Mike Lynch (prawnwarp) wrote,
Mike Lynch

  • Music:

Too cool for school

I have been listening to the Massive Attack 2-CD anthology and realising why I never bought any Massive Attack records, despite having quite a deep fondness for "Protection" and "Unfinished Sympathy" back when they came out. It's the lyrics. Those two early singles are just fine but the lyrics of their later work descends into a realm which I can only characterise as dreadful, self-indulgent waffle. I found an essay of Ned Raggett's last week in which he argues the case for regarding lyrics as unimportant; although he's really arguing against printed lyric sheets, which is something I agree with him on, he goes on to say, in more general terms: "And so I don't care about lyrics, really. It's harsh to say it, but it's harsher to deny it."

This is a line which comes up over and over again on ILM, and I can see where these people are coming from. But for me, crap or annoying lyrics will completely spoil a song. A band has to be high in my top-ten-bands-ever list for me to be able to tolerate even moderately crap lyrics - New Order spring to mind.

In a way, I wish I weren't so sensitive, for then I could enjoy the production and soundscapeishness of a Massive Attack track like 'Karmacoma' or 'Inertia Creeps', or even 'Teardrop', without all the solipsistic, druggy blather in the lyrics driving me up the wall. There was a point in the 90s in British pop - the stuff I was hearing at the time, anyway - when coolness (both in the sense of emotional coolness, and of being hip) seemed to overwhelm every other value, especially meaning and fun, and Massive Attack's lyrics seemed to me to be a big part of this.

Today's Achewood is also about coolness but from a totally different universe of cool. Dedicated fans will note that it's one of the few times Roast Beef has ever had punctuation marks on his dialogue.
Tags: comics, music

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