Friday, August 17, 2007

The 3-Word Query (Clone Turds)

Five for Fighting, Against the Day, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Plain White T's, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, !!!, Boy's Like Girls, A Fine Frenzy, the list goes on and on and on. See the trend?

Shatraw, the earthquake-proof member of proposed the following hypothesis:

"I have a theory. my theory is that NO band who has come forward in the 21st century and has a 3-word name is any good. care to explore this?"

He then gave me that list of bands you see at the top of the screen, plus I added a couple.

Discrepancy number one: Yeah Yeah Yeah's met and formed at Oberlin College in 2000, making them a pre-millennial three 3-word band.

I can't really say that any of your choices are wrong in terms of being horrible and 3-worded, but I can say there are a nation of 11 to 17 year olds in this old, crumbling nation who would disagree with us. These kids didn't grow up with Young Marble Giants, Rites of Spring, Husker Du, Sunny Day Real Estate, early Modest Mouse, basically the roots of Emo as we know them.

This Post-Millennial music, to a snobby 20-somethings trained ear cavity, sounds of an ill-informed collision of Green Day and Blink-182, with a touch of Sunny Day Real Estate. Any edge to the music is sawed off by The Industry. In fact, if you removed the vocals and just had the backing tracks going for some of these songs, you may have an issue distinguishing a single difference.

Two guitars + melodic bass + tight fast drumming + harmonized angsty vocals = $$$$$$$$

The industry believes in the following credo: If ain't broken, don't fix it.

And right now the shit machine will keep pumping out clone turds. Another fake scream-core band, another AC/DC rip-off, more fake-indie, although no one ever figured out what indie was (besides Robert Pollard, who declared it dead recently).

So, in my opinion, outside of Yeah Yeah Yeah's and !!!, most of the 3-Word bands are simply a product of history-ignorant bands combined with the hyper-controlling labels. These are bands of 17 and 18 year olds who are scooped up by major labels. They've probably been into music for two or three years and know how to play a couple of their favorite bubble-punk songs.

Record labels salivate over situations like this. A band that is competent but not sure enough of themselves to write or depend on original material. The band is simply happy to be there and playing shows that are set up for them. Their sound is crafted and controlled, streamlined for a better bottom line.

To give a ridiculous comparison, most of these fake 3-word bands are like a human body; the band is the vessel, the record label the true soul of the music. You are not hearing the band's true sound, but a neutered, auto-tuned bastard squall.

To Shatraw and myself, it's hard not to hear these bands without hearing the base derivative sound, the safe cleanliness, hell, just the plain suck of it all.

But as friend St. Dynamite pointed out in a three word response to the 3-Word Query: Stone Temple Pilots.

I loved those grungy motherfuckers in my tender youth. They were Led Zeppelin-lite as far as I was concerned. I remember when "Big Empty" appeared on The Crow Official Soundtrack. That song was the shit.

And then I remember that I was young and easily influenced once, and I remember the mission of this site. As much as I cherished the terrible music I used to listen to on KROCK, in hindsight I wish the experience was more pure. The children must be protected from the ever-scheming entertainment industry! People everywhere should be able to choose which emo they want to listen to!

Be vigilant, readers, and next time you hear My Chemical Romance, punch someone in the face. They'll thank you later.


Shatraw said...

i mean, the formula is by no means foolproof, but like the late 90s number bands, it's a trend.

Sum 41
Blink 182
Eve 6
7 Mary 3
Ben Folds Five (I'll lump this fucker in with whomever I deem necessary)

there are certainly exceptions to the 3-word band name rule. i happen to like Apples in Stereo (sometimes), Olivia Tremor Control (sometimes) and Neutral Milk Hotel. then again, they're all off the same label...

J. Temperance said...

Elephant 6 was a great label. How come only sometimes for OTC? OF all the neo-psyche Athens groups I felt they were the best, but then, I also enjoy Pearl Jam's Vitalogy over the rest of their discography.

Drum Boner shout-out to whomever can remember Pearl Jam's first idea for a band name (think NBA player...)

Mattie-O said...

Mookie Blaylock!

Now give me your XBox!

Mattie-O said...

Olivia Tremor Control at least had one of the least-terrible E6 band names. I love Neutral Milk Hotel and Of Montreal and Elf Power and all, but those names are AWFUL.

Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't? More like Band Names That Make You Want To Buy a Record, and Band Names That Don't.

Back to the original post: if you haven't given the most recent !!! record a spin or two, its worth it. I always found them kind of obnoxious in the same way as most of the rest of that scene was obnoxious, but Myth Takes ain't too shabby.

I attribute it to the Warp Effect, whereby decent bands who sign to Warp suddenly become fucking geniuses (think Battles, Grizzly Bear), which is to say nothing of homegrown talent like J. Lidell and Born Ruffians.

You might even say I have a Warp boner.