|Derek, I can sympathize with your disdain at those who claim that punk music had originality and innovation. In the immortal words of Johnny Rotten: "Do you get the feeling that you've just been cheated?" And I've argued that when rock musicians especially, but any musician really, aspires to something more, the cry of "too good" is hurled as an insult. Slacker generation, indeed.|
All this has been hashed out time and time again on SOLO. But what caught my attention in your piece was the ending, where you quote Cameron Pritchard (where's he been, anyway?):
"At the latter, we again see masses of braindead people gathering to switch off their minds and replace thought with a primal, group "instinct" as they raise their right arms to salute the Fuhrer. I think the parallels are not surprising. Both Nazism and most modern music are anti-thought. The worry is that my generation’s excuse for music will deliver it into the hands of another Hitler in the future."
No better example of this is Pink Floyd's THE WALL, where "Pink" takes on a Nazi facade. The story being based on Roger Water's growing alienation from the audience, who refused to listen to the message and instead acted like mindless sheep at the concerts. The movie, for those who are unfamiliar, visualizes this in a grand Nazi like rally, with Pink as dictator, marching hammers for swastikas, and the audience marching in unison, raising their hands in hammer formation, and morphing into good little sheep, even as they themselves are subject to Pink's tyranny ("are there any queers in the theater tonight? Get them up against the wall!"). Waters was certainly aware of the thought behind Cameron's fear of music having the power to deliver a generation into the hands of another Hitler! And I point out the irony of Water's abandoning the rock format in favor of traditional opera in my review of the recently released
CA IRA , which translates into "There is Hope." (To be fair, his solo "rock" albums have the seeds of this project, but even there, the hopeful songs are not "rock".
Reflecting on this, though, Waters, too, pointed out the masochistic aspect of rock concerts (especially the trampling of others in order to be in the presence of "the gods". But it's not just "caterwauling" rock that's been used for propaganda purpose, but the common denominator is a steady beat, usually major chords, (or in the case of rock, "power chords" (fifths without major or minors), but more emphasis on a hypnotic rhythm as opposed to a seriously developed melody, and never a minor key, which is believed to encourage thought...that's why when people get drunk to forget their troubles, they put a "happy song" on the jukebox, since the slow, less rhythmic minor keys usually remind them of their troubles. A piece can be harmonically consonant yet still be mob entrancing with the right repetitive rhythm.
(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 11/12, 1:55am)