Music We Can Depend On: The Value of Not Entirely Original Pop

Written By: Paul Losada

The deadline for my first feature for Chicks With Guns is due in 5 hours, and I can’t think of anything more rock ‘n roll than sitting down at this-a-here laptop without a goddamned clue as to what to write about except to start an argument!

I’ve been awake for 24 hours now, the past nine of which were spent chugging down Red Bulls, listening to Prurient at maximum iPod volume, bloodletting, and snorting up what still feels like all of Bolivia just to get through a shift of work. Okay, I’m making up at least two of those (and I ain’t sadistic enough to listen to Prurient), but all of this at least feels true because I’ve been without three of the most stability-inducing records of my collection.

As our economy continues to encourage freelance labor over full-time jobs, as our need increases to learn more skills than thought possible so we can better thrive, and our relationships more sporadic and “in the air” because of all this, we probably live in the most turbulent and outright chaotic times of human evolution–at least for those of us who can still remember a time when dinner revolved around the “Jackie Gleason Show.” When the reality of life seems too overwhelming, this is when we need our most predictable, almost routine-in-its-songwriting records to strike some sort of a balance and provide calm. The true value of the Ramones, Iron Maiden, and pretty much any stand-alone album by the Jesus & Mary Chain fucking shine in times like these! Order does exist in this universe, damnit–and I can’t think of a better place to find solitude and dependability than in the grooves of a great, albeit unsurprising piece of vinyl.

I went through a particularly brutal summer in joblessness and having to live with my parents this year, and Lord knows how I would have handled it without the copies of Leave Home, Killers, and Psychocandy that always remain in my old bedroom. Yes, yes, there’s plenty of better examples in ambient, dub, and drone that offer a whole lot more wall-to-wall sameness, but by no means am I putting down any of these well known records. A purpose is served with routine song structuring (which all of these albums deliver in spades–you’re tripping if you think differently). An artist that offers separate yet almost indecipherable from one another songs can create the perfect pattern to put the mind at ease without boring it.

In my case, the sheer randomness of my father’s mood swings combined with a lack of returned work calls could always be staved off with the music I use specifically for these events; the music I can always depend on NOT surprising me. Technically that can mean any album you’ve heard more than once, but there’s something truly special about a band that refuses to exert more effort into its songwriting process than it absolutely has to.

I just find it hard to believe that anyone could dislike a band because “all their songs sound the same.” Fucking awesome, I say! That’s what makes them great! Now, whether or not the songs are actually good is another argument.

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