December 08, 2004



Being the second of five propositions on genre as confabbed by Felizitas with the assistance of the many (or is that "too menny"?)

Vital genres move forward amidst a perpetual drama between sonic form and social content.

[By the way, "social content" doesn't just mean "what the lyrics say." But more on that later, wait for Prop 3 already!]

So, like, you don't get to be, say, punk rock just by the way you sound. But you don't get to be punk rock just by being all smash-the-state or whatever. I understand your temptation, but The Coup n'is no way punk rock. That's not to say they aren't something at least as rad and yeay!; it's only provincial dimwits who think punk owns (or even describes) the category of social rage + systemic critique.

Some thoughtful and enlightened person is bound to call Good Charlotte "punk rock" and this has something to do with, whatevs, guitar sound and chord changes and melodic simplicities and a particular style of expressive singing. But that alone won't do it, because there's no whatchucall dialectical drama, just style, just sonic formalism. This delightful band* totally fails to have any social content that punk rock would recognize. To be a vital part of the genre, the drama of the two parts pushing against each other has to be in play.

* Hey: how come no one points out that "Good" Charlotte's first and biggest hit is, in the words of Axl Rose, "straight up racist"? Because I listend to the lyrics? And, like, it's supposed to be an ironical and bothered-up dig at people who get rich and famous who complaain about the strictures of fame and are fuckheads who don't deserve the time or attention that our lame celebrity culture lavishes uponst them. And yet --- gee, how come the only examples given are, uh, two African-American men (that would be O.J. Simpson and Marion Barry). Really? Those are the dudes scamming a gullible and poor populace and winge-ing about it? Those are the ones who stand in for the whole category "rich and famous," and who deserve to be robbed? Dude, what is so so wrong with this picture? As it happens, I've seen the actual TV show, and it did not exactly feature black men every week, unless you count Adnan Kashoggi.

I wonder if the fact that no one saw fit to mention this in reviews is simply an indication that whatever genre that is that Good Charlotte inhabits, is pretty much vitality-free.

Posted by at December 8, 2004 02:59 PM | TrackBack