16 February 2003
Twain in vain
JB Doubtless, bless him, understands Shania:
There is an idea floating out there that somehow it is cynical, manipulative and most importantly EASY to make a record with mass popular appeal like Shania’s Up! I tend to think the opposite is true. Making a record of what you hear in your head is much, much easier than making something other people will want in their heads.
And, more important, he understands pop. From the same piece:
Critics tend to lean toward suffering artiste types like Steve Earle, who they tell us have deep soul, originality and are brave and important.
Important. That damn word keeps popping up when I read about films, music and literature. This is the key ingredient in popular entertainment the critics tell us. The Clash were lauded not for their song writing, record-crafting, musicianship or vocal ability, but rather their attitude their defiance to the Corporate Music Machine and more for what they weren't than what they were.
"The Only Band That Matters," we were told. And, as it turned out, the Clash did make some damned good records. But we remember them because they were damned good records, not because they encapsulated the Zeitgeist or because they stuck it to The Man or for whatever reasons were being bandied about in those days.
Catchy drivel? Up! might be. So was Pachelbel's Canon in D. I'm happy to have them both at hand.