can perceive lies in the destruction of the old and selfish institutions to pave the way for a progressive, utopian paradise.

As if the leftist undertones of their song weren’t already spelled out blatantly enough for the vigilant listener, OneRepublic injects a very sly Obama plug into the second verse: “I feel the love / And I feel it burn / Down this river every turn / HOPE is our four letter word / Make that money / Watch it burn.”  Nor can they resist alluding to a memorable scene in The Dark Knight wherein the Joker sets fire to a tower of dollar bills and sneers, “All you people care about is money.  This city deserves a better class of criminal…”  The bridge echoes the image of the Joker’s bonfire too vividly to ignore, chanting repeatedly, “Take that money, watch it burn / Sing in the river the lessons I learned.”  But whereas the scene in Christopher Nolan’s film was meant to powerfully illustrate the evil, chaos, and madness espoused by the Joker, the same scene is depicted in the song as a moment of triumph and moral growth for the speaker.

OneRepublic can take its money and watch it burn for all I care.  If not for the freedom and opportunity posed to them by laissez faire capitalism, they wouldn’t have acquired it in the first place.  It’s too late to apologize for this catastrophe, I’m afraid.


One of my dear friends worked on (and appears in) this video… I guess that makes him a socialist. ; )  And the synthy violin track in the background is totally fake.  Trust me, I know how a real one sounds.



As before, one of these reviews is a complete and, I think, utterly plain fraud; correctly point out the disingenuous piece and you may leave a suggested song or album for me to review in the next issue of this series.  Incorrectly point out the fake and there will be hell to pay, because gambling is a sin, or so someone tells me.  Keep in mind that I’m more liable to write about titles which have cool covers on the Youtube.  I shouldn’t have to explain what that really means.

Actually, that one notice brings me to another, which is to disclose that the next music post is going to have an indie/Youtube theme, so keep that also in mind when brainstorming future review topics.  I’ll probably take any recommendations into consideration by this game’s winners, but if you ask me to review something by a mainstream, chart-topping artist with a recording contract, then you may have to wait a while to see my response.

5 comments:

  1. Let me just say, you are soo cute when you start calling random people and things socialist! I honestly wish I could hug you right now, but I can only transmit digital affection through this medium.

    OOOx(little peck)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Uh, thanks, um, Lindsey. I think. I really appreciate a little digital affection here and there (from the right people).

    I really should say more to you in gratitude, but I'm a little busy at the moment finalizing an essay on Socialist Howard Schultz and Socialist Starbucks.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think your review of Green Day is the fake one. Green Day has been promoting environmental awareness for all of their career. I went to one of their concerts a few years back and it was just so inspiring. They really genuinely care about the Earth. As Christians it is our duty to be good stewarts of the earth, and take care of it and all of God's creations. We also need to care about our country. Without a government to take care of us how are we going to protect the Earth? We need a cooperative effort between man and government to save our planet. Why would someone berate them for trying to save it? Green Day works towards a greater understanding between the citizens and their government, resulting in more awareness for the Earth.
    As my suggestion, I still think your hold review Overboard, or one of Manafests other songs. Actually… any song on the Air1 or Fish playlist would do. I especially like Skillet's and 1GirlNation's songs. I don't know if you'll end up reviewing them, because you didn't do my last suggestion. And since you wanted to do youtube people. Maybe you could do those robot people who do Green Day covers in that video you put up. What are they called?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mysterious, in case you weren't aware, and I doubt you were, the challenge is to point out which review I think is wrong, not which you think is wrong. If we're playing Socialist Apples to Apples, then I'm the judge and you have to play a card that I think is fake.

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  5. So now I'm supposed to think these faceless, French cyborgs made the best song/album of the year? HA, laaaaaaaame. Just when you believe the Grammys couldn't lose even more credibility...

    ReplyDelete

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