Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Shape Of Bagels To Come

It's been quite a long time since I last wrote anything, period. I don't have a terribly glorious reason why, either. I spent a little more than two months of my free time with Grand Theft Auto 4. It was fantastic, an amazing video game from a series that has produced the best video games of the post-Nintendo dominance era. For the most parts, video games have fallen into this shooter/football game rut. The Grand Theft Auto games are pretty much the only ones that ever hold my interest for very long. GTA4, the 6th (or 9th, really) iteration of the series will end up for me, being one of the best entertainment experiences of the year. Up there with all the arty movies, and arty music. This being primarily a music blog, I am driven to make a parallel between GTA and the music world.

Lately, I've dusted off my well worn copy of Refused's 1998 album The Shape Of Punk To Come, one of those watershed albums in a genre (hardcore) that I find often gets mired in it's own strictures and it's desire not to mess with a formula that's worked. It's been a problem that's plagued hardcore, and punk in general since it's inception. The high points of hardcore can almost make up for the homogeny of it's ilk, The Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Husker Du, all produced albums that are high points not only of their genres but of their generations. But it's telling that all of those bands moved onto something else, musically. Some with success, some not so much. Minor Threat begat Fugazi, Land Speed Record begat Flip Your Wig, etc. etc.

The Shape Of Punk To Come was a grenade to the face for me in 1998. Amid the dreck that somehow teenagers I knew started calling hardcore (Korn and Limp Bizkit were called hardcore by the unknowing people I was hanging out with at the time). I saw the video for "New Noise" and my mind was blown. It's amazing to even think of a video for a song like "New Noise" even being played in 1998 let alone now, ten years later. I promptly went out and bought The Shape Of Punk To Come. This was punk? Holy shit, what had I been listening to. It was Epitaph, which was throwing all the seeds of this pop-punk emo shit, but I was totally falling for that shit while it was ramping up. And then this came along. So I started digging. I heard Husker Du, I found out what that clip of The Bad Brains that I saw a couple of years before was all about (I wrote a post about that about a year ago). The thing about The Shape Of Punk To Come, though was that it did about a million different things that it's predecessors didn't, or that they hadn't even thought was possible. Violins, vibraphones, upright bass, constantly shifting song structures, burbling techno passages interrupting songs. It's fiery, it's invigorating, it's fucking fun as hell to listen to in the car, all alone, windows down, screaming along.

And sorry to get your hopes up about any return to blogging form, I'm hopping down to Florida Thursday afternoon, I'll be back Monday, with some pictures and such things.

Also, I'd like to happily announce that I've lost 25 pounds. And not as in I was pickpocketed in London, lost 25 pounds.

1 comment:

Cut That Meat 3.0 said...

Well done, I’m happy for your accomplishment (the weight not the game . . . although I can see the appeal of the game).