I just can’t leave this alone! There are too many great bands out there to simply do an A-Z compilation and leave it at that, so here are some of the rest of my favorites:
“I feel very comfortable with the way I look, and I feel very comfortable with the kind of confusion that it creates in people’s minds. “
I was blown away by Brian Molko’s compellingly distinctive voice the first time I heard him sing, and as I learned more about the band, I grew to appreciate what they were telling the world: that it’s okay to be an “alternative” person if you’re a man; that you deserve respect whether you’re gay or straight (or bisexual, like Molko); and that nobody has the right to make you feel guilty about the life you choose to live.
“…You’re too complicated, we should separate it.
You’re just confiscated, you’re exasperating.
This degeneration, mental masturbation.
Think I’ll leave it all behind,
Save this bleeding heart of mine.
It’s a matter of trust
You don’t care about us…”
You Don’t Care About Us, 1998
And here’s a great Placebo video:
The Bronski Beat
I can still remember the first time I heard “Smalltown Boy.” Even though it’s a song about the isolation and heartbreak that young gay men had to suffer through back in the day, it spoke to me. I’ve always been able to relate to gay men very well, because I feel that women and gay men are often marginalized and dismissed, or worse, cruelly mistreated by the teeming hordes of ignorant schlubs out there who must hate, hate, hate in order to feel like their pathetic little lives have meaning.
Anyway, these guys were brilliant, even though they only had a few hits. Jimmy Somerville is still performing today. Here are some lyrics from “Why” (1984). It still makes me sad.
“Contempt in your eyes
As I turn to kiss his lips,
Broken I lie,
All my feelings denied,
Blood on your fist.
Can you tell me why?
You in your false securities
Tear up my life;
Name me an illness,
Call me a sin,
Never feel guilty,
Never give in.
Tell me why?
You and me together
Fighting for our love
Can you tell me why?”
Here is a video of Smalltown Boy. It was hard to find a non-remixed version.
The Aluminum Group
I first heard the Navin brothers singing a song about a bicycle on NPR a couple of years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. They sort of remind me of a retro ’60’s harmonizing group like “The Association,” but their lyrics are a thousand times better. These dudes are cooool, and they’re smooooth. I love that jazzy, synth-pop sound!
“…Happy with this lipstick?
Are you happy, are you glad?
Are your eyes like Cleopatra’s
And has history gone mad?
When you open up your compact,
It’s a question that you have:
Can follicles this wonderful
Be bothered or be asked?”
Here’s a video of “Headphones”
Several of these guys from Versailles have been friends since they were young boys. They started fooling around with music in secondary school. Originally wanting to be a studio band, the members soon found themselves cast into the spotlight because of their inceasingly popular retro appeal, so they began touring in the nineties.
I enjoy listening to Phoenix, and I do it often because the band seems to enjoy experimenting with may different sounds, from synth pop to country to light jazz. Their newest album is due out in May.
Their videos are copyright restricted, so I cant embed one in this post. Blah!
Ahh, Robert Smith–a true legend since the late ’70’s. I think of The Cure as the first emo band, and Robert Smith is the first (and the best) angsty goth singer to hit the big time. He is the one constant in this ever-changing group of musicians, and he has never compromised on anything.
The Cure has been remarkably successful; selling almost 30 million albums over the course of Smith’s career. My favorite album is “Disintegration” (1989). Smith purposely used LSD while making this album because he felt that the band was becoming too commercial and he was getting too old to come up with new innovations. The resultant album is quite extraordinary, and I still listen to parts of it when I’m in an Eeyore state of mind.
“..Oh I miss the kiss of treachery,
The aching kiss before I feed,
The stench of a love for a younger meat,
And the sound that it makes,
When it cuts in deep…
The holding up on bended knees,
The addiction of duplicities,
As bit by bit it starts the need
To just let go
My party piece.
Cure videos are also restricted, but I managed to find a fairly decent live performance.
Once again, it’s back to electronica, but not your everyday brand of electronica. The Prodigy guys are in a class by themselves, because their music is a blend of rock, punk, hardcore, speedcore and metal all rolled into one. They refuse to perform in the U.S. now, due to the fact that their 1997 album (The Fat of the Land) containing the controversial single “Smack My Bitch Up,” was banned by some of our larger retailers. There was also an incident during a Beastie Boys concert where the two bands got into an argument about playing the song. The Prodigy played the song anyway and offended our morality police. Personally, I don’t care about the silly lyrics, which are just used to back up the beat anyway. Cripes, this is electronica, folks!
Here’s “Firestarter” for you to enjoy:
I remember being so angry with Morrissey when this phenomenal group broke up that I wanted to track him down and scream obscenities at him. How dare The Smiths split! Who did Morrissey think he was, wanting to go solo and leave his bandmates (like the awesome Johnny Marr) behind? He had become too big for his britches, and it was a terrible shame because they were one of the best British bands to ever gain recognition in the U. S. Their lyrics are often bleak and depressing, but if you think about them for awhile, you realize that many of them are tongue-in-cheek–biting and humorous.
Here’s an example:
“Hand in glove
the sun shines out of our behinds…”
“I would go out tonight
but I haven’t got a stitch to wear
this man said “It’s gruesome
that someone so handsome should care…”
“Frankly, Mr Shankly, since you ask
You are a flatulent pain the ass.
I do not mean to be so rude
But still, I must speak frankly, Mr Shankly,
give us money.”
There are stupid restrictions on The Smiths, too, so here is a fan vid: