Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Round and round

"Hypnotic rhythms". "Drone" also comes to mind. Why is modern music so based around the same thing repeated ad infinitum? I know, I know, groove, right? Feeling da ridim mon. But is everyone's attention span so short that they can't remember something unless it's repeated four hundred thousand times or is everyone who gives two quarters of a shite about music so stoned that they just want to get their brains lost in the same thing repeated for what feels like a quarter of a lifetime?

I'm not talking about songs with a groove that repeats slowly over time (45 seconds to a minute per rep) but songs where a four-to-ten second phrase is repeated throughout the whole goddamn thing! I mean thousands of rap songs, pop songs, and rock songs have fallen into this pattern, and I find it wholly unsatisfying. Songs should tell what feels like a story (not a literal story, that's why the Police blew ass) but an emotional one, through dynamics, changes, and pacing.

I mean a great example is comparing Alice in Chains "Hate to Feel" to Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused". Might as well call it the same riff. Same tempo. Completely different stories musically! Despite both about being stoned enough to enjoy four-to-ten second loops repeated forever.

I write this to bring attention to a personal bugbear of mine: the band Tool. What the fucking hell is it with these guys? I live in New England and work in a music store (that will remain nameless) and almost everyone there is dropping 1/8th to 1/4 of a weeks pay to see these guys next month. And they're the never-ending-loop champions. Hip-hop, R&B, pop, those loops are monotonous, but the songs only last four minutes. Tools songs are, like, nine. HOW ON EARTH DO PEOPLE LISTEN TO THIS CRAP FOR NINE MINUTES?

Sorry, I'll remember to drink more wine next time I post. A friend of mine said that he could see me dismissing Tool far more efficiently than I have here with the following phrase: "Tool. A band you can set your watch to." Now, I love that, and the fact that he attributes this to me as something I might say is a pretty good compliment, but it misses the issue here: Why is this band popular?

Any Tool fans out there with some ability to tell me what it is? To Shine a Light on this issue and explain why the New Pornographers can write a sublimely catchy song, with a transcendent tune, in three parts ("Sing me Spanish Techno", yeah the video is terrible but if you don't like the song you have no soul), while tool can play the same riff for ten minutes, with no counterpoint or much variation, and have an audience roughly six hundred times bigger? I mean, I don't even notice there's music playing when someone puts them on in the store! They're that hypnotic!

- If the music is dead, give it an autopsy and sell the video on ebay.


No comments:

Post a Comment