Language is very much like that green growth on my left testes, in that it keeps growing and changing in occasionally unpalatable ways, no matter what we intend and what efforts we take.
Words rarely mean the same thing for too long. ‘Faggot’ used to be a derogatory slur of homosexuals, but now it apparently just means someone whose opinion you politely dispute online. ‘Gay’ used to mean happy, and it seems now many people are so against this shift that they attempt to make gay people’s lives as unhappy as possible. That’s brilliant! I love irony! Sherlock Holmes ejaculated over Doctor Watson many times in the 19th century, and though he would also do so countless times in early 2010s Benedict Cumberbatch fanfic, the meaning was not quite what Conan Doyle had originally intended. There have actually been over a dozen officially recognised semantic shifts that have happened since dawn this morning. At 6:46 GMT it was decreed that the word ‘viscous’ now refers to Beijing Opera. At 8:12 GMT we received news that ‘tableware’ was actually a derogatory term for people of South Vermont. We heard at 11:02 GMT that dogs were now called cats, cats were now called mice, and mice were now called Total Network Solutions. Most confusingly, we were informed at 11:53 that we could no longer call a spade a spade, but a digidigdigdigdigdigdigdigggytron*
(*I had a… different joke there… but I chickened out… Feel free to tell it if you can tell what it would have been, but give me full credit. It it’s funny. If it’s racist, then that’s your fault)
Musical genres embark of similarly pronounced shifts. ‘Indie music’ used to mean music on an independent record label, but now the world’s biggest ‘indie bands’ are all signed to Colombia and Warner Brothers and Disney and Weyland-Yutani Corporation it seems to mean ‘wussy guitar rock’. ‘Country music’ used to be music made entirely by whole nation states, with the 1963 number 14 smash Microneasy Skanking by the Federal State of Micronesia being a noted early example, but now it just means music where upper middle-class white men tell us how they could have beaten up Bin Laden ‘Texas style’ if Obama didn’t tax their truck so much.
Oh yeah, while wearing a cowboy hat. That’s integral to the sound.
And then there’s ‘punk’ And. Then. There’s. Punk. When punk first emerged it wasn’t so much a set of musical tropes but a sense of mind. Punk used to mean doing something outside the accepted artistic norms in order to frighten the establishment but energise members of the subculture. It meant ripping up all rule books and concepts of who or what constituted ‘talent’ and what was worthwhile. Suddenly, if you could make something that other people liked, you were an artist. And if they didn’t like it, screw them, they were obviously part of the musical bourgeoisie and din’t like you because you scared them! It was, like all the best revolutions, based on wide disregard for the powers and conventions that were too long deified and, like all the best revolutions, it didn’t last.
By now, punk means four or five white guys playing exactly the same music as was played during punk’s original 70s conception. Rather than tearing down the churches and rejecting accepted rock ‘icons’, punk now slavishly worships the original punk icons far beyond the level of worship shown to bands like Pink Floyd that those same original punks found so detestable. Punk in its original concept would be wearing an ‘I Hate The Clash‘ t-shirt, not embarrassingly referencing forty year old tropes that the band used*. Punk isn’t a set of ideologies and beliefs any more, it’s just middle aged white men playing Dad Rock slightly faster.
(*yeah, I already covered how much I despise bands shouting ‘Rudy’, and yes, the Manics did it, and no, it’s alright when they do it, and no, that doesn’t make me a hypocrite because shut up)
‘Aqua Placenta’ is, to me, the real way punk should sound in 2018. It’s abrasive, often intentionally obnoxious, pays no respect to any rules or conventions and, most importantly, doesn’t give two kaalikääryleets about being liked or what’s expected of it. It also sounds unashamedly home made and maybe even cheap, but that sense only builds into this power. It sounds like anyone could have made this. You could make this! You could change the world of music!
Maybe you’ll listen to it and hate it, decrying it’s hard-edged caustics and how little respect or deference it pays to the listener or accepted musical norms. That’s fine, freedom of opinion and all that, just remember that you’re who punk is supposed to be against!!
Whoah-ho-ho-ha-ha-ha! Yeah, Ursula, that’s far too long. It’s a bloody great album though, that I only think would be improved by incorporating a bit more rapping next time, as UC could quickly become one of the world’s most singular hip-hop producers.
What’s that? You don’t know any rappers? Well, it just so happens that I’m actually one of the most acclaimed dropper of bars in all of Ashton-under-Lyne. Unfortunately, being a pasty white idiot, there’s very little rapping I can do without accidentally sounding a little bit racist. So, with that in mind, here’s me covering the greatest white rapping ever: Axl Rose at the end of You Could Be Mine:
My parents thought I’d be a lawyer…
Not on Spotify, so you have to buy it