“Taking down the Feeble Entity of ‘Electronic Rock’ (as if I Really Had to)”

It’s funny, sometimes when you’re at disaster (the phenomenon in life, not my site), you’re a curiously scant step away from total success. Take Green Day, and their first band name: “Sweet Children.” As if this entity could get any lamer, too, Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt in their “Sweet Children” glory days rocked out without Tre Cool as a drummer (don’t get me wrong, I’m sure their drummer did a better job than I could do), and made music that, though if perhaps listenable, certainly didn’t ROCK in the eventual primordial form of Kerplunk, Dookie, ad infinitum. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine any other forward-thinking ape rocking out on “Welcome to Paradise” like Tre does — the tightness of the band’s groove, the abrupt, fast-paced switches to the cymbal hits, and the mind-blowing way that he some how fits in all those fills, should secure him as one of our most underrated drummers out there.
So in light of this keg full of garage cheer, who wouldn’t want to segue to… “electronic rock,” as wikipedia puts it! Sure, it sounds like a pathetic attempt by the online encyclopedia to fashion a sort of false significance within music criticism, but don’t worry, it’s got a really complex definition: “rock made with electronic instruments!”
The really sad part is, well, that I heard of the band Awolnation in the first place. What a cool name though! That’s the other sad part. It made me think of the old punk songs that are anti-military like Rancid’s “Listed M.I.A.” and all of Anti-Flag’s ingratiating oeuvre. I got to listening to them, thinking, well, 10 years ago some mainstream rock was pretty stomachable, maybe it will be like either really intense, like Head Automatica, or really weird, like Avenged Sevenfold… actually the first 20 or so seconds of the song was really COOL. And I mean cool, both in like the Zach Morris Saved-by-the-Bell sort of way and also the music snob sort of way. But it was all computers generating the sounds, and when the singer came in, it was this hopelessly whiny, formulaic old strategy, basically of demoting and demonizing the male sex, all the while trying to make the whole thing sound IMPORTANT.
Now, it should hardly be surprising, to anybody paying attention, that there is bad music on the radio (if this band even made it onto the radio, I dunno). What I see here as the NOTEWORTHY thing going on is that more so than sonic, or stylistic, categories, nowadays, we have CULTURAL categories, and a “band” (the point of the foursome being to probably show off their greased-up hair and skinny jeans on stage) which fancies them too TOUGH for pop, no they’re not pop, they represent REBELLION! That’s right, now buy your $25 corporately manufactured t shirt, all in the name of rebellion.
“Electronic rock” is an artificial musical entity with zero artistic teeth, lacking the melody of “electropop” (commendably wikipedia does indeed have a page on electropop, which is a style thanks more than anything to one miss Bjork of the ‘90s), and the intensity, the “rock” aspects of industrial, a la a Nine Inch Nails which would generate “beats” electronically but gloss the proceedings in an uncompromising din of Fender stacks. It was actually ORIGINAL MUSIC, though certainly not the best, in light of, you know, the existence of Tre Cool.
I’ve recently touted Lower Dens and their album Nootropics, and they are electro pop, I suppose, and to be honest I never really listen to any industrial (it’s just not as FUN as good ol’ rock ’n’ roll like say the Jim Jones Revue), but I think it would certainly be a better avenue for those “bands” lacking a talented drummer than this “electronic rock” masquerade, which to me denotes a sort of pale-faced resignation to the sort of artificial idea of “rebellion” (case in point with that band name “Awolnation”) which grants people the assumed right to just be an a**hole, all the worse for their probably thinking they’re cooler than those who just come out and listen to industrial, for Chrissake.

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