12B - The Michigan Daily Weekend Magazie -Thursday, April 3, 1997
The Michigan Daily Weekend Maidne -Thursday, April 3, 1997 - SB
... .... ...o .. _ _ v ..
State of the Arts
Accrding to the musical powers that
be, the stars have realigned and a new
musical revolution is finally upon us.
The hype has hit the streets and the crit-
ics agree that electronic music is the
next big thing.
But they're all wrong.
Electronic music may see a quick
jump in sales and popularity in the next
ELECTRONIC MUSIC LACKS THE BUZZ
Continued from Page 4B
you want meat or feta cheese; but even
in its most basic state, the chipati is a
good lunch for a hungry person.
few months, as it has in the past few
months, but don't bother beefing up
your techno and electronic-rock CD
collections just yet.
Even if electronic music is supposed
to be "the next big thing,' it's not going
to be the next "really" big thing.
Electronic music doesn't have the same
potential to win over the masses like
for Students toinvila
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most other forms of pop music. Its
throbbing beats might be great for
dancing, but most of it doesn't possess
the oomph it takes to make hit records
in the U.S.
The main problem with electronic
music catching on with the masses lies
within the heart of the music itself.
Because it is supposed to be danceable,
most of the music's emphasis is placed on
the bass and drums and little time is taken
to develop powerful lyrics, catchy
melodies or even mildly entertaining riffs.
Even though bands like The Prodigy
and The Chemical Brothers might get
some airplay, don't expect the group's
upcoming album to hang at the top of
the charts in the U.S. America's masses
don't want to hear The Prodigy's
Eurotrash freak vocalist scream unintel-
ligible lyrics like "I'm a firestarter,
twisted firestarter / you're the
firestarter, twisted firestarter" over less-
How can critics think the masses will
fall for electronic music, while most
Americans still haven't gotten over
bands like Hootie and the Blowfish that
sing generic campy songs about hold-
ing hands? Quite disappointingly, that's
what most of the nation's music buyers
want - cheese rock, Hootie style.
These are the kinds of songs Americans
want - songs they can sing to while in
the shower; while sitting around a
campfire; songs they can play on their
acoustic guitars when drunk.
That mass appeal and easy access
was part of Pearl Jam's initial success.
Every amateur guitarist has tried to play
"Alive" at some point in time. The same
goes for Nirvana, Green Day, Hootie
and the rest of the recent multi-platinum
With electronic music, however, you
lose that human feel and there aren't
any opportunities for sing-a-longs and
jam sessions. You simply can't sing
Chemical Brother tunes while roasting
marshmallows. Without that intimate
bonding with a song, there's no way for
a tune to seep deep into our souls.
How often do you hear someone
whip out an acoustic guitar and start
playing and singing the words to The
Prodigy's "Firestarter?" Not too often.
The song has no melody, no real riffs,
no real anything but a throbbing beat.
Without that musical warmth and
downhomeness, it just isn't likely
they'll sell a boat-
load of records in
That's why peo-
ple like Hootie,
John Mellencamp, ...
The Dave Brian A. Gnatt
Matthews Band Daily Arts Editor
and Pearl Jam have
been so successful - they were able to
strike a chord with the public.
Electronic music may be able to sell
in the U.K., but that is a very different
market (many of them still dig Right
Said Fred). Electronic music will most
likely be big with the "in" crowd, but I
wouldn't expect to see a full musical
revolution anytime soon.
In the post-grunge era that we've
been stuck in for some time now, it is
safe to say we are in desperate need of
some new mainstream musical acts and
influences. Will electronic music fill
the shoes of grunge and pop-punk?
Who knows. But hopefully something
will be here soon to make the airwaves
passable once again, and I don't think
Eurotrash like The Prodigy is going to
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June 21, 1997
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