I remember being a kid, hanging out in my living room post-homework or Fraggle Rock episode and my parents would be flipping through channels and would inevitably end up on MTV. For those of you who have forgotten, MTV actually used to play videos....but that is a seriously moot point at this juncture. Vividly, I can recall the numerous colorful characters projecting from the TV set that looked completely wild. Duran Duran had immaculate headbands and eyeliner, Flock of Seagulls of course had the guy with the infamous hair swoop and Prince was just being Prince which was plenty wild in its own right. Much of it was incredibly campy and trendy but I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I didn't LOVE that music. Because I did and I always will no matter what anybody says. "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by Tears for Fears is still one of my favorite songs ever and I also enjoy Jay Z and Slayer tunes in equal measure. As Thom Yorke once seethed in "Creep," "I'm a weirdo."
That brings me to me to my next point. Although I'm way late, I just checked out Spin Magazine's Top 40 Albums of 2009. Now I'm not even going to get into my qualms with the list, what they got wrong, etc, etc. One thing I did notice however was the way alot of the bands (most of the bands actually) looked. In a word, most "it" bands these days look somewhat ridiculous. It's pretty bad when KISS (whose album "Sonic Boom" ranked #40 and yes, I like KISS so get over it) is one of the least goofy of the lot. Let me quickly interject that Lady Gaga and the like don't count (fair or not, who knows, that's just my opinion) because they are solo artists and I give them a pass because they have to go the extra mile to create a persona (and P.S., I like Lady Gaga too).
I'm not going to name names but this nerd chic thing is getting old (Although the automatic nullifier is bands wearing matching suits....never gets old). Trust me, I'm a big proponent of style in rock music; some of my favorites have been extremely visually arresting. Think David Bowie, The Clash, (the aforementioned) Prince, heck even Elvis Presley. Style was obviously important to them, but they seemed to get a pass in my book. It somehow felt genuine. Yet, many of these new-fangled bands look, in a word, foolish. Yes, musicians are a different breed and supposedly live on different planets where the fashion police are as understanding as Mother Teresa, but some of the new scenesters just overdo it. Then I realized that some of my favorite groups that I also think are putting out some of the most interesting music these days (some you may or may not have heard of) look kinda normal. Not necessarily polo-shirt and khaki's normal, but normal. These bands, to name a few are: The Walkmen, Spoon, The Black Keys, Alice In Chains (though typically hard rock normal which passes the test) and The Whigs.
Then again, I can't help wonder why I feel this way when I can easily recollect the days when all the cool bands wore make-up, had brick hard hair courtesy of Aqua Net, and wore shoulder pads, suspenders and/or pirate suits. Of course, I also very much loved Bruce Springsteen (normal), U2 (normal with possible point deductions for Bono's mullet and The Edge's neo-Braveheart shagfest) and Robert Palmer (normal but with a touch of the GQ factor which equals bonus points). So maybe I'm just an idiot. Or maybe I think this new breed is trying too hard to be like those over the top artists of the day (though their music is probably better, however unlikely, than the Duran Durans and ABCs of that long gone world). Maybe just maybe I'll come to feel the same way about the current lot of hip kids but I'm not making any promises. Could it be that if its too hip, you're too old? Either way, I can promise you that you'd have to hold a gun to my head to get me to squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans. Besides, I'm going for the Robert Palmer look.
If you enjoy my babbling nonsense then please check out my musings on Tiger Woods.