I’ve gone through many musical phases: years of my life where I’ve been singularly obsessed with one artist or artists, a single genre.
In college – specifically sophomore year – that phase was classic rock. Fall semester I was really into The Who. If you asked me how I was feeling, I was often tempted to answer, “a little like a dyin’ clown with a streak of Rin Tin Tin.”
While I am the first to admit that I am not the world’s biggest David Bowie fan (I like his music, I’m just not obsessive about it the way I am about other artists), I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge this cultural moment. What follows is a small roundup of links about the man, his music, and his impact. Overall this is just bizarre to me: Bowie always fashioned himself as a transcendent alien, so I never thought of him as someone who would be able to die.
David Bowie Dies at 69; Star Transcended Music, Art, and Fashion
David Bowie’s Fashion Legacy
David Bowie Allowed His Art to Deliver a Final Message
And because this is a female-focused blog, I would also like to include the following link as well. I don’t want to start a firestorm on the internet, but I feel that this aspect of David Bowie’s life is important to point out.
“So that’s what I’m going to try to do: try to get comfortable with the discomfort of the grey area. To understand that a glorious oddball can also be someone protected from consequence by his position in the world. To see genius and abuse not as reflections of monsters or angels, but simply things that people do. Real, complicated, screwed up things and people. To try to understand more about the why of it all, since all of it is part of our common humanity whether we like it or not. To acknowledge that I love and am inspired by so much music this man created, and that I’m going to be as saddened by his loss and transported by his music as I’m furious at what he did. And in that discomfort, working towards a culture where rich, white, extraordinarily talented men don’t get a licence to abuse with impunity.” (sic) (From “David Bowie was wonderful. He was also an abuser. How do we handle that?”)
Today’s post is all about guilty pleasure music – you know, the kind of music you’d never in a million years admit to listening to.
I was inspired by this Dave Grohl quote: “I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, like it. That’s what’s wrong with our generation: that residual punk rock guilt, like, “You’re not supposed to like that. That’s not fucking cool.” Don’t fucking think it’s not cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” It is cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic”! Why the fuck not? Fuck you! That’s who I am, goddamn it! That whole guilty pleasure thing is full of fucking shit.”
Ahem. Epithets aside, he’s onto something.
Today we’re examining the phenomenon of Tame Impala – specifically, their song “The Less I Know The Better.” It’s basically your art student friend’s sound. Spare, electronic beat accompanied by a wavering male voice.
The age-old gender divide – you know, men are from Mars, women are from Venus – shows up in music, too. In Matchbox 20’s “She’s So Mean,” Rob Thomas talks about this insane party girl that he’s in love with: “all you want is just to hold her but she don’t go for that.” Ultimately he dismisses her as “so mean” because she’s crazy and he can’t understand her behavior.
However, many female singers are taking the story of the “crazy ex” or the “crazy girlfriend” – or even just the “crazy woman” in general – and completely transforming it. Today’s post is about a singer who is doing just that: Bebe Rexha.
It seems like this is a recurring theme in indie music: you know, the girl who’s just so skinny and sad and broken that the singer has no choice but to write about it (instead of…helping her?) The Toast wrote about this a few years ago, but seeing as it’s a consistent issue, I felt like writing about it – specifically, as the trope occurs in “A Team” by Ed Sheeran.