Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Make 'Em Laugh

The seriousness of pop and rock is something that needs to be punctured. Not only should music be fun, it should rarely take itself so seriously as to be unafraid to laugh at itself. Fee Waybill's parody of David Bowie/Gary Glitter looks an awful lot like Marilyn Manson, who no one would ever accuse of taking himself lightly.

George Clinton managed simultaneously to create some of the best funk, take tremendous amounts of drugs, and produce stage shows so over-the-top that everyone involved knew his acid-flaked tongue was firmly in his cheek.

While Barenaked Ladies have managed to have some fun, the groups that consistently employ a sense of humor in their music are few and far-between. While punk in Britain was popular in part because it seemed to puncture the pretentiousness of the huge supergroups then dominating radio - Led Zepelin, Pink Floyd, Yes - they did it with a self-conscious seriousness that is surprising (except for the Sex Pistols, who had John Lydon out front; he was angry, and wanted to be heard, but he also, at least at first, seemed to be having fun). It would be nice if there were more performers out there who had the kind of humor and sense of playfulness that could create the following anti-love-song. God rest Frank Zappa's soul.

Down to business, what do you say?
Waiting Phase Two - Porcupine Tree
Sparks of the Tempest - Kansas
Mein Teil (Live) - Rammstein
Un Da Sie Ihn Verspottet Hatten (St. Matthews Passion) - Johann Sebastian Bach
Undertow - David Hentschel (Genesis Tribute album)
Prelude - Tangent
Where Did Our Love Go - The Supremes
Help Me - Joni Mitchell
To Say Goodbye, Part II: On Our Way - Ice Age
Leftovers - Sieges Even

The little-known German band Sieges Even deserves a wider audience. I fell in love with their Learning to Navigate by the Stars release, and just love their sound.

Virtual Tin Cup

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