“Gorillaz and ‘Music for the Listener'”

There is something wrong with me. My mind is filled with silvery hatred.
Apropos, we are currently wedged, not within any actual physical war of nationalism (and this could be significant to my discussion), but within a war on conventional music listening formats. The main assailant is Vinyl Me, Please, who, for people on Facebook is just ridiculously unavoidable and must spend a king’s ransom in promo for their web page record club. They charge $25 per record, a ridiculous price especially considering that vinyl records only can hold half as much music as CD’s. Then, to make matters worse, they call their offerings “plans,” which makes me think of like visiting the dentist, or something. I mean what exactly is this “plan”? Pull the cup, Vinyl Me, Please. I think they make you renew your subscription for $25 after each record, which is not only a colossal ripoff but just an unnecessarily confusing and misleading way to do business.
Just today, I think I was looking at Reverb LP, and I saw their photo and font before I recognized who’d shared it — it was the Pixies album Surfer Rosa, and at first I got all psyched up. This is an album I’ve just played at work on my phone on bluetooth as recently as three months ago — for anybody who doesn’t know it it’s the most incredibly weird but curt and direct pop/punk, “Something against You” offering way more brilliant and beautiful of a chord progression than it’s got any right doing.
But see, I’m not in their “club,” literally, in the case of those misers Vinyl Me, Please, or figuratively either, in the sense of placing this level of importance on how we listen to music in order to infuse into the experience a vitality which apparently otherwise just wasn’t there. I despise their club.
Let’s be clear: digital music should need no defense from some little blogger out there. This should be obvious from first the fact that even last year, in 2017, a time when CD’s are supposed to have gone the way of the dodo bird and people are so vociferously enamored with this allegation, the item still managed to total 89 million in sales worldwide, to vinyls scant 14. The other example I like to mention, then, is obviously Napster, which was the vilified provider site of music downloads to so many people that it spawned a lawsuit. The connection should be obvious.
I know, this is a long rant, and I know as does anybody who reads my site regularly knows that I have an entirely unhealthy complex about the band Gorillaz. Part of why they pi** me off so bad is that I have no business not liking them, considering how much I love Blur, considering how much I love Dan the Automator… he**, considering how much I love “Clint Eastwood,” in the first place. That “sunshine in a bag” line has one of the most ingenious fissions into a probably exclusive triad of the metaphorical (it can simply mean a good mood), non-metaphorical (it could very well refer to the brilliant way in which solar light refracts within a piece of plastic), or the idiomatic (I’m pretty sure it actually refers to LSD, appropriate since Del’s rap on it is pretty cosmic, or at least faux-cosmic). He**, I even like the little cartoon drawings. They’re… uh.. pretty rad.
And I don’t even hate “Last Living Souls” because it’s incredibly arrogant to claim that oneself has this indefinable, deific and completely subjective (not to mention probably fleeting) entity known as a “soul” and that everybody else doesn’t or whatever. I hate it because musically, it’s more flaccid than “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The song simply has no theme, although as we know, and as which likely encompasses its appeal to some people, it has a ridiculous amount of what I’d call “gadgetry,” and texture, to the point where I hate texture and want something with ACTUAL balls, not synthetic balls. I want something like The Dismemberment Plan’s “Automatic,” maybe.
Let’s compare “Last Living Souls” with, say, “Bugman” by Blur, and this will illustrate my point. I mean “Bugman” is like FIGHTING music. You don’t LISTEN to it any more so than sleep being something you ENGAGE in — you put it on and it interpolates your mind, it is ingrained in there forever, like your own “sunshine in a bag” although it’s more like a potentially lethal gale of humanness, upon very first listen. Listening to it for a second time encompasses the exact same activity as listening to it the first time. Bob Marley said that “One good thing about music (is) / When it hits you you fell no pain”. This is true. Guess what else is true. You don’t feel anything else at all, least of all some gimmicky cartoon drawings on the supposed strength of which Vinyl Me, Please had the unmitigated audacity to claim to me that Gorillaz were “the first multimedia band.” Um, Pink Floyd’s The Wall anyone? Shomer shabas!

Leave a Reply