Jan 15, 2009

Under The Cover of Rock

Are you ever scanning through the radio while driving along the highway and you can't help but stop and listen to the atrocity that is considered pop music these days? You're sucked in because you can't help but imagine how some of this stuff makes it onto the radio and into the brains of millions of impressionable teenagers.

No? Ok, maybe it's just me. So, now you're probably thinking, "Hey Eric, why don't you tell us how your really feel? And leave my Britney alone!"

But as much at it seems from that first paragraph, I'm really not that much of a prude. Yeah, some of the subject matter when it comes to pop music today is just gross. Somehow it went from the classic days of pop music when it was like "gee willickers, it would be right dandy if you'd let me hold your hand" to numerous unnecessary analogies about milkshakes and lollipops; some slightly steeped in innuendo, others plain out straight forward.

But I like a clever line as much as anyone else, regardless of what the subject matter may be. As a songwriter I can't help but have respect for all forms of music because of the sheer fact that it's music, which is truly an art form no matter how you look at it.

(By the way, click the links to hear and see the songs I mention in action. I spent a whole 5 minutes researching on YouTube, have some respect and click! I'm just kidding of course, but seriously, click the links. And don't forget to hit the back button.)

I think my major problem is my deep roots in rock that just can't fathom how this kind of music can be popular. I know there is what is called pop-rock, bands likes Nickelback and 3 Doors Down (whom I both love by the way) but I'm talking the rap, r&b kind of stuff that I just can't seem to stomach.

I mean, it's not like I don't listen to Hinder or Theory of a Deadman, with their songs like "Get Stoned" and "Bad Girlfriend". I'm sorry, but they both just rock and I can't help but like it. (They both play a decent live show as well.) These songs are probably as dirty as it can get and still be on radio but I can't resist the the slamming guitars and the screaming lyrics.

So, as disgusted as I am with most of today's pop music, what if you were to take it and turn it into my most beloved rock? You'd get gold in my eyes. (Or my ears..I don't know.)

Plenty of bands have made a name for themselves covering other musicians songs. It's hard to forget The Ataris with their cover of Don Henley's "Boys of Summer". That was on the radio every like 5 seconds back in 2006. I can't say I minded too much. There was also the roughed up version of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" by Alien Ant Farm in 2001 that I can't help but like especially because of the Michael fun-poking they do in the video.

But these tunes were already classics and great examples of songwriting. (In my opinion of course. But seriously, quit ripping on Michael, he was good in his time.) However, as of late, it's been a common trend for bands to cover more recent hits, especially ones that are very far from rock based and actually make me want to listen to the song.

One that's huge right now on alternative rock stations is the song "Lollipop" as done my Framing Hanley. (This video ain't for the kiddies.) I still can't say I'm a fan of the Lil' Wayne lyrics, they are disgusting as it gets. (Lollipops are for kids, man. Just don't go there!) But as I wrote before, when you add on a couple cranked guitars, a bellowing bass, a slamming drum set, and belting vocals that make you want to scream along, it's really hard to resist. It makes me feel awful that I get those lyrics that I so loathe stuck in my head.

There's also a new song that I discovered that actually inspired this post. The video is embedded below. I just had to share it. It's a cover by All-American Rejects of "Womanizer" by Britney Spears. I can't say that this version is really rockin' but it's done to perfection by a rockin' band. This video actually makes me think an old country band with a glam band lead singer . You'll see what I mean when you see the overalls, bowler hat and tight pants. How the toy accordian fits in, I have no idea, it's just awesome, plain and simple. I've watched it at least 10 times today and I'm sure they'll be more. (UPDATE: 1/16/09 - I've watched it about 15 times now.)

Overall, I can't say I'll ever be a fan of pop music as a genre or for the contrived lyrics that you tend to find, but I'll love it for the fact that it gives the rock bands that I love to crank the opportunity to turn up the volume and rock the hell out of those poppy pieces of crap.

Enjoy the video, be prepared to giggle.




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