Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The unforecasted storm

This month is the 25th anniversary of the forming of the Smiths. When you give yr rare Australian 1988 Hatful of Hollow reissue a celebratory spin, think of me. The Guardian has a couple of remembrances, an essay here and a top ten list there. Possibly the best point:

The sense of possibility that their best songs contain, the possibility that a 'simple' pop song could be as potent and as intimate, as literate and as allusive, as any other kind of great writing. You can hear that same sense of possibility in the lyrics of Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys, another writer who deals in the poetry of the parochial, who paints from a quintessentially English - indeed definably northern [sic] - palette.

Having seen the Arctic Monkeys at First Ave last week* I can say that this is true. Turner is the poet laureate of blog rock and it shows in his performance posture; hands clasped behind back, eyes downcast, mouth close enough to the mic so that no syllable will be lost, he doesn't sing so much as declaim. Morrissey tossed words like belligerent, tremulous and conjugal into Smiths songs and made it look easy; Turner manages the same (balaclava, escapologist) and demonstrates a Mozzian fondness for enjambment ("This House is a Circus"). He's also a mean internal rhymer from way back: There's a circle of witches--ambitiously vicious they are/ Our attempts to remind them of reason won't get us that far ("If You Were There, Beware"). It's not quite "cemetry gates/Keats and Yeats," but it'll do.

*The Moongkeys were totes upstaged by Be Your Own Pet. Jemima Pearl flailed and thrashed and banged her head around so much she threw up. Lady must be killing her inner ear equilibrium.

1 comment:

deena said...

the next time we see each other, you'll have to dig through the music on my computer. courtney gave me a whole bunch of good stuff, including most of the smiths ever, liliput, the lucksmiths (who have a great twee cover of "there is a light that never goes out"), and the magnetic fields' charm of the highway strip." did you get my email about not photographing the moz marquee? hope the mini-apple is glorious for you.