Whatever Happened to My Rock N’ Roll?

It may be flogging a dead horse to point out that the music industry has gone all to hell over the past wee while but if post-mortem equine flagellation is what is required to make a positive change then Phar Lap and Red Rum need to watch their step in horsey heaven because it’s whipping time…

Reining in on the horse related puns… It does seem that the music industry needs to have a good sit down in a darkened room and have a quiet word with itself. It’s hard to remember a time when the radio has been so painfully difficult to listen to and popular music been so laughably bad.

A coke can for Mr. Derulo as he clearly always forgets his name. (SOURCE: Eva Rinaldi's Flickr photostream)

A coke can for Mr. Derulo as he clearly always forgets his name. (SOURCE: Eva Rinaldi’s Flickr photostream)

Messrs Guetta and Derulo seemingly engaged in some kind of battle for the already blanched souls of the world’s youth. What’s worse is they love it. They really love it. Try and point out that it’s unmitigated shite without any redeeming features, that it’s musically immature, emotionally stunted and sexist to the point of being insulting to the collective intelligence of every woman in the world (take a bow Derulo and Thicke). If you were to point out these unassailable truths, you would be met with derision for being too old to understand and probably you would be called a dick.

 And that’s fair enough. I called by own father a dick when he likened Radiohead to the sound of “a fella being drowned in a river in the fog” and said he “wouldn’t open the back window if they were singing in the yard” in relation to Jurassic 5. The difference is that he was wrong and we on this occasion are right. It’s piss poor music for people who don’t really like music.

You may well point out at this stage that the singles chart has always been insufferable bollocks chosen by the pre-pubescent and the lonely and… yeah, it has but it used to be a battleground. Where there was “Blue Da Ba Dee Daba Da” there was Blur and where there was Crazy Frog there was Belle and Sebastian. Recently it seems the war is has been lost. Top to bottom, song after song with no heart.

Please don’t feel I’m focusing unfairly on the boys. The women are letting the side down just as badly. Forget Regina Spektor and Karen O. Step forward Perry, Minaj, Swift and She Who Must Not Be Named… Ke$ha. These lot make Spears, Aguilera and ol’ humble tits herself Shakira look like excellent role models for youngsters the world over.

It’s Cowell and his ilk. That merry band of music killing morons determined to suck the last dying breath from an already choking music industry. If we allow the musical gene pool to become so stagnant that Simon Cowell is everyone’s daddy then the end result is a music industry born of incest.

Think of One Direction and their compatriots as sperm swimming away up the musical fallopian tube. Not our fastest swimmers I think you’ll agree. So One Direction (living up to their name in fairness), arrive at the egg which bears a striking resemblance to Danni Minogue who smiles beatifically down at tiny Harry Styles (she is 85,000 times bigger than him after all). He wiggles in and as they say, Robert’s your mother’s brother. Now repeat the process again and again and therein lies the problem. Lots of musical halfwits releasing songs with cunning titles like Best Song Ever, kicking their arms and legs at the same time on the musical swings and hobbling around and around the musical chairs.

I suspect many people out there would blame the internet for the decay of the once vibrant music industry and not many would object to that assessment. Radiohead’s Thom Yorke for example, described Spotify as, “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse.”

It’s hard to disagree with him when it would seem that a great (great) many of us have completely given up on paying for any music at all. A point aptly demonstrated when Radiohead’s In Rainbows was released and fans allowed to pay whatever they chose. The end result was 62 per cent of us decided that what we wanted to pay was nothing. And bearing in mind that was in 2007… I don’t think that percentage would change for the better today.

The result seems to be that to succeed you’re better off appealing to the majority. And considering the meteoric rise of Bieber and Swift I’ll just hold off on putting my faith in the wisdom of crowds.

There are of course more holes in my argument than in the rationale of a pro-gun lobbyist  and there are of course amazing musicians and bands coming out all the time, like The Tallest Man on Earth, The Milk Carton Kids and Cosmo Jarvis just to name a few (pardon the plug), but I think the point I’m making so badly is that for once wouldn’t it be nice if the biggest band in the world was the best band in the world?

– by James Andrews

To Bieb or not to Bieb, that is the question

We’ve all heard about it over the last few days and rolled our eyes.

Justin Bieber has once again proved to the world why he currently holds the title for World’s Biggest Douchebag – and that’s coming from a self professed Belieber.

Despite the big love I hold for the little cutie, I have to say that he’s not doing much to uphold his reputation at the moment (unless of course you know him for the bad he’s done and not his talent, in which case he’s upholding that reputation to perfection), what with his ‘retiring’ from music so he can drink, drive, drink AND drive, and get high as a kite on Mother Nature’s prohibited greenery. The last thing this kid needed was another headline.

Even with all his sick tatts, is he even that cool? (SOURCE: Justin Bieber's Shots page)

Even with all his sick tatts, is he even that cool? (SOURCE: Justin Bieber’s Shots page)

From the very first time I heard Bieber sing I have vouched for his talent, but I will not tolerate his light hearted attitude towards the law, and neither will the world. As if it wasn’t enough that he spent his time in Australia tagging hotels and went home to add driving under the influence to his résumé, Bieber has now found himself in the spotlight for a racial slur – by which I mean a ridiculous joke told by a child to a girl to impress her.

