•There’s been debate over whether Rebecca Black’s video “Friday” is so bad that it has to be parody, but it’s not so different from all of the by-and-for-kids pop emerging from “the Orlando scene” and the like ever since the Mousketeers started stealthily taking over music in the late 90s (causing me to tune out for about a decade, but I’m attentive again).
• Now this is definitely a parody – and indeed I think it might be the best fusion of original song and lounge-ified Richard Cheese sound of any of his songs: "Welcome to the Jungle."
•More ambiguous is the huge, operatic, and disturbing Puddles the Clown – seen here as Nybakken and I saw him last year, touring with the live Aqua Teen Hunger Force show and accompanied by a dancing gorilla girl – finishing his alarming medley of “My Heart Will Go On” and “Enter Sandman.”
•The band MeWithoutYou hits enough spiritual themes to be very popular with Christian audiences (as I learned from Daniel Radosh). There’s a certain Bible boot camp feel to their video for the great manic song “Nice & Blue, Pt. 2.” I am even more impressed, though, by their more recent song “The Fox, the Crow, and the Cookie.” I imagine hipsters sing songs like that to their children.
Rather than being Christians, though, the Weiss brothers at the heart of the band were raised Sufi Muslim by parents who'd converted from Episcopalianism and Judaism. (Might that explain the line "Let the crescent cookie rise"?) Eclectic.
The song’s story itself may come from ancient Southwest Asia -- somewhere around Pakistan -- but reaches the West through Aesop, itself a reminder that ancient societies were not wholly self-contained, despite fear of globalization erupting anew circa 1999. And again in 2001.
•Speaking of Muslim rockers, anyone (who I already know) who’s keen to be my guest Saturday, April 2 to see Muslim convert (and vegan and Turkey-dweller) Peter Murphy, formerly of Bauhaus, perform his (far more beautiful) solo stuff at the Highline Ballroom should (be the first person to) let me know. (I wonder if there’ll be a moment of extra applause from the audience for the Middle East uprisings, comparable to the big hand for a fleeting reference to Tunisia – just a mention of the country, not even its politics – by singer Nassima at Carnegie Hall when I saw her there last month.)
•And if MeWithoutYou and Peter Murphy make you feel more comfortable about culture getting eclectic, you’re ready to watch a video by a Mexican rock band I’ve mentioned before (pointed out to me by Michael Malice – an immigrant himself): Hello Seahorse!’s “Won’t Say Anything.” We are not so different, you and I, senorita. (And Gerard Perry points out that even the Irish can joke about the IRA. World peace through global pop culture, as an anime company slogan used to put it.)
P.S. If anyone’s wondering: truth be told, if I had to distill everything I actually respect about rock into one (relatively simple, non-postmodern) band, it would likely sound less like New Wave (often as I praise that) and more like Guadalcanal Diary, the Connells, or Crowded House.