Wednesday, November 28, 2007

However long I stay [alive], I will always love you?

Something to ponder:

Has the music of Robert Smith (The Cure) and Morrissey (The Smiths and his solo work), morose and depressing and quite self-indulgent, somehow been diminished by the fact that both men are still alive and nearing 50? How miserable could they be if they are both actually still alive? Hell, The Cure's "Lovesong," a classic tale of heartbreak and misery, was written as a wedding present for Robert Smith's wife...who he's been happily married to for almost 20 years now!

Can we contrast this with the music of Elliot Smith, Nick Drake and Kurt Cobain whose work has arguably become more powerful as a result of their suicides? Can you really listen to Nirvana without playing a detective searching for clues to why Kurt killed himself?

Does suicide legitimate the work of the depressed song-writer?

"See I told you it was bad. Really, really bad."

Discuss.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pain and suffering makes music great, whether it's the blues or pop or grunge or whatever.

Death propels an artist to immortality.


Let's look at a few very brief examples, shall we? Yes, we shall.

Eric Clapton is one of the greatest guitarists ever. Because he didn't ever overdose on heroin, the 80s and 90s happened. Now he is a Light 103.9 smooth jazz and easy listening regular, which by all standards sucks.

Jim Morrison was a clown for a poet who loved a good blues riff. Now he serves as the adolescent introduction to rock 'n' roll for all American white kids. Though he was good, he nor his band ever reached a talent that could explain their sales other than... a 1971 Parisian bathtub overdose.

Finally, Kurt Cobain is dead and people love him. His band all but cleansed us from the miserable hair bands of the 1980s. He was good and getting great. But, since we'll never know exactly how his music would have sounded without Nirvana being the vehicle, we are left to our imaginations. My assumption is that now, with the balance of Kurt sanctity and the soiled grunge image, the reverence of Cobain is a rare example of the appropriate amount which we should garnish a dead musician.

I'm not going to get into any more, as there are too many to count, but I think those kind of sum up the categories in which musicians fall.

P.S. Jimi Hendrix is a strange paradox, hindered by the fact that he was black. I still don't understand this, as clearly he was one of the greatest ever. Maybe he was too white for a black guy. Who knows. It's a fucking shame.

4:05 AM  

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