Firefly Pointer Fiberglass Jacket: Rock and Roll Remixed, and re-hashed

Monday, February 25, 2013

Rock and Roll Remixed, and re-hashed

Rock and roll's influence is still present today, and some of it can be found in the most unlikely places.

Recently I was at a gay bar in the Castro with a good friend of mine. I was feeling low and really needing to get out. Even though I don't drink and bars aren't my scene, I was happy to be outside of the house. Immediately upon entry I notice the blaring electronic music. The kind where you have to hold your hand to the other persons ear and yell for them to hear it. Not conducive to talking, emphasis on the dancing. I don't really dance to music like that, so I was camped out at the bar.

Wasn't really digging the tunes, cause let's face it...I'm a rock and roller. While I say I appreciate all music (which is true) my favorite has been established and I am biased. I suddenly paused, realizing I knew these lyrics. Pretty quick I figured out this was an electronic remix of Supertramp's "The Logical Song." Maybe it wasn't so much a remix, but the lyrics were totally from that song...line for line. I looked around, seeing all the happy gay boys bust a move. They all looked to be about my age or younger. I wondered if they even knew who Supertramp was. Yes, I wonder things like that.

I have mixed feelings about songs like this. I will use Vanilla Ice's beat rip off from Queen and Bowie's "Under Pressure" as a great example. I don't so much have a problem with the sampling of a song. I am well aware that all music is related and spawned from another type. But I do have a problem when the sample is more popular than the original. If I started to sing the opening beat "Doo doo doo d-d-doo doo" before I even got to the next note people would be saying "Ice Ice Baby." I've seen it happen. Vanilla Ice himself said that his song "was totally different" because "it had that little bitty ting." He's right, there's that itty-bitty ting. That's the only difference between the beat in each song. Vanilla Ice took a cool rock song and rapped over it and added one extra beat. Not only that, he never gave Queen and Bowie credit or royalties...until he had to. Nice try Ice.

This song also brought up another thought in my head; if rock and roll is so "old and irrelevant" why is it being referenced all the time? Why does Harry Styles wear a Ramones shirt? Why did Vanilla Ice sample Queen & Bowie? Why did this chick use the lyrics from "The Logical Song"? Because rock and roll is still relevant. That is why Run DMC merging with Aerosmith for the sub-genre 'rap rock' song "Walk this way" worked so well. The rock and roll sound not only exists in great contemporary bands like The Black Keys, it seeps through pop music that isn't even "rock like" at all, like Lady Gaga. She openly admits to being influenced by Bowie, and did the song "You and I" with Brian May on guitar.

I hear the question all the time "In blank amount of years will people still be taking about blank band?"

Obviously the artists mashing up, sampling and re-mixing these songs must have some sort of appreciation for the original track or the original artist. That's why they used it in the first place; because they liked it. We are influenced by what we like: it's that simple. And you know what, even if they didn't like it and they purely just ripped it off: they did that because it's already good, it's already a winning formula. These days its getting to the point where rock isn't so much referenced but ripped off. That's where I get upset. Like in my example with One Direction's Harry Styles wearing a Ramones shirt. I haven't done any looking into it, in fact I'm embarrassed I even know his name....but that kid is no Ramones fan. He's got to be wearing it as a fashion statement, which is all wrong. If he's actually a fan then I apologize, but I highly doubt it.

This is why I don't mind Justin Bieber so much. He just makes shitty pop music, he doesn't wear Ramones and Beatles shirts. Ultimately I don't worry about either of these temporary pop bands because they wont be around for long. People like me in these times pretty much just need to grin and bear it, and turn the music up louder. Lou Reed, Joan Jett, and lots of other amazing rock artists are still touring...and selling out shows. They are still releasing new material, most are compilations and even that out sells these pop boy bands. They are a flash in the pan that every single one of these girls will out grow.

Music with integrity stands the test of time, it sticks around. This can really only be proven by the passage of time. The Beatles are timeless, rock and roll is timeless because rock and roll is real emotion, and we all experience emotions. Their songs are about falling in love, losing love, experiencing drugs, and longing for yesterday. Human beings create music as a symptom of, or coping mechanism for pain and joy. That intern helps ourselves, and if we are lucky others to cope with their pain or relate to the joy they are feeling. Part of being human is feeling totally alone, when in reality we all feel that way (some more than others). One of the main messages I have gotten from rock music is that I am not alone. There's a lot of other people out there who are like me, like the same things I do, and feel a lot of the same emotions I feel. That's what we all have in common, and that will never change. In my opinion, that is why rock and roll is still relevant.

I ask you: In 20 years will people be talking about One Direction, or The Beatles?
The Answer is DEFINITELY The Beatles.

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