Thursday, October 19, 2006

My Chemical Romance

You ever get one of those moments when...?

Okay, a couple of weeks back, this comment was made about me by someone who doesn't know me:

I think youre one of those guys that likes the original no matter what, so people will think youre "old school" or something along those lines. You liked it before it was famous. I bet you'll stop listening to music if a lot of people like it dont you?

My own response was that most art is better before the artist becomes too successful, and so, yes, I do tend to go off artists once they get big, saying something about how they were better before they were big (which isn't necessarily the same as selling out).

I came to the My Chemical Romance party a little late in the day myself. Wife and I saw the video for "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" at about the time it was released, and she quickly bought the album, which was the band's second one. I listened to it more than she did, though, and so she gifted me the debut album a few months later, which at that time was not easy to find, because I guess it had been pressed in fairly limited numbers.

Since that time -- probably the best part of a couple of years ago now -- MCR have become pretty bloody huge. So huge, in fact, and this may surprise some US readers, that their current single "Welcome to the Black Parade" is at No.1 in the UK singles chart. Click the header to check out the promo vid over at Wife's blog.

Last week I spoke to my brother. My brother likes some really bad music. He likes Jason Mraz, for fuck's sake, and KT Tunstall (Cuntie Ton o' Stool, as I like to call her), and Sting, and probably James Blunt and all that faux singer/songwriter shit produced by fakers for the masses. He told me how much he liked the new My Chemical Romance track. I could have died. I could have burned my CDs right there and then. But I rose above, clinging on to the hope that he will forget all about them in a few weeks. Let's hope.

But this sort of thing always reminds me of that line in the Adam & The Ants track "Don't Be Square (Be There)": You may not like us now, but you will.

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Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

if you need to, think of it this way... just because your brother with the bad music taste likes mcr doesn't mean mcr are any less great... it just means they're SO GREAT that even those with really horrible taste in music can't help but jump on board

it's why i'm not backing down on my love for iron & wine... they're starting to get bigger... but i think it's just because they're THAT good :)

19 October, 2006 19:30  
Blogger The_'Real'_Batman said...

Example of big artist selling out: Bob Dylan.

Saying that all new albums are bad, advertising products, even being a radio DJ... he does seem bloated on his own self-importance. Which, though understandable, is a shame

19 October, 2006 20:51  
Blogger Aidan said...

The lovely K T deserves much, much better than to be discarded among such company. Honest.

Think I've managed somehow to avoid hearing (though not reading about) My Chemical Romance. I've given up on the music radio stations for the main part, I pick and choose as the mood (and, I suppose, bits of the meedja) take me... Are they as gloomy as the deathly-dull Evanescence, who dominated my thin-walled-neighbours' playlist for a few years, a few years ago...

20 October, 2006 00:49  
Blogger _z. said...

reading your post, I was introduced to a whole new repertoire of music. I checkd them out, and I really liked what I heard. I don't mean to ruin your buzz... don't go throwing the CDs, but I mean that's good music.
you may have the talent of picking up potential and good tunes before a lot of others... and it is only normal that at an ulterior date, they will like what you discovered before them. You shouldn't get mad, you should feel flattered...

or is that too much B.S. out of me.

20 October, 2006 03:42  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

What zed said.

I think you are just someone who is out there and exposing MUSIC! and of course by the tie others hear it, you've probably been listening to it without the communal experience and maybe even had to justify some of your tastes because you are a renengade.

It's hard out here for a pimp! And you are always exploring...alone through cold weather...alone ..withut well you get the drift.

Good morning I am up early because I haven't been to bed!

20 October, 2006 07:38  
Anonymous the cappuccino kid. said...

the music is not to my taste so i won't comment as that would be unfair. but what really pisses me off, more so that the throng of students are back and in my place of work, is that they walk around looking like Siouxsie and the Banshee cast-offs, yet assuming they are original!
didn't someone once work out that brand new trends come in seven year cycles? surely we are due a new one. instead of re-hashing everything thats gone before?

20 October, 2006 10:10  
Blogger Sheamus the... said...

In a similiar vein I have alot of books that I love such as I am Legend, Martian Tales Trilogy, etc.
Then all of the sudden they start getting turned into movies and such and now everybody looks at the old book shelf and refers to the movie and not the book. Most of the time the movie is nothing like the book. The book becomes forgotten and the movie remains as pop culture.

Bob Dylan was asked when he was younger what he would sell out to. He said a room full of women in their underwear. Many years later he does a Victoria's Secret commercial. Throw the first stone my friend.

20 October, 2006 20:00  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

i realize you, *, didn't say anything on the topic... but i'm going to comment on this nonetheless.

i love bob dylan... and i don't think he's a "sell out" because he's forever himself. he never asked to be what the world made him... and if you watch interviews with him done throughout his life, he's never seemed to care what you or i or anyone else think(s).

he just does what he loves and lives to the beat of his own tambourine.

