by carl wilson

Don't You Know No One Alive Can Always Be an Angel?

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!

Also meet Gaddis, who write songs not with the types on the ORZ album but about them. And here's Harry and the Potters.

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.

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Monday, August 23 at 03:29 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)



Another band that sings (sung, really) about authors is PopCanon, especially on their first album.

Posted by ben wolfson on August 24, 2004 02:02 PM



what is that picture?...

I feel very disconnected from this topic (being primarily one who plays instrumental music) but I thought it would be interesting (maybe not) to point out that todays 20 year old is really the 14yr old of (okay todays 25 year old is definitely the 18 yr old of previous decades...)

also, I listen to rap (mostlyThe Roots) but tend to ignore the lyrics, listening more to all the other parts of the music.

Posted by tim posgate on August 23, 2004 08:54 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson