GET OFF THE BUS
DISCLAIMER: WE SWEAR TO ELVIS WE WROTE THIS BEFORE WE SAW THE ARTICLE IN THE NY POST WHICH SAYS SORTA THE SAME THING.
OK, so thanks to the English press, there is a new "Beatles," or "greatest band ever," every month. NME, Q Magazine, Uncut, and Mojo are very similar to the NHL. Almost EVERYONE makes the playoffs. And we just love that! We can't wait to get on the bus. "ALL ABOARD THE ARCTIC MONKEYS EXPRESS!" "Hey, here comes the crosstown Hard-Fi!"
This month it's The Raconteurs, a new band featuring power pop cult hero Brendan Benson, Jack White of The White Stripes, and the rhythm section of the garage rocking Greenhornes. Tickets for their show at Irving Plaza went on sale last Friday at Noon, and it sold out at 11:55 AM, without the benefit of time machines or particle generators. How? Why?
Maybe it's because The Raconteurs are like a 2006 alt-rock version of the Traveling Wilburys, which makes the hype surrounding them different from the hype surrounding the Arctic Monkeys. People may not have heard the Arctic Monkeys either, when they raced onto Ticketmaster to scarf up tickets for their gig. But the Monkeys are coming from a different place -- the British press "This is the best thing ever" place, rather than the "Hoo boy, a bunch of hip artists, many of whom I may never have heard of until now, but hey, if Jack White likes them they must be cool, in the same band!" place.
The first single, "Steady As She Goes" is a catchy little ditty that has a great hook, just like most of Benson's material. It is a bit raw, much like a White Stripes CD, only much much better. (Ya see, I think the White Stripes are seriously overrated. Why are bad vocals, bad drumming, and jokey songs considered hip? The raw energy part is fine, but the Stones' "A Bigger Bang," released last year, has a lot of raw energy. It was a solid record. Best thing they released in 20 years. Why isn't it hip to like that record?)
After listening to a half dozen more Raconteurs songs, I realize, it's no big deal. Brendan Benson's records are better and he barely sells out the tiny Mercury Lounge. Jack White's addition just makes what could have been solid pop rock songs quirky and annoying. Is that hip nowadays? "What a great song, but it could be better if instead of singing, the vocalist just squealed."
In 6 months, no one will care about the Arctic Monkeys. Actually, people stopped caring about Hard-Fi since I started writing this. So, you wanna start a trend? You wanna "get on a bus?" Be the first one to forget about the Arctic Monkeys? Get on the "who gives a crap about The Racontuers" bus!
As long as you realize that journalists, especially the British music journalists, can in fact be wrong sometimes, and take that into account before you hop on each new band's wagon every month, you can avoid buying a lot of bad CDs and seeing a lot of lame concerts.
You wanna be hip? Don't be afraid to like the Rolling Stones.