Thursday, September 18, 2008

You're a rock and roll suicide

My second viewing of Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox story wasn't as fun as the first, but it did make me think about the narrative of rock and roll a little more. The reaction to rock music by conservative voices was accurate; this would be a transport to rebellion, irrational behavior, to destruction of tradition, it would lead to new values, new traditions, new models, new stories. Plato's decision to kick the poets out of the Republic for the same reasons has been echoed throughout music history though, any break with tradition has met some opposition or accusation of corruption or demonic possession. It's funny that it still happens today where christian groups rid their music collections of satanic influences. But you know what? I think their fear is justified. Rock music can replace their values and lead people away from those conservative traditions. There are many people who can recite passages of the Bible or the Koran. I know every word of the Smiths discography. Those words have become my psalms.
The last few weeks I have been relentlessly listening to Xiu Xiu's albums. I would vote Jamie Stewart as Morrissey's truest heir. The theme of suicide appears on every album, multiple times, and rightly so being his dad committed suicide. "Ian Curtis wishlist" makes me wonder about the roll of suicide in Rock history. Suicide has been romanticized, well since the German Romantics gave a sense of passion and bravery to it( the Sorrows of Young Werther). During my life lets see, Ian Curtis, Kurt Cobain, Elliott Smith, who else? There are those that flirt with it: David Bowie(Rock and roll suicide), Lou Reed(the Bed), Leonard Cohen ( Dress Rehersal Rag), Morrissey, Xiu Xiu, Catpower, granted im thinking of music that is relevant to me not retarded crap. I'm wondering about how cultures around the world have used suicide as a way of accomplishment. You think of the Japanese samurai and kame kazi fighters, the suicide bombers, any other examples? Has Rock n Roll also given a way of dying that in some way provides a sense of accomplishment as these other examples? What is actually accomplished? Is it a way to simply be like someone else? mimetic destruction? Is their something else in there? Like Cobain's weariness to be a real big rockstar, the dreaded humilation of selling out? Is it a way to stay true to your passions? A way to show that you actually follow all your passions so intensely that you carry it out to the end? Rock definitely values the passionate life. If this is the case the conservative reaction to Rock is definitely appropriate.

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