Ecstatic wax

DG and I saw Wicked at the Boston Opera House last night. I’ve yet to read the book, but DG had, and she said the story was quite different and simplified, but true to the themes and spirit. I thought the show was excellent, and was especially impressed by the performance of Julia Murney, who plays Elphaba (a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the West). I highly recommend it to anyone with a fondness for The Wizard of Oz, musicals, or subtle but effective digs at the current administration.

I’ve been drawn into a discussion of Pearl Jam (the closest thing I have to a favorite band) over on OB1og (how do you pronounce that anyway? “Oh-blog”? “Obb-log”? “Oh-bee-one-ogg?”) and it got me thinking about a recent experience I had.

I went to a party Saturday night (yes—I attended a real social event rather than staying in and watching reruns of Spongebob Squarepants). At the party, the hosts had their iTunes running as background music, and at one point I heard the familiar guitar hook of a rock single I’d been looking for for ages. It turned out to be “Wax Ecstatic” by Sponge from their album of the same name. When I got home I immediately downloaded the song off iTunes and since then I’ve listened to it about a dozen times.

Now, if I’d decided to stay in that night, as I often do, I wouldn’t have heard the song, and thus wouldn’t have derived the later pleasure I’ve had in listening to it. It’s a small, over-simplified example of chaos theory in action. Small differences yield big results (the “butterfly effect”).

The song has also reminded me how commercial rock music just doesn’t seem as good these days as it was during the so-called Grunge Era. I wonder if I’ve already become calcified in my conception of what makes good rock music, as most generations seem to do, and that soon I’ll be sitting on my front porch in shorts and a white tank top, shouting at the neighborhood kids to get off my lawn and spraying them with the garden hose when provoked.

But what I hear on the radio these days just doesn’t seem to have the same depth of creativity and emotion as I remember from that time. The early nineties gave us Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, the Smashing Pumpkins, the Stone Temple Pilots, Rage Against the Machine, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Nine Inch Nails, Tori Amos…I miss the days when that sort of music dominated stations like WBCN. Nowadays there are a lot of bands that sound like those artists but lack the same depth. Of course, this is all just my opinion. No doubt there are twenty-year-olds out there listening to their favorite rock stations and thinking, “Man, I miss the days when Limp Bizkit, Slipknot and P.O.D. were all over the radio.”

To that kid I say, “Get the hell offa my lawn!”

  1. LOL – Tori Amos!? Good one…

    As far as the name of my blog goes, I guess you can say it however you want. I tend go with Oh-Bee-Log, but then I sometimes find myself saying Oh-Blog in my head, but that is usually when I lament the fact that I have one. The one is just in there to confuse the old folks spraying kids with garden hoses. The kids know that it’s my kick@ss nickname/handle thingie on web sites and Xbox Live.

    I commented on your comments over there before I read this post, but with what you added here, I see more of what you are getting at with your thought about Rock. I don’t see how we can be more enlightened about our taste in music than any other generation, so I suppose we will be made fun of when we talk of PJ in our older days much like we make fun of our elders talking of Led Zepplin and The Stones, etc. I won’t argue that they weren’t great bands of their time, because they were, but they aren’t for me. The Beatles were great and still are, but I think of them as a Pop band more than Rock.

    As for a new rock band, check out Damone. They are from Waltham and they happen to be the Free Download Single of the Week on iTunes right now.

Comments are closed.