Monday, April 03, 2006

Clap Your Hands and Say Talking Heads

I recommend this New York mag story on "grups," grown-ups who redefine adulthood by refusing to actually grow up. The generation gap is no more, parents are dressing cooler than their kids, and, basically, the world is coming to an end.
The casualty of all this? Good music that each generation calls its own. Writer Adam Sternbergh explicates:
Once upon a time, pop culture, and in particular pop music, followed a certain reliable pattern: People listened to bands, like the Doobie Brothers or Cream or Steely Dan, that their Frank Sinatra–loving parents absolutely despised. Then these people had kids, and their kids became teens, and they started listening to bands, like the Clash or Elvis Costello or Joy Division, that their Cream-loving parents absolutely despised. And, lo, the Lord looked down and saw that it was good, and on the eighth day, He created the generation gap.

And then these Clash-listening kids grew up and had kids of their own, and the next generation of kids started listening to music, like Franz Ferdinand and Interpol and Bloc Party, that you might assume their parents would absolutely despise. Except it doesnÂ’t really work that way anymore. In part, because how can their parents hate Interpol when they sound exactly like Joy Division? And in part, because how can their parents hate Bloc Party when their parents just downloaded Bloc Party and think itÂ’s awesome and totally better than the Bravery!

This, of course, is a seismic shift in intergenerational relationships. It means there is no fundamental generation gap anymore. This is unprecedented in human history. And itÂ’s kind of weird.

It's so true. Hasn't anyone noticed that Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah sound EXACTLY like the Talking Heads? Seriously, they should be embarrassed. It's perfectly fine for bands to emulate the geniuses that precededed them, and even to pay homage by covering songs or borrowing riffs, but really, sometimes while listening to CYSY I find myself waiting for "...And you may ask yourself...." and I'm all shoot! Where is David Byrne in all this madness?

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