We spent all of class today watching American Hardcore, a documentary on the hardcore punk culture of the eighties. It’s not over yet, but I came away with some initial impressions, regarding the subject matter. I’ve never been much of a fan of punk music. Hardcore punk music, apparently, I find even less attractive. Call me a traditionalist, but when I think “music,” I think… Melody. Even harmony. I’m a rather shoddy guitar player, but if I cranked my amp to full distortion and did the same to my vocals, all the while holding a E minor-chord and screaming, I could put on a performance (somewhat) equivalent to famous hardcore bands. What I’d be missing, of course, is the attitude, and as SS Decontrol famously emphasized, that’s what makes a true punk band.
I actually like a lot of the punk subculture, especially the philosophical underpinnings. Do-It-Yourself is huge, as is questioning authority. They’re both equally valid and important ideas, and are epitomized (to me) in blogs and zines. Zines are more legitimate, since you yourself staple them together, but I’ve talked about that already. The problem I have with punk is when it goes beyond the actual creators of art (credit to Prof. Massanari for the link idea). Punk, more than almost anything else, is dead when it’s popular. If something is the anti-pop, then it cancels itself out when every pop producer in the world gets their hands on it.
I guess I’m talking myself in circles. The point is, and this is just my opinion, that there are two kinds of Punk. Artists and producers of thought or media are Punks. With a capital P. They provide the impetus and passion behind the movement, and they actually contribute to an alternative way of thinking. On the other hand, kids who just want to look cool to scare their parents are regular old punks. They don’t get any capitalization. How embarrassing. I suppose that they contribute to some culture in a way, but if anything they just feed the hungry beast that is mainstream culture with once-legitimate, now-hackneyed ideas and styles.
I thought briefly about making the mash-ups today punk based. Then I realized I would be contradicting my opening statements, so instead, I’m posting anything but. Half the fun of mash-ups is how they deal with pop music anyway.
Starting things off loud, this first track is fairly dance-oriented, but it does that very well. There’s not too much “DJ/Electronic” sound muddling up the mashed tracks (which I often see as simply a smokescreen to hide bad mash-up skills).
Next is a direct affront to punk, featuring Blink 182! This track doesn’t use them too much (thank goodness), but if you want to listen to what dead punk rots into, check them out. I include all emo in that category, as well.
Finally, this last track features a perennial favorite on this blog (I’ll let you figure out who– it’s not hard). It also has a band called “Bonobo,” which initially excited me, since I hoped it could be used as a “gorilla” reference. Unfortunately, I quickly remembered that bonobos are chimps, but at least they’re still primates. If this gorilla-drought continues, I may have to change the name of the blog to something less *ahem* clever.
We shall see.