Song of the day – 326: Odd Future
Yes. I think so.
I don’t wanna cross no picket line, but I like N.W.A., The Frogs and Jerry Sadowitz. Shock tactics have their place. It’s good that folk respond, and it’s good that folk don’t let the use of such shock tactics go unquestioned, but it’s good to have shock tactics too. 2 Live Crew sucked because they sucked. Buju Banton just weren’t funny (cos it wasn’t shock tactics, for one). I can’t condone Ike Turner’s lifestyle. But the flow is elastic, and the imagery inventive. I like Odd Future. Ricky Gervais says totally offensive stuff in that 2010 coming-of-age movie Cemetery Junction, but that’s OK cos he’s an actor (and it’s as funny as shit because we’ve been given a context within which we’re allowed to find such stuff funny as shit). I’ve met Nick Cave a few times, and – seriously – I don’t reckon he has ever killed or raped a woman. Same goes for Mike D, too (who I’ve also met a few times). I personally find Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer or a film like London To Brighton or pretty much any mafia-glorifying movie way more offensive than almost any music I can name, even Coldplay. I really fucking enjoyed the character of Kid Marvel in Alan Moore’s Marvelman: doesn’t mean I want to go out and rape, pillage and plunder half the earth, or even harbour a secret desire to. The lines have been blurry for a very long time now, probably forever (looking back to 16th Century depictions of Hell).
I interviewed Marilyn Manson just after the Columbine killings (which the media were trying to blame on him), and he was one of the most erudite, intelligent interviewees it’s been my pleasure to speak to.
So my question here is: since when was the singer ever the song?
Stay tuned for Neil Kulkarni’s brilliant summation of Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All from 2010, being reprinted on Collapse Board later this week.
Also, what Lucy Cage says in the paragraphs below reprinted from here.
“I feel sick that there are people out there that think this is ‘a bit of fun’. Trust me on this one, rape is not entertainment or fun.”
Hannah, sorry to go about this, but it is something that I feel really strongly about: those lyrics, however repulsive you find them, are not rape. And they are entertainment. Those kids are having fun, even if you might not understand why or feel utterly offended that they are. They may well be doing all sorts of other things culturally as well but they are primarily making music. Not raping anyone, or, directly, making fun of any individual who has been raped.
Thinking something, writing something down, making art out of it is not equivalent to doing it, even if the subject matter offends you to the core. Whoever said it was black black metal had a good point. I’m reminded of Marilyn Manson being blamed for Columbine or the banning of A Clockwork Orange. It’s scary shit but that’s why we’re talking about it.
Whether or not you think rape a suitable subject for kids to be rapping about is where criticism comes in: are those lyrics really damaging anyone? Do they create or reflect culture? Are they simply playing with the darkest shit they can dredge out of their hormonally-buzzing teenage minds or actually inciting people to action? Why do they want to disgust the old, the white, the middle-class so? (Sure that’s pretty obvious, really.) That’s where the debate is, calling them up on the fire they’re playing with. And calling up the writers who rave about them, too, as Wallace is doing: is it really the “guiltiest of thrills” to enjoy their songs, as one (male, hipster, intellectual) blogger wrote: what the fuck’s that all about? But the fact remains that they are having fun and making art, not murdering anyone.