Whilst I do not condone his behaviour of late, or his appreciation of racial based jokes, I have to admit that the whole situation has been blown a little out of proportion. To top it off, further footage was then leaked showing Bieber warming up his vocals to a song he sings, bleeping out the lyrics and replacing them with derogatory references to a particular community. Granted that Bieber was just a sweet little girl in these two videos, you would think he would know better, but I pose the question; should he really have known better? Do grown adults today not still promote the very behaviour that Bieber has exhibited in these two videos?

There is no doubt that he could have better taste in jokes, but quite frankly the situation is ridiculous. Do we not have more pressing issues to bring to the worlds attention? Surely the world hasn’t become so pathetic that we find the need to fill our news hour with the plights of fallen Hollywood stars whose stints on the red carpet are now nothing but a distant memory.

Look around Bieber, do your research. If he was as racist a person as these videos make him out to be, do you not think the likes of Usher and Kenny Hamilton (Bieber’s head of security) would have brought him back down to earth? Reality check people, there’s more to life than what you see on your television.

What you ask is the moral to this story? Haters gonna hate.

– by Melissa Tonitto

I Look So Perfect In My Own Underwear, Thanks

If you don’t get the 5 Seconds of Summer reference, you are forgiven.

5 Seconds of Summer is an Australian punky pop band from Sydney (reprazent!) who have released the annoyingly catchy She Looks So Perfect song. If it interests you, they have also been the opening act for artists such as Hot Chelle Rae and One Direction.

Boy bands will never die apparently. (SOURCE: Melissa Rose's Flickr photostream.)

Boy bands will never die apparently. (SOURCE: Melissa Rose’s Flickr photostream)

Back to their annoyingly catchy song, I’m going to put it out there that I genuinely like the song – which will come as a shock to those who know me as the country-lovin’ bogan that I am. In saying that, the lyrics to this teeny bopper song are… questionable to say the least.

For instance, the most recognisable line from this song reads: “You look so perfect standing there in my American Apparel underwear.” It rhymes. It’s cute. It makes teen girls everywhere flock to their nearest American Apparel store to buy mens underwear and rock them for that extra confidence boost. Because if one of the blokes sees them wearing mens AA undies, they’re so in!

Okay, now that’s done… rewind. These guys are singing about a girl wearing her boyfriend’s underwear looking like Grace Kelly or something. Let that sink in while I repeat myself… a girl wearing her boyfriend’s underwear. I get how it may be perceived as cute if the girl was wearing her boyfriend’s shirt or beanie or blazer, but his underwear? The hygiene police would have a riot over this. Who knows what that bloke’s done in those American Apparel underwears she’s wearing? Let’s not forget that, unless the bloke is rake thin and/or the girl’s a larger woman, they would be sagging around her girl bits looking like a diaper because she can’t fill it out properly. I don’t personally understand what is sexy about a chick wearing her boyfriend’s saggy underwear to be honest. That may just be me, but who knows.

The boys continue to sing “Your lipstick stain is a work of art”. Do I want to know where that lipstick stain is? Unless I just have a dirty mind and need my mouth to be washed out with soap, that could be very cute. A bit full on for the young teeny bopper age group, but cute nevertheless.

However, they rhyme that line with  “I got your name tattooed in an arrow heart”. Not even on my most hated enemy do I wish they get a loved one’s name tattooed on them (excluding family members and/or pets). I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that the members of the band are all under the age of 21. What would possess a 21-year-old to get a girlfriend’s name tattooed on them? What would possess anyone to get a lover’s named tattooed on them? This might sound hypocritical, but I don’t judge anyone on their life choices; if you want to cross dress and live with dolphins, be my guest. But the idea of getting a lover’s name tattoo is just tacky and it doesn’t seem to be practical because the harsh reality is there is every chance of that person packing up and walking out on you. And you have to live with that permanent reminder on you forever. So for these guys to be shouting it from the heavens to impressionable teenage girls just seems a little far fetched to me.

“If I showed up with a plane ticket and a shiny diamond ring with your name on it, would you wanna run away too?” It’s as if these guys moulded their song off Travis and Abby’s relationship from the Beautiful Disaster series. Except their story isn’t cute and full of fuzzy wuzzies; it’s just ridiculous.

I get that the song is just taking after that traditional boy band pop song mould of singing about a beautiful girl and making it annoyingly catchy, but come on – there have got to be better ways to write these songs. Because I’m still not convinced that a girl who doesn’t know she’s beautiful would flip her hair to the extent that it gets guys “overwhelmed”.

– by Noah La’ulu

Confessions of a Thefthead

More specifically, should I say, confessions of a fangirling Thefthead.

