Thursday, 5 November 2009

Something Welsh



This band are pretty much the band I wanted to be. They spent nearly 10 years on alternative circuit, but then had a Nirvana-like breakthrough, ironically enough, after one of their core members disappeared/committed suicide. I much prefer what is considered their more commercial stuff - it's much better produced, and the songs are much better. Like this one. (Watch it fullscreen!)

They're a very political band, left-wing, and somehow very Welsh (Almost exact contemporaries of mine.) They took a lot of stick over their support for Cuba, a song about Baby Elian, a tour that started (finished?) in Havana, etc. A pile of great tunes, which, somehow, I feel really reflect me, and the Wales I grew/grow up in. Their music makes me feel we have a lot of shared experience. For a while here in the UK they were massive - somehow I feel very proud of them. It's definitely not to everyone's taste though......and, as ever, I like their more commercial, well-produced stuff.

"The world is full of refugees,
just like you and just like me......."

Uncommon sentiment, sadly. But they made it an anthem of sorts.

4 comments:

socrates said...

This isn't my cup of tea, but I appreciate the social conscience part. I could also see this type of music doing well on the American stations, like soft rock and alternative. I can personally not enjoy a brand of music but still accept that it is art and enjoyable.

socrates said...

oops, tired, kinda belting out my posts so I can get to sleep. I can see how others would find this enjoyable, even if it isn't to me. Please don't hate me. Long live the Welsh! God bless you lads!

the_last_name_left said...

I don't mind in the least if someone doesn't like some particular music. And you're right - it's towards the softer end of the Manics' stuff - the more commercial (and very successful) stuff. A lot of their original fans found it too soft - too commercial.

ALice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, all that? Y - I quite like it....The Seattle Sound? That's my brother's thing really...... Nirvana were easily my favourites of that crowd - but again, I prefer the more commercial Nevermind over anything else they did. The production is just fantastic on that record, though fans of the earlier stuff doubtless dislike it for that same reason.

At some point, rock slips over into self-parody. Leotard-rock, I call it. Guitar-solos on podiums.....lit as if they're the 2nd coming. Spinal Tap is never far away. Judging by the supposed suicide note, that's perhaps what Kurt Cobain was terrified of becoming? They did a brilliant job of avoiding it imo. Though I think Kurt inevitably contributed to heroin-chic and suicide-chic and mythologising of troubled rockstars. Not his fault though, really, I suppose. I really like some FooFighters.

I was struck by how very strange it is to go to America, because music sounds so different there. The same music sounds different, I mean. It's a quite different physical and social environment, and so everything sounds different, I guess. Rock makes more sense to me when I hear it there.....as does Rap. Blues, and Bluegrass and Country sound more "real". Over here, they sound "american"....over there they sound "at home". Obviously, I suppose, but it's odd.

socrates said...

It's easy to stereotype when one is in another country or group or whatever. I know a bit about England and more so of Ireland from being there. I mean culture wise. There's a lot of mob mentality which comes into play. It appears easier for some Europeans to blam everything on America and not own up for their own complicity in illegal wars and a generally focked up world.

It's always fun to talk music with people we meet. It's tough to put into words. What individuals like about it perhaps has to do with their own experiences. Maybe it's akin to the sense of smell or taste. Maybe it relates to the adage that you can't teach old dogs new tricks.