Thursday, June 28, 2007

You Should Listen To... Vol. 1

I smell a new feeeaaaaturrrre...

Okay, this idea involves me --as an expert on all things musically great and wonderful-- telling you --similarly a non-expert-- to listen to a song. Today that song is "Cuckoo!" by Neon Horse.

At first, I was hesitant to like this band. First of all, they're a "supergroup" composed of a cast made up of 30 other bands. Secondly, they have not revealed their identities, choosing instead to be credited as "Norman Horse and The Neon Horse Band." Thirdly, they're on Tooth&Nail records, a christian record label. These 3 things are nearly always red flags that signal extreme sucktitude, but their album art was interesting so I gave their single a whirl on youtube.

I fucking loved it. The bass was overwhelming and sinister (like I like it), the guitar was smug yet catchy (like I like it), and the vocals were like a split-personality channeling of different old-tyme movie villains (I think I fell in love with it). So looking back, I decided to rethink my original judgments. Obviously there are good, non-gimmicky supergroups (Sound Of Animals Fighting, A Perfect Circle). There are also great bands which choose to cloak their identities (Banana Splits).

But of course, the idea of this even being remotely connected to christian music is a tough pill to swallow for the musical elitist hard-liners out there. And the reason of course, is that christian music has sucked for the past two decades. In fact, there was a concerted effort by those in charge of christian music (labels, press, churches) to make it suck. Somebody got it in their head that Jesus would prefer if his flock listened only to a separate sect of music, with both christian listeners and christian artists turning their backs on the rest of the musical world. As a result, the market got more difficult to succeed in, So the labels went all capitalista and dropped support for anything that was edgy, unproven, or possibly unprofitable. The musical gene pool dried up, and the music got sucky. Labels like Tooth&Nail began to support the idea that you didn't have to toe the artistic line to write songs about Jesus, and a whole lot of strange and interesting stuff occurred. Sure, a lot of it still sucked, but at least it was out there. (by the way, I find it very interesting that there are entirely-instrumental christian acts, are there some chords that just aren't holy?)

I grew up with a lot of christian music and it actually indirectly inspired me to really get into music. Since I wanted to listen to non-christian music, I just tore through every christian band so that I could tell my parents when I wanted to hear new secular stuff that I'd already heard all of the christian stuff. To this day, I still have plenty of christian bands that I enjoy (most of them, however, have broken up by this point).

Anyways, the point is, listen to the Neon Horse song and tell me if you like it. It's definitely odd, and a bit frightening at times, but it's very catchy and there's no overtly aggro-christian lyrics as far as I can tell. And there's oversized scissors, which I think we can all get behind.

1 comment:

Faaip said...

two words: dc talk.