Song of the day – 523: Sleigh Bells
A while ago, I got talked into slagging off Sleigh Bells, because it was fun.
My old and trusted cohort kicking_k immediately pointed out that if I, uh, actually listened to Sleigh Bells I’d probably like them. Fair enough, but it still doesn’t take away from the thrill of laying into music indiscriminately. It’d be dishonest to pretend otherwise.
And while we’re here, if I want to choose music to work out to, then I’ll shove on Lady Gaga or Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Physical’ like everyone else, thank you, not music that aspires to be Chicks On Speed minus the natty line in Raincoats cover versions. I go to music shows to enjoy music and maybe have a spasmodic dance or three, not to be made to feel like I’m at a particularly strenuous Sarah Palin rally. (This is a point that, to its credit, Village Voice has already picked up on, interviewing an actual physical fitness instructor about the abs-pumping potential of Sleigh Bells’ music.) I didn’t like it when Red Hot Chilli Peppers turned music into a physical exercise, and I don’t like it now.
And then there’s singer Alexis Krauss’ tendency to lapse into a lisping, Americanised version of Miki Berenyi over slowly fermenting electro-pop beats when she thinks no one’s looking. (When would that be? When she’s not stripping off another layer of spandex?) Ms Berenyi, for those of you wondering, was the singer with early-90s Gothic dream-pop shoegazers Lush. Notwithstanding the fact that shoe-gazing was perhaps the most irritating form of music ever inflicted upon an unwary public by a bunch of over-enthusiastic, zeitgeist-chasing UK music critics — yes, it was as interesting as the name implies — some would argue that Ms Berenyi had quite a sweet voice, sugar laced with acerbic attitude. At least it was her own voice.
But, as Scott Creney pointed out a while back, “Actually, it’s not that far away from Big Black”.
He went on to write:
As pop, it’s irritating and destructive. As rock, it could give a fuck. What more could you ask for? Depth? Meaning? Emotions? What world are you fucking people living in? Haven’t you been paying attention? Truth doesn’t exist. Language is a virus. And viral is the new Top 40. Why not make music as shallow as possible? A coked-up slamming of guitars and drum machines, a music that sounds better as an MP3, supermodels and Nirvana T-shirts—it’s a steaming crash pile of semiotics. What could be more 21st Century than that?
So now it’s time to ‘fess up and admit that yes, of course. Yes. I like this 21st Century groove, the cut-off jeans, the shadow boxing, the way everything is distorted and MEGA and seizure-inducing. the shallowness of the concept and the embracing of the NOW. Makes me want to bounce, and jiggle, and throw great expressive shapes on squares of neon cardboard.
So yes. FUCK you and your underground.
I have a place-holder here that states GRIMES. Nice. I like Grimes too.