Monday, March 12, 2007

I'm with Bill Hicks (not the bit about advertising people killing themselves)

A couple of weekends ago I flew back to New Zealand for a friend's wedding. A bunch of us got together to play a song as the bride walked down the aisle.

There were eight musicians involved, all guys, none of whom knew more than two or three of the others. With only an hour to get it together before the ceremony, I was terrified it was going to turn into a musical version of that scene in Reservoir Dogs, the one where they're all bickering about who gets to be Mr. Black. Luckily, under the guiding hand of the extremely talented Mr Neil Watson, we managed to pull it off.

It was (and I don't intend to brag here; my role was limited to backing vocals and shaker), one of the most beautiful performances I've ever been a party to.

This is the song we played:

Even moreso because of the stark - and ultimately crystalising - contrast with the last time I was at a wedding where a piece of popular music was played in lieu of the wedding march. At my uncle's ceremony, my aunt-to-be walked up the aisle to this gem:

Now, despite many years trying to make music as well as I can, I've always strived to stay agnostic about whether there is such a thing as "good" and "bad" music. If you take some sort of deep spiritual nourishment from Creed, then good for you. If listening to Michael Bolton floods your soul with profound reverence for the beauty man is capable of, then, I thought, so be it.

No longer.

As a result of last week's ceremony, I've now admitted to myself that some stuff is just objectively, eternally, obnoxiously garbage.

The choice of song at my uncle's wedding transformed it into a farce, an exercise in bathos. Music like that is lazy, it's fake and above all it's insulting - not only to people who listen to it, but to people like Mr. Tweedy (above) who devote their lives to making the good stuff. You're allowed to like it, but you're wrong.

Bill Hicks was right: this shit is capable of scientific proof.

We should always be striving for the transcendent. Anything less is misguided.

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