Monday, 21 December 2009

A Truimph For Mankind

Last night saw history being made, with the X-Factor being pretty much booted off their 4 year long Christmas number 1 throne. Rage Against The Machine's classic protest epic Killing In The Name was used as the vehicle of a Facebook group encouraging users to download the song to compete against the predictable victory of X-Factor geordie lad Joe McEldery. Killing In The Name has been carved into time as the largest selling one week digital download in history (Over 500,000 sold) and first Christmas Number 1 to reach the top spot through download only. Incidentally, it's victory was spawned by the only useful Facebook group on the planet.

Seeing Rage's victory over the X-Factor doesn't just make for an awesome Christmas Number 1, but it also stands as a triumph for mankind in general. Proof that not every person in England is as bland and herded to purchase what Simon Cowell tells them to. The X-Factor is everywhere, with it's winners, previous contestants and judges all with songs in the charts. Cheryl Cole, Alexandra Burke, Leona Lewis and JLS all link the X-Factor into the British public's earholes via the charts as we speak.

Almost all of these TV pop contest winners have never got further than one hit wonder status, and those that have survived their initial 15 minutes of fame continue to provide filler for Radio 1's singles countdown. There's no passion brought forth, no emotion, no BALLS! On the other hand, after nearly 18 years, Killing In The Name hasn't lost any of the raw power that made it such a phenomenon in the first place.

The success of this campaign shows that we can still get great music in the charts amongst all the bile. But why stop at Rage Against The Machine? Let's continue to buy music that actually means something, and put The X-Factor's generic, assembly-line horseshit to bed.

Friday, 11 December 2009

The Vocal-tuned Slutbucket

2009 has been an interesting year for music. We've seen familiar faces from the underground such as The Dear Hunter, HORSE The Band, Every Time I Die, NOFX, Psychostick and many more releasing terrific new material unto a world that doesn't care, as they're too busy watching mainstream pop music crash and burn with very few survivors crawling from the wreckage.

It would be so easy to pick on every popstar I've resented this year, whether it's the vocal-tuned slutbucket Ke$ha, the swaggering, ear-aching wall of Na-Na-Naiis that Dappy from N-Dubz has spewed out, or the physically sickening Jonas Brothers. All that aside, nobody takes the cake for most sickening band of the year than The Jonas Brothers, but I've blogged about them already so I'm going to hurl some shit at The Black Eyed Peas instead.

Aside from getting their management to punch Perez Hilton in the face, the Black Eyed Peas haven't really made much of a positive impact on the world this year. Yet again, for the best part of the 21st Century, they haven't released almost anything worth listening to. Back in the late nineties, Black Eyed Peas only consisted of 3 members, those being Will.I.Am (A name I refuse to pronounce the same way he spells it),, and Taboo. About a decade ago they were making what some people would like to call 'Real Hip-Hop music.' Their work didn't sound to dissimilar to what Jurassic 5 were releasing at the time, production-wise. It was sample heavy, but mainly from old jazz and lounge music records rather than the stolen Dick Dale riff used in 2003's 'Pump It.' Their debut Behind The Front holds it's place among my favourite hip-hop albums. They brought a certain innocense back to the rap genre, the same light-spirited high-jinx that wouldn't look out of place on an old De La Soul or Tribe Called Quest LP.

The opening track's lyrics state "I see you try to dis our function, by stating we can't rap, is it 'cause we don't wear Tommy Hilfiger or baseball caps? We don't use dollars to represent, we use our inner sense and talent."

Does that sound at all like The Black Eyed Peas we know today? A pop quartet dressed almost entirely in designer gear with a massive sense of their own self-importance.

In 2003 they incorporated Fergie, an hour-glass shaped, duck-faced woman who looked like an alien invader from the planet Formica. They immediately dumbed down their music and lyrical attack for the masses, releasing overly patronising wannabe-political powerhouse 'Where Is The Love?' among other songs that in no way ironically depicted their target audience (*cough* 'Let's Get Retarded' *cough*). Their second album got even worse. Their second full-length release with Daffy Duck included 'My Humps'. Probably the most embarrasing performances by any hip-hop artist since Dee Dee Ramone, and the musical equivalent of an American Pie movie (Not the good ones but the others). Listening to that song is probably more annoying than being beaten over the head with a crying child, and can immediately drop your IQ by simply listening to it.

Now onto this year and the Peas return with a relentlessly stupid pile of electroshit titled 'Boom Boom Pow'. A song that's literally about nothing. Absolutely nothing. The group's voices have been synthesized to the point of sounding like Daleks, especially Fergie. The song was so incredibly horrific, a lot of people were confused by it's horridness and started enjoying it instead, sending it to No. 1 in the charts. Indisputable evidence that pop music turns people into fucking idiots. The same with 'I Gotta Feeling,' a song that doesn't even sound like a song. More like a list of phrases written over a period of about 5 minutes, by a group of cretins that use the word 'Party' as a verb. Most of these phrases are repeated a ridiculous amount of times. 'Tonights gonna be a good night' reoccurs an unimaginable 21 times, implanting itself into your brain like a fucking horrible tumor. It doesn't help that the majority of the populus carries it around on pocket-sized electronics either.

The Black Eyed Peas aren't making music for the people anymore. They've lost their ability to rap, they wear Tommy Hilfiger and baseball caps. They use dollars to represent, without inner sense or talent. It's music made for the lucrative ringtone market. It's music made for brainless idiots in the sickening dance clubs. It's music for the fucking stupid masses.

It's charmless. That's all I'm trying to say, which is unfortunate because music never used to be short of charm.