Thursday, April 07, 2011

A Day Late

There are fewer indications that ours is a decadent, superficial society than the viral status of the fluff, vanity video, "Friday".

While one could say that the multitudes of parodies of this parody of music show a certain robust sense of balance, to me the simple fact that so many are both fulminating about it while simultaneously staring at it as one might a bad multi-car accident we are indulging in a kind death-bed scene, the final rattling breaths of an industry no longer certain it has anything to offer the world, believing, beyond all reason and without any evidence, that pandering to fourteen year old girls is the sole recourse to economic survival.

Happily, there are hundreds of musical acts out there who struggle gamely on, refusing to bend to the winds of their industrial handlers or otherwise compromise their visions for the possibility of suddenly mounting stadium tours in the summer. Content to follow their muse, aided by technology that can turn a sitting room in to a music studio, they write and record songs that appeal to them, a sure-fire way of appealing to discerning music fans everywhere. Even the most facile of these singer-songwriters - Iron & Wine, John Mayer, Norah Jones - have something of an auteur about their work, even if occasionally slipping in to nonsensical solipsism and the recording of minutiae at the expense of revelatory introspection. That our fading music industry refuses to hear their many virtues in favor of indulging and already indulged child, simultaneously providing fodder for critics both of this misguided young lady and the many insiders who shepherd her along is testimony to the deafness and stupidity of an industry that, once upon a time, allowed its favored acts to use illegal drugs in its offices, sat back and let musicians produce album after album of material that could not produce a hit single, and trusted in the discernment of the public to weed out the grain from the chaff.

Considering this year has already produced a singular musical achievement in Amos Lee's Mission Bell, the Rebecca Black phenomenon is even more ridiculous than it might otherwise be. Here, by way of contrast to the foregoing, is "Violin", a gut-wrenching plea for divine intervention by one who sounds lost and on the brink.

Because quality will out, here are ten different songs, randomly chosen by iTunes, with nary a fluffy filler among them.

Hier Lasst Mich Ruhn Die Letzte Stunde - Franz Schubert, Lazarus Oratorio
Burning Rope - Genesis
Lines in the Sand (Live) - Dream Theater
End of the World - Blackfield
It Is For You, But Not For Us (Live) - King Crimson
Bitter Suite - Marillion
Red House (Live at Woodstock) - Jimi Hendrix
How Come - Ray LaMontagne
Hope For Us - Shadow Gallery
Cesaro Summability - Tool

If there is any testimony to the possibility that quality defeats the quick buck, it is the on-going career of Tom Waits.

Virtual Tin Cup

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