Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Neil Young - Trans
So lots of people hate this album! Neil Young was an all-American Canadian country folk grunge pioneer guy. 70s singer/songwriter acoustic guitar dude! When he plugged in, he really brought the gobs of heavy sludge distorto that people worldwide enjoyed all the live long day. Even when he decided to be a 'lil bit uncommercial, ditching the poppy radio jams for drunken piano death dirges, his music was still pretty damn normal (besides all the missed notes and voice cracking and such.)
Following that 70s period, he put out a really shittily produced album of really, really mind-numbingly dumb "RAWK 'N' ROLL" called Re-Ac-Tor. I'm sure that his fanbase bought it and was all like, "Huh... okay. This isn't as good as that other stuff, but whatever." But THIS... whole other story. This shit sounds like Kraftwerk, but at some points even weirder than Kraftwerk! And I doubt that many of Neil's fans had even heard of Kraftwerk, let alone listen to them regularly and claim to be FANS of said band's music!
That's the main reason that this album is so derided, I gather. I'm sure that Neil had a good chunk of fans who were way into stuff like James Taylor, the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, who fucking knows. More Jann Wenner than Lester Bangs, see? We are readers and writers of this blog, and we are open to new ideas in music (not that this album was particularly "innovative".) We have a higher tolerance for artists' desires to surprise and experiment and all that shit. This new wave vocoder shit freaked the fuck out of his fans, and they had every right to be freaked out by it, frankly. I actually really like this album, but I also like Futureworld by Trans Am. That thing has vocoder vocals all over it. When I listen to it, I don't constantly find myself thinking, "WHY DON'T THEY JUST USE NORMAL VOCALS, GODDAMNIT???" which represents the thought process of many rock fans who would much prefer a good 'ol Bob Dylan album instead.
It's like Metal Machine Music in a way, really. Can you imagine being a Lou Reed fan in the 1970s who got on board with Transformer and "Walk On The Wild Side," and then suddenly buying the new Lou Reed album, and finding out that it's just a bunch of NOISE? Like, it's REALLY just a bunch of noise??? Mainstream rock fans in the 70s weren't exactly buying up Merzbow albums by the sack (a magical sack that has been transported through time by Doc Brown's Delorean, of course.) They weren't into krautrock, and they had probably never heard of AMM or Les Rallizes DeNudes or whatever. Hell, they probably didn't even know that Lou had been partly responsible for something called "Sister Ray"! We all surely enjoy an occasional Whitehouse or Kevin Drumm album, and if Keven Federline or somebody released a ridiculously innovative noise record, we would most definitely hail its greatness. But Kevin Federline's fans would be like, "WTF???"
I'm just fascinated that an album like Metal Machine Music that is almost unanimously despised by a certain contingent of rock critics can simultaneously be something that a whole other type of music fan can find great appreciation in. Sure, it's not a very good classic rock album, but a fairly kickass noise record? Why not! And then we have Trans. If you're a hardcore fan of "Heart of Gold," you're probably not going to give half a shit about this new wavey robot shit because new wavey robot shit scares the crap out of you. Well, this is pretty good new wavey robot shit! So there.
Rating: I guess I didn't really talk about the album that much. It's fun as shit! The songs are really good! Some of them don't have robot vocals. The 80s production really doesn't sound horribly dated. "Computer Age" is so fucking awesome. If you like synth pop, or electronica, or whatever, you might very well dig this. If you're my mom, stay away. That's right, mom. YOU WILL NOT LIKE THIS ALBUM. WHY ARE YOU READING THIS. PLEASE CLOSE THE WINDOW IMMEDIATELY.
Song: "We R In Control"... so awesome. This is like "Buttsex: The Song." Okay, it's not really like that. Still pretty smelly, though.