During my recent respite from the blog, I had or heard quite a few conversations that were variations on the theme, “_______ sounds an awful lot like _________”. Let’s fill in the blanks, tie up some loose ends, and give a sneak peek of writing to come.
1. “Honey Hush” by Foghat sounds an awful lot like “Train Kept A’ Rollin” by Aerosmith.
Yes, it does. Unjustifiably and head-scratchingly so. Here, listen first.
I’m not gonna post the Aerosmith version of “Train Kept A’ Rollin” here. Or The Yarbirds version, which is really the basis for every modern-day remake of it. I’m not even gonna post the original version here, done by the Johnny Burnette Trio here(all three are hotlinked for your consideration, though). I am, however, going to post the Johnny Burnette Trio’s original version of “Honey Hush”.
Lots of people covered “Honey Hush” close to the bone, with rockin’ results(Fleetwood Mac and Paul McCartney, notably), so it just doesn’t make any sense to play “Train Kept A’ Rollin” and sing the lyrics to “Honey Hush”. Foghat even had to put in the album’s notes that “Honey Hush” contained an “interpolation” of “Train Kept A’ Rollin”, a crediting device usually reserved for samples on a Busta Rhymes album.
The members of Foghat, like seemingly every other British child of a similar age, were in love with every blues album they could get their hands on, so I thought that maybe some independent record label cut a version with a similar nod to “Train Kept A’ Rollin”, but the annals of history doesn’t yield one, and I can’t help but to think that Foghat knew exactly what they were doing. Fucked if I know why they did it. It does beat the hell out of “Fool for the City”, which I hate so very much that I have to sing “Fool for Your Titties” instead of the regular lyrics just to feel alive.
2. Of Monsters And Men sounds an awful lot like Arcade Fire.
Well, no. They do sound irritatingly similar to Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers, two bands that I can’t stand that are slowly collecting other bands, Katamari style, into an entire genre that I can’t stand. More on why later.
Of Monsters and Men have only been around since 2010, and their big break came after winning a talent contest in their home country in Iceland. Oh, and their big break came about because some A&R people were looking for “the next Arcade Fire”. Here’s Arcade Fire in 2010:
And here’s Of Monsters and Men in 2010:
You make the call!
Oh, you’d rather me make the call, because you’re reading this and not writing this? That’s fair. They sound nothing alike.
If you saw a still shot of each band, you might guess that they might sound alike, but it would be a total guess. One more step, watching a video on mute instead of a still picture, would clue most people in that the bands are different. Arcade Fire play their instruments with a frantic sense of urgency with what seems at times like a bare-bones level of proficiency pulled from the punk rock playbook; no one in Of Monsters and Men is going full Rick Wakeman on that Harmonium, but there is both visibly and aurally a lack of urgency in their musicianship. In their music, too; Arcade Fire’s music has a real focal point in each song and uses dynamics, harmony, and dynamics to get you there. There won’t be a surprise in a song by Of Monsters and Men.
You like Of Monsters and Men? Fine by me. You should like what you like. But sorry, Iceland; you are crazy.
3. Lana Del Ray sounds an awful lot like the soundtrack to a teenager cutting herself.
I do make edits to my posts, and I would probably keep them in draft form and edit them forever if I wasn’t careful. Here’s a joke from a future post that I edited away after typing it out and reworking it a couple of times in an early draft:
“Amanda Palmer’s pussy won the audition to play V’Ger in J.J. Abram’s latest Star Trek movie.”
Crude humor and vague referencing? Sounds like the perfect joke. You might have even laughed. I sure as hell did. But as much as I dislike her music and her business philosophy, I can’t just attack her vag straight up. It doesn’t make the argument I’m trying to make any clearer, and it doesn’t focus my vitriol toward the art. She might be a nice lady, and her pussy might be the Tupelo honey Van Morrison sings about for all I know.
As someone that thinks of the crudest things imaginable as a humor reflex and as a coping mechanism, it is my duty to have a filter. As a writer, it is my duty to craft my voice in the manner I see fit. The fitness of my voice, and of anyone’s voice or (cringing as I type this)”brand” is in the edit, not the rough draft.
I recently made a new Twitter friend who goes by the name of wife_mustard(she studied French at Ole Miss, so some idiot named her that instead of dijon_mustard); you should say “hi” to her because she loves football, was kind enough to entertain a Spotify mix I made for her, and because, most of all, she went head on with a sociopath and his goons whose Twitter feed was rape joke after rape joke after rape joke. “Joke” isn’t even a good word to describe them; they were more like if a Tapout t-shirt douche started writing the jokes on Popsicle sticks.
I’ve written some horribly inappropriate jokes(this one about Estelle Getty still makes me laugh), and I thought the above Amanda Palmer joke was funny in my head as it was forming. I know better to have posted it, though. I don’t wanna be that guy, or write that blog.
So, Mrs. Mustard commented that Lana Del Ray sounded like “please slit my wrists music”. I countered with her music sounding “twatty”. We are both right, but I hope wife_mustard wasn’t too offended…
4. An AC/DC song sounds an awful lot like an AC/DC song.
I’m only going to say two things about this, for now, but plenty more later.
1) This statement was made in defense of Nickelback.
2) In my first attempt to actually really listen to Nickelback I started with this song and found it so gleefully stupid that I, an adult man, peed in my shorts. Not too much, but more than an adult should. Give it a go. More later.
5. “Blood On The Leaves” sounds an awful lot like “Runaway”.
Oh God, Yeezus is good, good, gooooooooood. It’s an album full of robots short-circuting at how full of himself Kanye is. It’s Daft-Punk-downloaded-a-virus-to-their-helmets-coscripted-by-Darius-James-and-David-Lynch good. It’s like if Olivia airbrushed some Paris hookers to fuck Kanye to death, but they failed and Trent Reznor wrote an album about it.
And the best part is that it’s hardly derivative of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy at all. “Blood On The Leaves” gets close, both with the setup song(the weed-and-sex scented adventures with Justin Vernon in the brilliant “I’m In It” sets up “Blood On The Leaves” like the also-Vernon-y “Devil In A New Dress” did “Runaway”) and the songs’ construction(long and sparse at times with extended vocorder solos). It’s forgivable. More to come, but if this is the first time you’re listening to this, I’m so excited for you. Put on some headphones if you can. So good.