Thursday, December 3, 2009

Some more anti-Celine....the Mars Volta

The following is a video by one of my favorite experimental bands, the Mars Volta. This group came to fruition when its original band, At The Drive-in, split up owing to creative differences (another band, Sparta, was also forged after the break-up). I thought the Mars Volta would be a a more user-friendly example of a progressive (and critically acclaimed -- they won a Grammy) musical group. One major accusation that this band has continually received (along with At the Drive-in and Sparta), is that the lyrics are absolute nonsense. Consider the following response, given lyrically in one of their songs, to that claim:

"If you came here/For semantics/It's only a matter of folding/Time and space/Before I become your epidemic."

I believe that someone in class said that musical taste has to be cultivated and I agree. I remember when I first heard Mars Volta bursting under my brother's bedroom door in high school, my initial response was, "What in the hell is that??" After immersing myself in their work, however, they are one of my favorite bands (I think Angela mentioned her friend now loving house/techno music...)

I am not suggesting that everyone immediately quit their personal music tastes and jump on the progressive, experimental bandwagon. However, I do think its important to recognize the richness and musical daring that goes into groups such as these, especially before admonishing it as "weird" or "loud." Thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I love that you put this post up. When we were sampling Animal Collective all I could think about was The Mars Volta and how they would make an excellent example of experimental rock. Like you, I first heard their music through my brother (coincidentally, Inertiatic ESP was the first song I heard) and I was partially turned off by the frantic beat and partially intrigued by his voice. Now, three years later, I love their music. I think that our tastes mature as we grow, and we are more willing to open our minds to new types of music--I know I've come a long way since the days of N'Sync.

    In class I was hesitant to say that musical tastes are "acquired", because I know that no matter how many times I listen to Metallica I'm just not going to like it, but now that I think about it, I can remember a time when I despised my all-time favorite band. Maybe once we have heard a tune enough times to recognize it we automatically like it more than with did initially.

    I agree with you that The Mars Volta's lyrics are often nonsensical, (What of this mongrel architect/A broken arm of soon will set/Past present and future tense/Clipside of the pinkeye fountain) and as someone who criticizes the juvenile poetry of teen sensations such as Taylor Swift, this makes me feel like a hypocrite. I can love the music and excuse the lyrics, and even go as far as to assume that they are over my head, written during an eye-opening psychedelic drug trip, and that's OK with me. Does this make me the sort of asshole music critic that Wilson writes about in Let's Talk About Love?