I do most of my exercising at the Nazareth, PA YMCA where they’ll play either the Sirius Top 40 station or the Sirius 80’s on 8 station, neither of which would be anywhere near my choice. (I’m too lazy and it’s too much hassle to do the earbuds thing, although I probably could bench press twice as much to “Ass Cobra” than Katy Perry. At least I’d like to think I could.)
Anyway, they had been playing the Top 40 station for a long time and, as I’ve mentioned a thousand times before, I can’t find one song these days that I like. This past week they switched to the 80’s, and you have to understand, I pretty much hate 80’s pop. Hair metal is a disgrace to metal and new wavey stuff sucks for the most part too. I spent the early 80’s into hardcore and the late 80’s into the stoner revival, so I stayed away from radio as much as possible.
But I certainly find the bad 80’s stuff to be a lot more tolerable than the godawful current stuff. I remembered “Ah Leah” by Donnie Iris as actually pretty good and even Huey Lewis and Culture Club at least dragged the depths of tolerability.
I think the problem is, there’s very little semblance of Rock to what’s going on today. These two questions occurred to me: 1) What is Rock about that Ellie Goulding song that Peter adores? 2) What isn’t Rock about the Electric Eel Shock song I followed up with?
Simply put, what used to be radio pop rock and what used to be radio hard rock can now only be found on country radio. Donnie Iris and Huey Lewis and probably even the Beatles would be forced to add a steel guitar and moronic lyrics if they wanted to be heard on the radio these days. (Not sure what Culture Club would do.)
Recently, me and a bunch of my old player friends have been semi-reforming the country pop cover band we were successful with about 10 years ago. Because my family left and I have time again, because we’re too old to be a rock band (plenty of old farts out there trying to compete with 25-year-olds and failing – despite the fact that the oldsters can play circles around the newbies), because it’s easy money and because a little bit of rock attitude goes a long way in a country band.
In the 10 years since I’ve played out, pop country has become a lot harder and more riffy. The lyrics are more same-y and moronic than ever, unfortunately, but, I’m not particularly a lyrics guy anyway. You can always just ignore ’em.
Let me leave you with an example of a song we’re playing (it’s not particularly brand new either). It’s moronic, it sure ain’t Hellacopters or Turbonegro, but it beats the hell out of Ellie Goulding, for my money anyway. It’s as close to hard rock as you’ll find on regular radio these days, unfortunately: