That's My Jam: I've Had a Rough Night, and I Hate the Fucking Eagles of Death Metal, Man

Love, love, love this song. Tripped across it the other day via Pandora, and was immediatley hooked.
And I'm sure you're probably thinking, "Hey, that tune is like 2 years old, isn't it? Little late to the party, aren't we?" And you'd be right.
But here's the thing -- Queens of the Stone Age?
It's weird though, because theoretically I should adore them. And when their first album came out I was really intrigued, but to be honest -- it wore thin a lot faster than I expected it to.

It also didn't help that local alt-rock station here in town (this was pre-iPod, and my car stereo at the time was radio only) absolutely drove the bands first single "No One Knows" into the ground by playing it to death all day, every day.

What first drew me to the band was their unique sound. That whole sort of broken down garage band vibe, reminiscent of Kurt Cobain's refusal to sound like a generic rock guitarist growl paired with a knack for creating unavoidably head-bobbing riffs that felt more like drum beats than guitar lines.
They were like the Foo Fighters, but with a dirty mind.
I think a big part of the problem was that both bands were contemporaries, and all too often whenever I heard QOTSA it made me think of the Foo Fighters, and somewhere in the middle of that mistaken identity the value of both bands kinda paled for me (the fact that Dave Grohl played drums for both groups probably didn't help matters either). The Foo Fighters are a great band, but they're a pop act -- their songs when you first hear them are fantastic, but they have some sort of shelf life and you eventually wear out on them (in other words, "Everlong" is brilliant -- but if I ever have to hear it again in my lifetime I'll gouge the person playing it's eyes out with my car keys).

I think I'm the same way with Queens of the Stone Age. At some point, regardless of how much I dig the individual tunes, I kinda run out of gas on it. The songs work because they're built on these great little pop song like hooks, almost like a sitcom catch phrase that seems like the funniest thing in the whole world when you first hear it, but then when it reaches over-saturation and your mom is doing quotes from Austin Powers you realize not only that it wasn't really all that funny to start with, but you get kinda mad at yourself for getting sucked into something so vapid.

There's no shame in liking pop songs, they're made to be liked. But they're also made to be momentary thrills. A trend of the moment. By contrast, it seems like hit songs by pop-rock bands (or tunes by legitimate rock bands that find crossover success with pop audiences) seem doomed to become anthems, which live on waaaaay to long for their own good.

Maybe it's partially because I live in such a classic rock town, but there's a certain level of hate I associate with worn out warhorses like ACDC's "You Shook Me All Night Long," Guns and Roses "Sweet Child of Mine," and Lynard Skynard's "Sweet Home Alabama."

There's just something inherently annoying to me about DJ's, radio stations, or cover bands that decide to go there. For lack of a better term -- It's lazy. There are far better songs by every one of those bands you could easily choose to listen, and I'm not even talking about album deep cuts or B-sides. And isn't that what being a DJ is really supposed to be about -- opening peoples ears to songs they wouldn't otherwise have a chance to hear? Standing at the booth and saying, "Hey if you like that, then you're gonna love this!" But instead whenever you hear music played, it's the same ten classic tunes over and over and over.
Sure the crowd loves it, but they always love it.
That doesn't mean if you like certain songs you're a bad person -- but in a lot of cases what it might mean is there are tons of other great tunes you haven't heard.

In other words, there's more to life than Green Day's "Welcome to Paradise." But beyond that, every time you're at a club or listening to the radio and one of those rock anthems come on and the ratings go up, it's a vote of confidence for more of the same. If you're part of a culture that stands up and says "We love it when Kid Rock puts out a song that reminds us of other songs we like without actually having to listen to those songs," what you're really saying is:
"Please make another Vince Vaughn Christmas movie."
"Jennifer Anniston's relationship problems are endlessly interesting to me."
"Hey Tyler Perry, isn't it about time Madea spread some more wisdom?"
I love horror movies. A lot of people do. But by and large the last 10 years of horror flicks have sucked balls. Seriously -- Saw VI? The villain in the Saw franchise is DEAD, and the other night I saw a line around a theater waiting with baited breath to see who that corpse isn't going to personally kill next.

I guess what I'm really saying here is that our culture worked very hard to tell me that all I really need to know about Queens of the Stone Age I could easily learn by listening to "Go With the Flow" on Clear Channel, watching the video on MTV, and pretending to play along with the song on Rock Band or Guitar Hero -- while a great tune like "Sick Sick Sick" slipped by me unnoticed until just the other day.

Maybe it's all part of a bigger picture, but I feel excited when I discover new things I really like. Authors who inspire me, music that gets me moving, movies that keep me thinking, laughing, or screaming long after I've first seen them. And I guess for me, the world seems sort of stagnant when all you have to choose from is the same thing you've been watching, reading, or listening to for years.
Kinda hate that feeling, you know?
I'm sure I'm not the only one this has happened to. Have you ever come across something new and exciting from an artist, filmmaker, or author that you'd previously dismissed, or kinda been lulled by popular culture into thinking that their entire existence revolves around one moment in time?
..And if so, who were they?

[Listening to:  Etro Anime - "Purest One" ]


Hex said…
And yes, I'm painfully aware of the mixed message that comes in a post that rails against MTV and mainstream mentality filled with links to videos on -- but it's one of the few sites with video that the IT department hasn't blocked yet here at work.

Strange bedfellows, you know?
Satorical said…
I'd always liked Cars by Gary Numan, but everything since then until 2006 was unengaging, or just lame. I had never owned anything but that one song on 45 (yes, 45), and so I didn't really even know about Down in the Park 'til I heard the Foo Fighters cover it.


Jagged was a revelation. After a few years of being admired and covered by Fear Factory and NIN, Numan hooked up with a young DJ and producer and created Jagged, which was my fave album of the year. There was so much material that he put out another lot from the same sessions two years later, along with some significant reworkings of the earlier songs.

I have no doubt that he'll pass into other turf I can't stand again, because the guy evolves. Bob Mould strikes me in the same way; I wasn't a big Husker Du fan, but Sugar was brilliant. Since then, meh.

It's why I keep up with bands and artists and directors over time. I may not always like everything they do, but there's always the chance they'll find a new music.

For the record, I too hate the fucking Eagles, man.
Satorical said…
And by music, I mean muse.
Adam said…
One thing that always killed me about Rock 105 was how, when some redneck would call in to request a song, it was ALWAYS 'Stairway to Heaven' or 'Sweet Home Alabama' (or similar). Like, this is your one time to request a song on the radio and you request something that a) you probably own and b) the station plays 10-12 times a day already! WTF?
Monster said…
I too had lost interest in QotSA before hearing Sick, Sick, Sick, so thanks for the pointer.

This probably isn't news to anybody, but Lauryn Hill's album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" is one of the better volumes of music ever recorded. It was a while before I gave it a chance, because of the whole Fugees + Lauryn Hill hates white people + "That Thing" over and over and over again. Some songs and albums are Seurat paintings - they take distance for appreciation to be possible. OOOOO artistic metaphor FTW bitches.

Also, another problem with the sanctioned laziness of THAT ONE SONG - the band HAS TO play it live. I love Cult of Personality, but there were dozens of other ways I wish Living Colour would have spent that 5 minutes during the set, youknowwhatImsayin?
Werdna said…
Plenty. I just can't think of any right now. I do like Queens of the Stone Age okay, and Eagles of Death Metal (though the band Kyuss that Josh Homme of QotSA and EoDM is from might be better, first it is named after a D&D Monster and second it is pretty metal), but I didn't really have to come around on them. I was sold on the concept- I just reject some of their material (bored of Little Sister it got wore out on Alt radio).

Foo Fighters I'm good with- Grohl can do no wrong as far as I can tell- he's about as successful as anyone and has largely been true to himself. Chris Cornell should be so lucky.

Jim Jarmusch's work is something that I hated then reconciled and loved, but that was a while ago.

Somethings just wax and wane- I didn't like Smashing Pumpkins Gish when I first heard it (pretty derivative), but now I like Gish and Siamese Dream quite a bit. They get tired though.
Hex said…
Satorical -- I think sometimes artists who hit one song success early have a harder road to growth. Numan produced a bunch of records I like (Fear Factory), but I wonder if he needed time himself to hit the right stride, especially the way he's going now.

Adam -- Rock 105 was my staple growing up, and I discovered a lot of music I love through them, but I can't tell you the number of times I'd call up requesting specific songs only to (if they'd ever actually answer the phone) have my request "modified" when it went on the air. I'd call in for Metallica (it was the 80's), and they'd play Dio or Ozzy, fulfilling their "one metal song every 3 hours requirement." Luckilly, they eventually hired the Arf, who didn't really give a crap and would play most anything you asked for.

I'm also fairly convinced that station liked to say "from the request lines" even when there was never a request. Something the GM at the radio station I DJ'd at liked his on-air talent to say, even though we never took calls.

Monster -- I'm so with you on that "one song." Concert encores are rarely fun anymore, because they're always that one song.

At least with Living Colour you could count on them to mess with the song a little, jazz it up with surprise twists. But with such a great selection of songs on the new disc, and years of COP listening under my belt, I'd gladly cash in that time span to hear something fresh.

Werdna -- The Foo Fighters are a great band, but local radio and club DJ's that play the occasional rock song wear them out on a regular basis. I hear they put on a fantastic (albeit expensive) live show -- but I frequently find myself drawn more to Grohl's side projects (Probot, his work with Killing Joke, QOTSA) than his main band. Maybe that's just me, though.