2009年12月16日 星期三


二章:Blame Sweden

And Canada of course.

A while back I wrote complaining about the internationalization of english in music as a means of allowing artists to be servants of power. I talked about Hitler Youth tryout (unsuccessful, I guess) and Canadian alumni (when you graduate from Canada do they give you a US passport?) Avril Lavigne and tried to compare the kind of thing she was doing with your average run of the mill mildly successful pop act, Panic at the Disco. What I forgot to do was take the blame off of L.A. Reid and Lou Perlman and put some of it on Sweden.

Yes, people like Reid and Perlman are the true enemies of talent and quality. They are interested in creating acts without talent so they can be replaced again when this shows through and the newness wears off, permanently allowing an industry like theirs to survive. Celebrity and notoriety used to spring from talent, not marketing. People would want to work with you because they thought you were good, not because they thought they could make you good. Finding a 16 year old who you think is hot (sicko) and can kind of sing, and assembling a script for her to read for the next two years is just sad. Although I can't claim to have ever watched an American Idol (or any other version) in entirety, I have to believe the popularity was/is in some sense a repudiation. (Or just another shallow step in our permanent drive for everyone to be on tv and be famous. Either way, you cynical prick.)

Anyway, these dicks like Perlman are the enemy, but they get these Swedish people to 'produce' as well. Well, if some american wants to shit on the language and make everyone sound about as complicated as the beatles on drugs in their early years (my michelle...boop boop boop. Was it a children's record?) I can deal with that, but cross-border warfare touches on the blog's premise, heretofore unstated, (or at least the title, kinda.)

We don't even need to go into the britney back catalog (or most pop songs from the past 15-20 years, before that you have the doughnut hole before you get back to abba days), we can take the high road and go for something like The Knife, Heartbeats.


One night to be confused
One night to speed up truth
We had a promise made
Four hands and then away
Both under influence
We had divine sense
To know what to say
Mind is a razorblade

To call for hands of above to lean on
Would not be good enough for me, no

One night of magic rush
The start - a simple touch
One night to push and scream
And then relief
Ten days of perfect tunes
The colors red and blue
We had a promise made
We were in love

To call for hands of above to lean on
Wouldn't be good enough for me, no
To call for hands of above to lean on
Wouldn't be good enough for me, oh
So, maybe you look at these lyrics and see poetic stylings. No, you have fob english here. And by fob I mean foreigner english (no contracting "would not", odd violations of grammar that are characteristically english learner mistakes ("choices") "mind is a razorblade", odd collocations "speed up truth", short simple sentences, germanic cadences, etc)

So, you probably look at "mind is a razorblade" and think the best of them, but I know better. I know Swedish when I see it. So the next time you hear some pop song and think about the gap you have with mainstream culture, or reminisce about when you were younger it was the same, you can probably partially start to think about blaming the swedish, because they really didn't get your culture. Their words didn't match up with yours, they were silly, and ungrammatical, and non-local, and maybe even non-linear (but probably just more germanic.)

Contrast: Motion City Soundtrack, My favorite accident


I got the message long before you said you knew
There was no chance of us at all
With no velocity and empty-headed hard and far-too-long
I spent two years alone with you
Just when I thought I had forgotten
You came back soft without a sound

Long winded promises of future company
Up close the sound remains the same
Without the reign of terror over every momentary change
We are exactly as before

You hit the road and left me an ocean
I can't swim in the silence of your skin-skin please let me in
Bedsides the time I had to forget you
Inside no chance of us at all

"reign of terror", god forbid we actually make reference to anything. Long sentences with meaning rolled over lines to create texture and amiguity. Actual english poetic stylings (mind is a razorblade vs. long winded promises of future company, up close the sound remains the same), yknow things that show a sign of being part of a cultural community (a language community), not just a language user.

It's very difficult to get local. There's a million places where you can mess up. That is if you're writing slow pussy shit like Motion City Sountrack (or Craig David). Sweden can't really keep up with Tupac.


Born in the ghetto as a hustler older
straight soldier bucking at them busters
No matter how you try niggas never die
We just retaliate with hate then we multiply
see me striking down the block hittin' corners
Mobbin' like a motherfucker livin' like I wanna
Ain't no stoppin' at the red lights I'm sideways
Thug Life motherfucker crime pays

astray? "I got raw when I came to Cali", you just don't hear that in Sweden. gang-related? Do they have gangs in Sweden?

The point? If you're writing music that can be outsourced to Sweden you're probably doing something wrong. It's our fault as much as theirs, and by ours I mean, the organs of power. Didn't seem to have much effect on the people actually using their brains and not writing tunes for Barney or the teletubbies. Sweden can't really compete with Panic or Tupac. But they can write Shakira's english lyrics for her (blind leading the blind, as if shakira wouldn't already be god awful awkward enough without being forced to wear flesh-colored full-body suits and literally howl about she-wolves in cages, really, really?) And she was such a nice girl.


What happened? Where have all the cowboys gone? I guess it's inevitable.


I was a daisy fresh girl and look what you've done to me.


conmigo nada es fácil