i don’t like a whole lot of current popular music. anyone who knows me even a little bit probably knows this. i think just about everything that gets played on commercial radio and music-themed TV stations today is insipid, unmusical, generic, pathetic drivel.
i have nothing against anyone who feels differently. that’s just my opinion. it does nothing for me. actually, it does something to me: it makes me angry if i spend any amount of time thinking about how the vast majority of people just lap up this bullshit like starving animals.
still, i am cursed with a strange musical memory that latches onto just about every piece of anything musical i’m exposed to, whether it’s good or not. play me random songs by popular artists, and even though i don’t listen to them, i can probably tell you who most of them are after only hearing a short snippet of a song. i don’t know why this is. it just is.
generally i just try to avoid that which causes me to grow more profane than i already am, and that’s that. but then i heard something that changed my life. you see, sean kingston has just released an album on which he gets personal. he’s not just lifting the music from “stand by me” completely unaltered and singing some horrible shit over it anymore. he’s going deeper.
in one song he sings:
sayin’ that i’d look better if i was thinner
don’t you know you should have loved me for my inner?
seriously. it makes me want to rip my small intestine out and eat it. that’s an insult to music. it’s an insult to my brain. it’s an insult to the written word. hell, it’s an insult to the universe. even the auto-tuned garbage that allows such “artists” who can’t actually sing to make a living takes a back seat to lyrical brilliance like that.
if i hadn’t said to hell with trying to build an audience and achieve any kind of success in the music industry long ago, this sort of thing would work me up into a lather and you’d be reading a furious diatribe somewhere between five and ten thousand words long. i wrote something like that maybe six years ago and emailed it to george stroumboulopoulos, just for something to do. i have no idea why i did that, or how i ever thought i might get a response to what amounted to little more than a cross between an unsolicited rant and an essay that swallowed itself in a sea of its own bitterness.
not that george cared. why would he? i’m nobody.
i know now that there’s no point in fighting battles that can’t be won and screaming into a void. so instead, here’s some psychotic john cale live footage from the early 1980s to combat the musical abomination that is sean kingston, and all those like him. master cale was a huge influence on me back in my angry young days, and for my money had (and still has) one of the best blood-curdling screams in music. and as for his version of “heartbreak hotel”…that’s how you cover a song and make it your own.
some of the songs are followed by full-band performances from a year later, but i think the solo versions trump them all.