20 October, 2006 20:59  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Martha 1: That's true. But if they were off his radar for so long, and now suddenly they're not, perhaps their style has changed to bring them to that new place. I'm not saying I think that (yet; I'll reserve judgment until I hear the new album, but based on the single, I don't think they've changed), but it is a potentially viable situation.

Batman 1: I really don't know enough about Dylan to judge, but I know he went thru a bit of lean period, creatively, for many years, and now he is apparently back on form.

Aidan: To my ear, KT is among the worst, I'm afraid. No offence to you, like, but I find her embarrassingly twee, and I didn't like how aggressive she was towards her guitar tech when I saw a clip of her playing live on TV. I don't listen to any radio, but I do watch music-TV channels. And no, MCR are nothing like Evanescence.

_z.: To some extent, the picking up of talent that you mention is all down to Red. She has a good ear and the patience to watch music TV for longer stretches than I. (I have the same capacity for films; I'll watch any old shit, but she won't). Truthfully, I'm glad if people pick up some new music from my blog, but my brother and my dad and I have had such massive heated arguments/debates about music for decades, that when one of them comes around to "my" music, instead of feeling flattered, I'm concerned that "my" artist must have changed. Music is asolutely at the heart of my family. We are all passionate about what music we like and dislike, and we still argue about it every time we all get together. People get scared and leave the room, it's that bad.

21 October, 2006 07:53  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Candy: You always put such a positive spin on stuff, wow. You make me sund like some kind of über A&R man, just as _z. did. (But it was Red who introduced me to MCR and many other cool acts, including Bright Eyes and Elliott Smith.) There is something cool, though, about knowing you're loving an artist that most people you meet on an everyday basis has never heard or even heard of. You feel like you're part of some kind of secret club. And while you want your fave band to be successful, you don't want some of the other shit that goes with that. Case in point: when I first started watching the Manic Street Preachers, you could still buy tickets on the door for some gigs. You could wander right up to the stage and swing your arms without hitting anyone else (not that I did; that would be insane; but you could, theoretically). Within five years they were playing the Royal Albert Hall, people were holding lightters aloft during their set (yuk), and the audience included several celebrities. All of that for me was a real turn off (yes, I was there, still).

21 October, 2006 08:01  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Cappy: Aww, that's very noble of you ;-) You know, you an I have certain artists in common and we are about the same age, but undoubtedly there will be acts that you don't like of mine, and vice versa. That's human and normal. I agree with you about the yoots. People don't know their history these days. When I see people in the music industry being interviewed on TV and they've never heard of a certain artist -- it almost doesn't even matter if that artist is in a different genre -- it fucks me right off. They should know who and what has been before. It's their fucking job and they get paid shitloads, so I think they should know their history. I sort of think the same thing of the kids you mention, but I think punks, goths, etc -- i.e., people who like real music played on real instruments -- are less afflicted by this ignorance. Do you know that they think they're being original? Some know them undoubtedly know that they are simply part of a long tradition. And that gives me faith in humankind, and music-kind.

21 October, 2006 08:07  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Sheamus the...: yeah, that can happen a lot when books are turned into films. The great thing, though, is that sometimes it can really bring to light an author who deserved more attention when s/he was alive. Look at Phillip K Dick, for example. But don't you hate the movie-tie-in covers that they put on novels, with pictures of the stars of the film? Ewww. Love the Dylan story. I think it must be really hard not to sell out when the right offer comes along.

Martha 2: That's cool, Martha. Like I say, I really don't know much about Dylan. I like a lot of his very early stuff, but beyond that it's all a blur. If he has sold out, he's done it because he wanted to, I'm sure; he doesn't seem like the sort who would bow to pressure from outsiders. And then, if someone is only doing what they want to do, for whatever reason, can that ever be seen as selling out? I think perhaps not.

21 October, 2006 08:12  
Blogger Gardenia said...

Glory in who you are! I'm with you, I don't like the "popular" necessarily - why live life like everyone else?

21 October, 2006 17:23  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Quite right, Diana. We gotta be true to ourselves.

22 October, 2006 09:37  
Anonymous the cappuccino kid. said...

okay. i can go with that.
i think it's just my allergy to students kicking in.

23 October, 2006 00:49  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

i think you and red would find dylan fascinating... i definitely recommend scorsese's documentary no direction home and another called don't look back

and his autobiography, chronicles is good, too...

anyway, up to you... but i really think you guys would enjoy learning more about him... he's awesome... truly one of the greatest poet/songwriters of all time

23 October, 2006 21:00  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Cappy: That's cool!

Martha: I watched some of No Direction Home when it was on TV over here, and I really liked what I saw. He's certainly a hugely important figure in popular culture and has no doubt had a fascinating life.

24 October, 2006 14:12  

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