I love this new definition of punk. The original definition of punk was generally a music and style that broke all of the rules. Now new stuff that sounds like old punk is stale. The fashion, the instrumentation, the concepts are all ridiculously overdone. So the new definition of punk is that you don’t have to adhere to the traditional rules of making music. So there is a lot of stuff that sounds unlike traditional punk, like The Music Makes Me Sick, that is listed as “alternative/punk”. The link to the mp3 actually shows that as the genre. The Music Makes Me Sick is definitely not old-school punk. I’m sure there are a lot of people that don’t need a lesson in the new definition of punk, but I have recently found it fascinating and liberating. I was certainly getting tired of trying to listen to new old school punk and trying to get into it. I was starting to feel old. “Am I supposed to like this? Because I don’t.”
I just love the idea of laying critical concepts against light hearted musical landscapes. I feel like I’m listening to an ABBA song and then I realize they really are saying, “The music makes me sick. I stop to listen when you start to sing.” I guess what I’m really saying is that Ella Blixt and Robert Kretzschmar gave me permission to reject the idea that punk has to sound like punk.
When I started this blog, I was sort of in this place with music that this song was written about. Where is the good Indie music. I wanted to do a blog where I reviewed a CD a week by an Indie band. So I started looking for Indie Music. I ran into a lot of crap in my initial searches. And a lot of bitterness. I kept finding posts by Indie musicians saying stuff like, “Why am I not making it? I sound like those guys on the radio.” Part of it truly was that they did not sound like what was on the radio. It was terrible. But I was really more bothered by the aspiration. The stuff on the radio generally sounds like a million other things. Very little originality. And the repetition is agonizing. Is this really the best we can do? Diversity spread around the world in an instant via the internet. The freedom of whatever we want to listen to and I was listening to a bunch of bad reproductions of top 40 hits and classic genres.
I don’t know if It’s a Musical is great. Maybe. Have you ever heard the Scorpions early stuff? It’s a Musical sounds a million times better than that. But I do know that this song had my attention from the beginning. I suppose if a new old school punk band wrote these lyrics and set them to traditional hardcore punk and played their instruments as well as It’s a Musical, then it probably would be just as good. But isn’t that it. “It’s all been done yes. We’ve heard it before.” If all these factors came together in this hypothetical punk band, wouldn’t it occur to them that they were doing something that had been done before? But setting this line to traditional hardcore punk would be outrageously funny: “Do you really think it sounds better when it is so loud?” There is so much noise in a traditional punk song, you really can’t tell if anyone is screwing it up.
All that set aside, this song is infectiously happy. It’s very satisfying in so many ways. The instrumentation. The lyrics. An actual bridge. I watched the video on their website and at first I was like, “What the hell is this?” But by the end, I liked the video too. The harmonies are awesome. The sparse arrangement with very little noise to fall back on. That’s a tough thing to do when you are going to really emphasize intimate harmonies. If you can’t play, hear or keep time, it falls apart. This doesn’t fall apart anywhere.