Thursday, March 12, 2009

We'll be at the drive-in

Emo, to me, is the hair metal of now

--John Congleton

I heard many great quotes from the Paper Chase's John Congleton when I interviewed him for POST. He knows what he's talking about, and he knows how to articulate it extremely well. Thinking about his quote above, then watching the video for Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me" again, and then thinking about the shouty mall emo/screamo bands I've come across in the last six years, I wonder how this collison of emo, goth, hardcore, metal, the Warped Tour, Pro-Tools, and eyeliner will age. I think it's safe to say it will not age well. At all.

If you just go off of sound, a song like "Talk Dirty to Me" is simply a glossy, almost power pop version of a number of Sex Pistols songs like "EMI" and "Pretty Vacant." There is no screaming or whining vocals -- just the epitome of 80s hair metal meant to be played in stadiums. The song itself is very much of its time, and while there's better glossy power pop out there (start with the Raspberries and Cheap Trick for starters), this song is not bad at all. To my ears, this kind of stuff has aged decently.

Now I turn to exhibit B: a video by A Skylit Drive called "All it Takes for Your Dreams to Come True." Yes, this song is upbeat and energetic, but it is filled with very teenager-like, angsty vibes. Of course this is perfect when you're pissed at the world, but is it really something you can sing along to? Sorry, screaming along to is not the same thing as singing along. Besides, who the hell can really sing along to vocals that high-pitched?

There's nothing wrong with angst in poppy songs. Some of the greatest songs of all time that made the world unite have angst in them. The deal is, I highly, highly doubt any song from the catalog of Chiodos, Hawthorne Heights, or Bring Me the Horizon will be seriously considered on par or better than songs by Nirvana, the Clash, Dylan, the Stones, or Hendrix.

So this all makes me wonder: what could possibly deflate this beast that is a train wreck considered "post-hardcore" for an audience that doesn't like to be called emo? Or have we just laid that hope to rest since it seems the Internet has more of an impact than even Nevermind did in 1991?

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