After a busy but musically uneventful week it was a choice between writing at length about playing at yet another wedding with my covers band at the weekend or looking at the outside world for inspiration.
After a quick Google search for interesting music-related news stories this evening I hit the jackpot almost straight away. Good old FOXNews.com are declaring that "teens start having sex sooner if their preferred music has sexually degrading lyrics". In a study of 1,242 children aged 12 to 17 it was found that "lyrics with sexual content that is not degrading did not affect teen sexual behavior", while music with degrading lyrics increased it. While this smacks a little of the blame-Marilyn-Manson-for-Columbine way of thinking, I'm glad that the subject of mysogynist lyrics is being brought in to the press at all. As the article states:
Degrading lyrics, as defined in this study, describe men as insatiable studs and women as sex objects
and I've always found it bizarre that so many female singers in the musical genres most associated with degrading and/or violent lyrics (R&B, hip-hop and rap) seem to accept their prescribed passive role readily, looking more than happy to be shimmying about in their videos wearing next to nothing and singing about how much they love their man. Yes, the odd one has a song about being an independent woman or buying their own shoes but the focus is still very much on love and the girls are still content to wriggle around on the floor arching their backs and pulling up their skirts whilst singing their supposedly liberated lyrics.
These kind of thoughts are in my mind in a week where I'm working on some new songs, reading Ariel Levy's excellent Female Chauvenist Pigs and trying hard to work out why there are so very few intelligent, strong, female role models in music at the moment.
Luckily, Londonist favourites The Pipettes are making me feel a bit better about things by laying in to lazy, insipid, indie-boy bands in radio interviews. As reported by Gigwise, the girls have
slammed Razorlight, branded Dirty Pretty Things “the worst band in the world” and called Pete Doherty “just a celebrity who’s renowned for being a smack head”
Meanwhile a new film about the man who said "The future of rock belongs to women" is to be screened at next month's Toronto Film Festival. "About A Son" brings together content from 25 hours of interviews with Kurt Cobain carried out by Michael Azzerad, set over footage of Aberdeen, Olympia and Seattle with original music by Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Nirvana producer Steve Fisk. Gigwise reports:
The film, directed by AJ Schnack, is described as a “dream-like account of Cobain's own successes and failures, thoughts and experiences, allowing the audience unprecedented intimacy with a legendary figure in popular culture.”
I don't know if it's a coincidence that Courtney Love's diaries are due to be published in a couple of months (as reported a few weeks ago in this column), but the two accounts should be quite interesting side by side.
The Eraser is never far from the top of my listening pile these days, for those of you who haven't yet partaken here's the brand new video for 'Harrowdown Hill':
And for those of you who are already converts, here's a special treat:
Seeing clips like that make me wish that the UK had TV shows where musicians could go in and play acoustic sets. There seem to be very few shows for music left now that CD:UK and TOTP have been cancelled, and not all of them let the bands play live due to logistics and money. I was lucky enough to get to play twice on each of those shows with various artists and it's a shame to see them go. Hopefully the gap they leave will be felt by the audiences and something good will be created to fill it.
This Week's Ten
1. Harrowdown Hill - Thom Yorke
2. Pennyroyal Tea - Nirvana
3. Coma White - Marilyn Manson
4. Madonna, Sean, And Me - Sonic Youth
5. Strung To Your Ribcage - Biffy Clyro
6. X-ing Off The Days - Queen Adreena
7. Judith - A Perfect Circle
8. Positive Tension - Bloc Party
9. Glass Ceiling - Metric
10. Us - Regina Spektor