Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Black Licorice

I hate Lynryd Skynyrd. I could not go to a party, to a friend’s house, anywhere, for years, without hearing goddamn “That Smell,” or goddammitydamn “Freebird.” The whole guitar-noodling thing, the deedada deedada deedada of guitar wankery. Stupid the sound, stupid the attitude, stupid the posturing, stupid the stupid.

I hate Lynryd Skynyrd. But not as much as I hate The Doors. I really hate The Doors. Lynryd Skynyrd had one song I could tolerate, “You Got That Right,” though I suspect that toleration had more to do with one Charlotte Gramercy and a weekend in West Virginia than with the song itself, but there is not one single Doors song that doesn’t compel me to change the station or leave the room. “Mama, I want to mmmwah,” screams Jim Morrison, thinking he’s revealing depths of the human condition. I really hate Jim Morrison. Jim Morrison gave bad poetry a bad name. The music is worse. God I hate The Doors.

One of my three or four favorite albums of the recent past is Z from My Morning Jacket. There are many influences heard on Z, but two, the most prominent, are Lynryd Skynyrd and The Doors. What do I make of this? *

90% of the music I hear (and the books I read and the people I meet) I like or dislike with varying intensities of indifference. Of the remaining 10% that I either love or hate, I find what I hate to be more fascinating than that that I love. I suspect that although both the love and the hate are self-evident to me, I find the need to explore that which I hate more urgent than exploring what I love.

Part of that is trying to reconcile the arbitrariness of my tastes with a compulsion for consistence. If I hate The Doors, if I hate Lynyrd Skynyrd, if I love My Morning Jacket’s Z, am I open-minded or logically wobbly? I don’t feel obliged to dislike a band influenced by bands I hate, but I do feel a disconnect. Compound that with my natural and opposite instincts towards coherence and frustrating that coherence, and there’s the paradox.

One thing I have learned over time: if I hate a band (or a book or a person) like I hate black licorice, I need to examine what it is I hate because something interesting is going on. There is a difference between hate and contempt. Contempt takes no energy, no time, no effort. Nobody sounds like The Doors but The Doors, but there are a kazillion bands that sound like Franz Ferdinand, who I don't hate, don't consider worth hating. Which means something.

Have I mentioned I hate Mozart?

* Do go to MMJ website where you can hear two of the songs from Z, but unfortunately not my favorite, the glorious “Gideon,” which I read as the most magnificent anti-war song I’ve heard from this current generation. I may be wrong on the anti-war, but I’m positive about the magnificence.

MMJ’s Z has been heavily reviewed, heavily praised. Here, here, and here, and elsewhere.

The singer’s voice, goodness, the singer’s voice. Really, a remarkable album from a remarkable band. No one sounds like them. I suspect somewhere someone really hates them.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ, stop whining. So you hate two rock bands? Boo hoo. Get over it. Rock wouldn't be the same without those two bands.

Damn, you're whiny.

1:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home