Saturday, January 5, 2008

Have guitars gone as far as they can go?

I had that new White Stripes record, Icky Thump, on hold at the library for quite some time. When it finally came in, I took it home, popped it in the player, and my instant gut reaction was "I love this!" Then it went on, and halfway through the CD I realized I was sick to DEATH of Jack White. I turned it off, and returned it from whence it came.

I suspect that someday I'll hear an individual song from it on Pandora or somewhere and think, hey, I like this, but I found the whole record impossible to bear.

I'm not sure about the cause of my dislike. There just seemed something -- cute about it. In the sense that annoys grandfathers: "Don't get cute with me." Garage rock can be done with a sense of humor, and often is. But ironic garage rock is like...oh, flashback to the days of Ashton Kutcher and his trucker cap. Thank God Demi Moore took him off our hands, so we don't have to see him in the magazines all the time anymore.

More interesting to me was why I initially liked it. I think I've been feeling ... hungry for guitars. Something that sounds like rock is supposed to sound. Not trippy or blippy or emo. The first song starts with a squall of guitars, a pounding drum line, even an organ. It's classic rock, not in the radio format sense, but in the sense of classic elements all being in place.

Sure, I have lots of music with guitars. But I've heard all of that before. I'd really like to hear something new and fresh that makes use of the aggression of guitars. But I'm not seeming to find much of anything new anymore that hits the spot, and I don't think I have for a while.

I hate to think that the guitar has run its course. I mean, I like the guitar. There's a lot that can be done with it. But then, a lot has already been done. It's got to be harder all the time to make it sound new. Not that it can't be done. Especially since you've all heard me rant about the idea that nothing new can be done with words, and look how over-worked they are.

But please, innovators of the future: we need you! The White Stripes are taking the audience you should have.

(No offense meant to anyone who likes the White Stripes or their new album. Just not my cup of coffee. Speaking of which...)

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