While contemplating Franklin’s latest, some sidebars:
That “college” phrase got read wrong. Or probably, stated wrong. What I meant is - if 20 year olds become the most influential element of the music-biz audience, will you get demand and supply of a different kind of writing than you do when 14 year olds are the heavies? Not better or worse, but more of the “writerly” affect and a shift in subject interest (to politics for instance). College was meant as shorthand for young-adult not the classroom - for Pet Sounds rather than Fun Fun Fun or Springsteen rather than the Monkees. (This could also be a bad thing.) But I was not meaning to project that curiosity/desire onto anybody but me.
Likewise the argument that there’s been a divergence between the lyric style of rock hits and the lyric style of the anti-hit-list was mine and mine alone. But I think it’s true. It’s like a single body that split in half, each taking extreme and unbalanced parts of the personality with it. But the pompous meaninglessness of a certain dominant style of mainstream rock lyrics circa 1994-2003 (generally bad U2 imitations) is conspicuous: If we’re talking about “what kind of lyrics changed how,” mainstream rock lyrics indulged in a whole complex of reactions to/for/against hip-hop and resurgent pop. And in that light I’m unsure if in any conversation about “trends and ontology” indie rock has a place. (Hmm, maybe that one’s not a sidebar.)
“Jocks vs. geeks” was not meant literally but to flag a certain tone that creeps in when the pop defenders make mockery of indie a tactic - the assumption that indie is an elite is on one hand semi-accurate and on the other kind of a conspiracy theory ascribing improbable power to a dispossessed minority as far as the pop-market is concerned. Yes critics care about indie but who cares about critics, that’s the dirty little secret. Anyway I knew it would get a rise - I suppose I could be accused of teasing.
One Ring Zero’s album may be the geekiest record ever made, a bunch of authors supplying lyrics to a band that uses accordion, claviola and theremin as its primary axes, and that’s one of the reasons I found it fun to write about, even if it is too geeky to spawn any lineage.
All right, it is possible to get geekier: Seattle band Bloodhag plays “edu-core,” heavy metal songs entirely about science-fiction authors and tours the northwest-coast library system in the summertimes. Choice quote, in their song about HG Wells: “Writers still swipe from your most famous books/Yet they forget the social satire of your later works.” Rawwwwk!
Can you tell I’m just burning off unused research? Here’s something that might be useful/amusing: An index of songs inspired by literature.
And there are two recent CDs raising cash for literacy with songs inspired by stories/novels/etc, with David Bowie, Springsteen, Tom Waits, Rosanne Cash and a bunch of unknowns.