On peoples dismissal of the Arctic Monkeys Simon
says: "Whether it’s kingmaker/cud/wonderstuff, or ruts/members ,to me it's no different to someone saying 'Dizzee Rascal, Kano, that's just Derek B and Rebel MC all over again--more black blokes, boasting over beats, heard it all before.'"
One can't help but wonder: isn't this Simon's exact approach to almost everything house and techno has produced for oh, how many years now? Certainly as long as I've been reading and probably longer. Oddly, in the previous post he says "where are the vanguardist bastions on behalf of which one would launch one's volleys of indignation and disgust? dance music..has for the last half-decade or so been recycling its own history as assiduously as rock has"
If you accept that the final statement is true, then you're left with the question, why in that case dismiss one and embrace the latter? That is, if these Arctic Monkeys pieces really are more than 1000 word posts turning gut personal preferences into a grand genre dismissing theories.
When Simon compared the survival of indie-rock to that of metal, again you wonder, where does dance differ in this fairly straight up analysis of alternative genres that have survived the test of time? Either it's young and it's still going or it's old and it's still going! It's certainly as popular as metal if not moreso. How is electronic music somehow not, like metal and indie, "a fixture on the music culture menu now".
Another thing which strikes me is the extent to which Simon fails to see the relationship between indie and dance in the UK as it currently stands; it's surely more harmonious and close than ever before. If the Arctics, whatever I think of them, have a lyric about "banging tunes on the dancefloor" then if anything that's a sign that they are of the new generation of rock fans for whom dance music is anything but alien. We live in the age of Erol Alkan and Optimo (to name 2). There is more crossover between dance and rock than ever before, and the only way in which that's damning to dance music is if you believe it's tainted by association.
Now this may validate Simon's point about dance being "just another leisure pursuit" but not when you consider dance's alleged superior in this respect is indie! It may have been an acceptable point in praise of grime, but it's ridiculous when eulogising about NME rock music. At the very least (the very least) it's impossible to see one of the genres as a clear victor in such a comparison.
Also you would think, to read Blissblog, that there is some exact symmetry between "the generation who liked rave as it HURTLED FORWARD in the early 90s" and "the generation who now like the Arctic Monkeys". As if nobody now listens to dance music and that cultural space has been neatly filled by the Arctic Monkeys/Libertines generation. What a neat little switch!
I'm left with the impression which should probably have been blindingly obvious to begin with, that Simon is not a particularly big fan of certain genres and thus the revision of them does little for him. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, but why are some genres dismissed for being revisionist while simultaneously Blissblog complains about how narrow minded people can be when they dismiss music for being revisionist? Why are some genres dismissed for recycling themselves while Simon rightly points out that innovation is often undetected by those external to a particular scene?
Surely anyone can see that house and techno are far far more prone to the latter failure of the imagination than rock music. Also isn't this a major factor to consider when Simon asks why it is that indie allegedly outlived dance and es? Though I think "outsold" or "outmarketed" might be a better word, and I don't mean either in a negative sense.
My own personal opinion is that I think the Arctic Monkeys are aesthetically pretty off-putting, though I guess I'm in the camp of people who just can't support something that's such white bread rock and roll, or more accurately, I can't support something which seems to revive rock as music of the arrogant English bloke. Maybe there are similar attitudes in bands like the Specials, but I just don't see the social conscience in the Arctic Monkeys, not least because it's difficult to believe in socially conscious rock music selling thousands to a generation who aren't socially conscious.
I also feel, reading the sometimes nasty ILM threads, that Simon is the victim of just how readable and well written his posts are, and that this has contributed to a scenario where he holds forth on almost anything in the popular music sphere.
I don't think I'm wrong to point out that Blissblog sometimes can go out on too many limbs, because it does attempt to be more than simply the blog of one writer. Again there's nothing wrong with that and alot of us would love to be able to keep that up so determinedly. But is there a sort of eclecticism brought on in part by being a notable writer, or does someone in that scenario just feel shoehorned into having an opinion on everything, all at the same time? Maybe it's addictive knowing that whatever you're writing about, people give your contextualising and theorising on foreign pastures you once trod more credence.
Or is it just (and this is only intended as a minor jab) that if you removed the dismissals of other genres from Simon's Arctic Monkeys posts, (let's call these "his past"), that minus the controversy of the apparent about turn, they would read more like something in one of the broadsheets? Record collection rock criticism?