Sometimes the greater music blogosphere and I have a difference of opinion.
As a writer of a music blog, I’ve often felt like there’s an unwritten expectation to pander to the tastes of the Pitchforks, the Stereogums, or Gorilla vs Bears of the world, instead of writing about what makes me feel good.
I want to be able to say “this is bad” without being concerned that the musician is going to sic their Twitter army on me.
I guess what I’m asking is this:
Why aren’t there more music CRITICS out there?
It’s like the entire music industry is asking bloggers to give them one big hand job.
And so, here are some female Buzzbands I Don’t “Get”.
Lana Del Rey – Desperate Housewives meets desperate songwriting
"This is me smiling."
The Twitter-verse has already ripped into this poor puffy-lipped crooner for her weak performance on SNL last night, so I’ll go easy on her about that. Nobody sounds good on live television.
I also don’t have a problem with the fact that she created an alter-ego to sell her music. Tons of musicians have done it. The problem I have is with her inability to create anything that excites or moves me. That, and the fact that she likes to perpetuate the mystique of growing up in a trailer park – when in reality, her dad is a domain-name millionaire. I’ve seen the photos from when she was still Lizzie Grant, and they’re just as yawn-inducing, except with fewer insipid flower bouquets.
Sometimes her voice sounds pleasant, dipping down to caramel-toned low notes (Video Games) before swooping up to Kate Bush-heights (Blue Jeans). Other times, I wonder if I’m listening to songs that were written by someone heavily dosed with Ambien. When I hear a Lana Del Rey song, I don’t get the same “woah, bro, check it out, super chill, deep ‘n’ inspiring, stoned hottie, Florence and the Machine” vibe that everyone else does. I get bored out of my freaking mind.
The only reason that I keep an eye on her is because I’m convinced that one of her lip injections is going to explode one day. That, and her nails terrify the fuck out of me. At any moment, I have to be prepared for her to reach through my computer screen and scratch my eyes out.
Grimes – Canada’s Favourite Kelpie
"Okay, Grimes, you can do it. The power button on your synth is marked ON. All you have to do is press play."
I first heard about this Grimes character when she opened for Lykke Li’s 2011 North American Tour. I thought it was pretty cool that this young Montreal unknown was opening for a substantial Swedish export. And then I watched a performance.
Make no mistake, Grimes does fit the bill for those interested in post-internet “DIY bedroom recordings”. But her live performances are simply underwhelming. Ladies, (Lana Del Rey, take note) you cannot simply rely on your looks to get you through a song.
I actually don’t have that much to say about Grimes, because listening to her music bores me. I appreciate that she’s trying hard to be artsy with her choppy black bangs and music videos that don’t make any sense. I understand that she doesn’t know how to play any real instruments, so she plays up her looks. And yeah, I get that she was probably subjected to too many Donna Summers recordings while in utero. But I certainly don’t have to buy into the hype. I don’t think my ears could stomach it.
Tickets for Grimes’s next show at Horseshoe Tavern are only eight dollars, so in this case, you’re getting exactly what you pay for.
Dum Dum Girls – The Poor Man’s Best Coast
"We're so alt, we're the alternative to alternative."
There’s a fine line between appreciating music of the past.. and repackaging it, revamping its sex appeal, and rendering it sterile. Dum Dum Girls is the perfect example of an all-girl summer fun band that should have stayed in the dark of their garage, smoking cigarettes and complaining about men.
Maybe the charm of their music comes from the subtlety in their songwriting, as in “don’t all of these songs sound the same?”
Maybe some genius record exec thought: “Hey, hot chicks in skirts playing fuzzy, distorted rhythm guitars… we’re gonna turn the music industry on its head!”
The next time I need a garage band fix, I’ll listen to Shannon and the Clams or Smith Westerns instead.
Alright folks, I’m going to crawl back under my troll bridge and wait for the next passerby.