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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

"It makes you think it's going to be about weed, but then it's actually just about Narnia."
Still more serious consideration for Lazy Sunday, the Chronicles of Narnia rap.

Getting back to this... How come nobody ever says, 'I wish rock n roll was funnier. I wish it could get back to the whimsy of yore?' Essentially, how come nobody ever pines for the golden days of Kiss?

***

Josh says, "Er, what about the Darkness' first record?" (I'm paraphrasing)

Indeed. In fact, I'd go so far as to say, exactly.

That was a whimsical record. And that's why people either completely dismissed it or entirely over-analyzed it. It was like whenever somebody comes forward with one of those "something weird in the sky" video tapes. The barely visible object is either explained away as a weather balloon or hailed as an attempt to contact us by some advanced race. The truth is probably more interesting than the former, but last revolutionary than the latter.

The Darkness are not aliens (at least in the outer space sense). But they probably might as well be, given that they specialize in something that rock doesn't generally recognize, namely humour. Rock likes to think it's funny, but it very rarely is. Rock is probably way more like Velvet Revolver (funny, but only unintentionally so) than it's like Blink 182 (though said band was not nearly as funny as it thought it was). In fact, I'd go so far as to say there are few more humourless cultural forces than rock music circa the 21st century. Honest to goodness whimsy is almost non-existent.

Someone out there is, right this minute, preparing to write in to inform me of the sly wit and/or outright 'silliness' of their favourite indie band. In response I am, at this very minute, preparing to go stick my head in a toilet. Whimsy is not to be confused with wit. Or satire. Or 'sly observations about the human condition.' Or putting David Cross in your video. Or all of the 'funny' bits in Radiohead's Knives Out video. Actually, maybe this just has nothing to do with irony.

I think I argued the same thing awhile ago, but I don't think there was ever much irony in the Darkness. I think they just wanted to have some fun. Perhaps a laugh. And when something like that falls to earth the locals inevitably end up standing around looking at it in stunned confusion. People can't remember ever seeing anything like it.

This is, ultimately, why the Barenaked Ladies got run out of town. You can argue all you want about whether they're any good at writing pop songs, but what really pissed the wrong people off was that they seemed only barely removed from Weird Al. (Well, all right, what really pissed Canadians off was that these knuckleheads might be representing us south of the border and, well, we kind of have some self-esteem issues and...)

(Funny was also given a bad name by the 80s. Huey Lewis videos for instance. Then Nirvana came along and the rest is history.)

Rock stars are sometimes funny, what with the booze and the drugs and the sex and the ill-informed opinions on current events. But rock music and its particular cultural is rarely whimsical. By comparison, country is hysterical. And rap might make you pee your pants.

I don't think I want to argue that David Lee Roth needs to take over rock n roll and make some changes. That seems a short-sighted solution. But perhaps rock could use its own Chronicles of Narnia. Even though I can't imagine it would be as good.

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