On Saturday March 15 2014, I had the ultimate privilege of attending my second CMC Rocks the Hunter country music festival. Because of education engagements on Friday and work responsibilities on Sunday, I was only able to attend the three-day music festival on Saturday. That was completely fine by me. Why? Because my idols, Love and Theft, were performing on Saturday. Sure, country music greats like Gretchen Wilson were performing on Saturday as well, but I was no where near as excited for her as I was for Love and Theft.

Stephen and Eric, in the flesh.

Stephen and Eric, in the flesh.

I can’t even remember when my fandom for Love and Theft even started. I just remember one moment I was Youtubing some of their stuff and listening to it, and the next, I had both of their albums (two copies of one) and a custom Love and Theft iPhone case. My friends can tell you that they are tired of seeing me gram pictures of Eric and Stephen (the men who comprise this awesome musical duo) instead of actual Instagram things, like pictures of what I had to eat that day, or awkward full length mirror selfies of my OOTD.

Love and Theft were scheduled to perform at last year’s CMC Rocks the Hunter, but due to circumstances – Eric’s gorgeous son Camden William Gunderson came a bit early – they were unable to play. I had bought them presents to give to them at the festival so this was a big blow to me. However, when you’re a Thefthead, where there’s a will, there’s a way. I posted to every LNT social media outlet I could until I found out their PO box, so I shipped their presents to them with a handwritten letter with one small request to let me know that they got their presents. What I got in return, however, was a picture of them with their gifts, holding my letter, and an e-mail saying that my package had made their day. When I saw this, I kid you not – I was running around the house, screaming and saying “OH MY GOD, NO THEY DIDN’T! OH MY GOD NO THEY DID NOT!”

The picture they sent me, with my letter in Stephen's hand.

The picture they sent me, with my letter in Stephen’s hand.

So, in 2014, this was my first time seeing them perform ever. Ever. I mean, like, ever. Needless to say, I was acting like a scared chook running for its life. With an extremely high pitched voice.

My best friend and I rocked up about a hour and a half before the boys were to perform. Why? Because I wanted to get a good spot at the front of the mosh and didn’t care how long I had to stand there for it. Fortunately for me, we got good spots at the front. The sun was blazing and I was in painted on jeans and cowboy boots, but I didn’t care. What was actually two hours later, the boys graced us with their presence. I screamed. I jumped. I waved. I screamed some more. I jumped some more.

My personalised autographed LNT merch.

My personalised autographed LNT merch.

All bias aside, Love and Theft were amazing. SIMPLY AMAZING. They were everything I ever expected them to be PLUS more. They sung several of their hit songs, a couple of covers, and interesting “duet” of sorts with Blackjack Billy, and Stephen even busted out a few Eminem lyrics to Lose Yourself – the latter of which can be found at this link. Excuse the shaking. I was a bit excited.

As I am familiar with how CMC Rocks works, I knew that right after their performance, they would be heading up to the CD tent to do a meet-and-greet and autograph signing. As soon as they had finished their set – which included running up and down past the gate slapping hands with the fans (me included, which provoked a “OMG I TOUCHED THEIR HANDS” comment) – my BFFL and I literally sprinted up the hill to the CD tent. We were still very far back in the line but it doesn’t matter. I was going to meet my idols for the very first time! Like last year, I bought Eric and Stephen a bag of presents. The catch? I left it in the car. In painted on jeans and cowboy boots, I sprinted to my car to pick up their presents and rush back to the line, and after all that cardio, we hadn’t moved in the line. It’ll be worth it, I thought to myself positively.

Two hours (LITERALLY) later in the line and I was at the front. CMC officials were coming around selling copies of their self-titled albums because they would only take a picture with you if you had official merch to sign, and I proudly boasted my three Love and Theft CDs from home. Bitches came prepared. I was at the front of the line. It was my turn. I literally felt as if I had to throw up because I was that excited. They turned around. I put on my best genuine smile and said “I bought presents for you guys.” Both Eric and Stephen responded with genuine gratitude and Stephen even hugged me. YES. STEPHEN BARKER LILES HUGGED ME. Stephen asked me what I bought them and I spat out a nervous rant on “how I didn’t want them to open it in front of me in case they didn’t like it and I saw their reactions and died.” Eric offered me a more reserved handshake and thanked me. Because of this, Stephen wanted to personalise my autographs for me so he asked my name. I replied with “Noah” whilst trying to remember how to stand up. I took my photo with them. Eric shook my hand again and both me thanked me for my gifts. We walked off so the people behind us could get their turn.

Serious contender for best day of my life.

Serious contender for best day of my life.

I was shaking. My best friend had to take the merch and my phone off me because I couldn’t hold it. I was literally shaking. “Oh my god, I just met Love and Theft. Oh my god, Stephen hugged me. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.” The teenage girl in me had risen.

In what was originally supposed to be a short memoir of sorts, has turned into a 1000+ word spiel. I don’t know, I guess it’s what happens when you are an ultimate fan. Or in my case, the no#1 Thefthead in Australia (and the world!)

Oh, and did I mention Eric commented on my Instagram picture thanking me for the gifts? You can only imagine my screaming reply.

– by Noah La’ulu