Friday, April 22, 2005

I, I


For me, it was never about pissing anyone off. I didn’t start listening to punk rock to rebel against my folks or teachers or anything like that. It was about finding something that managed, finally, to articulate some of what I was feeling and latching on because I felt terribly alone. The urgency of need and vacancy, the hours spent hunched in front of the stereo picking out songs that I felt perfectly represented what was going on in my aching heart- songs that I felt were expressions that I didn’t have the ability to put forth myself.

At some point, I realized that I don’t like everyone who is into the same bands as me- there are assholes, f’r example, who are way into Jawbox. My relationship with music has changed over the years because that old urgency has tapered off. I’ve mellowed, realized that the songs on those tapes and CD’s don’t mean the same thing to the cute punk girl at the show as they do to me, no matter how much I might think or wish that they do. But man, talking about rock bands is still a lot of fun. It’s not about the projection of emotion so much any more as it is the story behind the whole thing- the family trees and ex-members-of becoming surrogate folk tales to be traded back and forth, added on to and shared.

INXS- Kick

INXS was post-Van Halen but pre-Sex Pistols for me- weird enough to appeal to my new wave-ish leanings (they had a Vision Psycho Stick on the album cover! Skateboarding is RAD! Yeah!) but easily accessible to a kid like me growing up in New Hampshire. None of the kids at school, the ones who were all about ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ gave me too much shit about it. It’s funny to think that like the Lep and Motley Crue, bands that were essentially bubblegum pop, were regarded highly by the tough kids.

(Q: What has nine arms and sucks? A: Def Leppard.)

‘Kick’ blew up because of the singles. ‘New Sensation,’ ‘Devil Inside’ and ‘Need You Tonight’ are all still very good. Time hasn’t been as kind to ‘Never Tear Us Apart’. In fact, time hasn’t been so kind to the second side of the record- the only good song on the latter half is ‘Calling All Nations,’ which has a cool, fast strummed guitar lead that doesn’t sound a thing like the rest of the band’s stuff. I’ll totally give it up for side A- in addition to the singles, the record starts off with bombastic ‘Guns In The Sky,’ which I recognized as an anti-SDI screed at the tender age of fourteen. ‘Mediate’ is the INXS entry to the ‘stealing from “Subterrenean Homesick Blues”’ subgenre (though I still like R.E.M.’s better, perhaps the best). Hell, even ‘The Loved One’ isn’t too bad. A hell of an eight song EP, anyway.


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