The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'clem bastow'

2003/3/19

The Architecture in Helsinki backlash begins; Rocknerd has a scathing review of their album launch at the Corner, arguing that bourgeois middle-class kids have no business being twee and "innocent", and should leave that to those who have won that right through hard struggle. And that their stage presence sucked.

The innocence that Jonathan Richman and Brian Wilson explored came to them in brief flashes amidst the pain of trying to reconnect with a lost childhood. It went hand in hand with the madness of being lost in an emotional wilderness. It doesn't have anything to do with spokey-dokes, or windmills, or fucking ice creams. For middle-class kids to play with and fabricate that innocence - that was for Richman or Wilson, hard won and fought for - without acknowledging the pain it goes hand in hand with is reprehensible.
All in all, it's as though punk never happened. To perform and write pop music that doesn't reflect an element of the culture and society that creates it is to miss the point. You don't have to write about Redfern or Soweto, but to perpetuate a mythic 'everything-is-fine-and-dandy' theme - especially when things clearly aren't - is stupid and misguided. The best pop music alleviates your troubles without denying they exist. Architecture In Helsinki performs in some kind of kindergarten nativity bubble, with a false innocence borne of a Hallmark Cards sponsored vision of a pop utopia.

IMHO, "everything-is-fine-and-dandy" is good when it's done in a (subtly or otherwise) subversive context, with just enough being askew to suggest that that's a facade or a pathological case of denial. Radiohead's Everything In Its Right Place is one example. (Btw, did you know that a British gardening/renovations show actually used that as incidental music for the "after" sequences of rebuilt backyards? Irony's lost on some people.)

architecture in helsinki clem bastow middle-class 8

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