Judge Grants Juror Glastonbury Leave [NME]
Yeasayer to Tour North America, Hit New York on 8/13 [Prefix]
Timbaland to Score, Zac Efron to Star in Cowell’s Rendition of Saturday Night Fever [NME]
Bicycle Film Festival Kicks Off w/ FREE Show Featuring Jon Spencer Blues Explosion & The Teenagers [Brooklyn Vegan]
Hip-Hop Artists Sick of “Old Ass Jay-Z Hating” on Auto-Tune [Prefix]
Built to Spill to Release New LP in October [Pitchfork]
Paul McCartney Waiting for a Phone Call from MGMT [NME]
Radiohead Selling Second In Rainbows CD [Pitchfork]
“Zack Morris” Performs “Zack Attack” Backed by The Roots [Videogum]
More Big Acts Cutting Ticket Prices [NME]
Stop Laughing At, Start Feeling Bad About Michaels’s Faceplant [The Tripwire]
compiled by Elana Jacobs & Erin Sheehy
August 1, 2008
This is a creation myth. At the dawn of New Wave, when Simon Cowell was still in his public schoolboy’s knee breeches, a bunch of bands appeared on the scene wearing their utter strangeness and lack of professionalism like a power tie. A few years earlier, American and British punk had appeared, giving the finger to polished stadium musicians. “The Ramones respect us because we can tune our guitars,” the sour leader of The Reivers complained. But the kids were all hopped up and liked the Ramones, even though they didn’t sing – they yelled. And Elvis Costello, Tom Verlaine, and Graham Parker – early New Wavers – hiccupped and growled their way through angry anti-love songs, songs about buildings, food, and sundry kookiness. From New Wave most of the pop styles that populate our universe today were born. Virtually all New Wave bands, from Depeche Mode and The Cure to Joy Division / New Order, went in a pop direction as they grew to stadium-level popularity. Then they were widely imitated. From punk came the wall-of-sound guitars and screamers now loosely gathered in a headbanger’s ball: thrash, hardcore, death metal etc.
Enter Simon Cowell. Noel Gallagher, who was no public schoolboy, used some Beatles chords and his brother’s Johnny Lydon whine to become familiar to millions. He complained that the show Popstar, a phenomenon in merry old England, had ruined music. These shows and similar shows about fashion or cooking are about perfectionism and uncompromising standards. They’re about facing your fears, making the grade through hard work, through believing that you can do better than you thought you could – or tearfully accepting your failure while vowing to never give up.
More on In Praise of Bad Singing – A Short History of Western Music