I catch a lot of hell for being so critical about new music. I think the argument that I'm not allowed to complain because I enjoy all kinds of music is ludicrous. [I don't listen to Ludacris ...] Usually the people that consider themselves music savvy have never picked up an instrument in their lives. Not to say that because I'm a musician, I automagically know about music, but I'd like to think I have a leg-up on those who scream at me with white-knuckled fists because I laugh at their proclamations about Fergie really being able to sing or Kings of Leon being "uber" original and life-changing ... both of these things are false and I'm here to tell you that just because it is catchy or tolerable or different, doesn't mean it's good.
As far as "pop" music goes ... absolutely, but in the realm of really good music, Fergie will be forgotten, believe me. And people will soon catch on to those Kings and they'll fade as well. Pop music doesn't really bother me. I love dance music, rap, bubblegum pop, etc. But I'm sure I won't be listening to that stuff forever ... truly good music can transcend a generation and hold tight to their impact on those who experience it. The most hyped band from last year was Florence + the Machine. I have to say, the idea of a female Trent Reznor [in regards to how she forms her music and records, that is] was pretty exciting. I read that she is a freaking trainwreck in real life and when I saw videos of her performing on stage, I have to admit that I first thought, well she better be good, because she acts like an ass-clown ... but, I wanted to give her a fair shot.
Let me first say that I enjoyed the album, I really did. I don't think I'll listen to it again all at once, though. There are times that Miss Flo simply caterwahls her way through a song, but I think that people will see that as part of her charm, rather than an inability to hit notes. Whichever is fine; there are tons of genius musicians that have difficulty with pitch, therefore creating an interesting and unique trademark to their voice that can't be duplicated. [Bowie, Morrissey, Cher, Trent Reznor, Jack White] Which is great, because there is a little bit of duplicating going on elsewhere. I can't listen to Kiss With a Fist ever again ... it just seems like such a White Stripes rip-off. So blatant! I am always fascinated when people get away with that [... do people really not see that Muse's Uprising is an insanely blatant rip-off of every Queens of the Stone Age song ever ... mixed with Blondie's Call Me! And the Eurasia song is so, so wrong. Brian May complimented them on that one, but I really think that he thought they won a "Write Your Own Queen Song" contest. Honestly ... I'm baffled. That album made my teeth hurt, I literally laughed out loud at Undisclosed Desires. Nothing wrong with paying tribute, of course, but there is a difference in showing your influences and glorified karaoke.] I really liked the Rabbit song and Cosmic Love really digs deep for emotional connection, which I definitely fell for.
My main, albeit involuntary goal, when I'm experiencing a new song, album, act, etc. is to find sincerity and talent while keeping in mind the context or genre in which it is produced. Whether that is in the technical aspect, in which Florence is damn impressive, or the quality of a voice when comparing it to live shows, [less impressive in her case] or the originality and style according to the effort as a whole. I encourage those young and old, musician or music lover who buy albums and keep themselves knee deep in the newest music not just to say "wow, catchy!" or "oh, man NME/Billboard/Rolling Stone/MTV/Hipster Doofus Weekly [that exists, right?] told me to like this! I must like this! If you really love music, dig a little deeper ... find out what you like and why and I'm sure you'll find that there will be a lot you could be missing out on. We live in a bandwagon culture ... which is why idiots like Katy Perry and Kesha [I refuse] are able to continue making money in the music business.
As usual, I won't apologize for being passionate. I love music and I think it is important to pass on that passion whenever possible. Music is a cyclical culture, based on ideas and efforts from the past, moving forward toward something new and exciting. This does not involve copycatting entire musical identities, but paying homage do those who have come before us rather than demanding greatness for mimicry. Plus five points if you read all of this ... and for the record; if you like Muse, I suggest you listen to Queens of the Stone Age's Songs for the Deaf and Queen's Sheer Heart Attack for a start.