Thursday, June 01, 2006

I wish she was a punk rocker...



Sandi Thom - is number 2 in the British charts with a song called "I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair". Now she can sing, and it's quite catchy. It's designed to be nostalgic, a sort of teen angst that there was a better time that she never lived through. But oh dear oh dear... how damned stupid the lyrics are:
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"Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair
In '77 and '69 revolution was in the air
I was born too late into a world that doesn't care
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Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair
When the head of state didn't play guitar
Not everybody drove a car
When music really mattered and when radio was king
When accountants didn't have control
And the media couldn't buy your soul
And computers were still scary and we didn't know everything[chorus]
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When pop stars still remained a myth
And ignorance could still be bliss
And when God saved the Queen she turned a whiter shade of pale
My mom and dad were in their teens
And anarchy was still a dream
And the only way to stay in touch was a letter in the mail[chorus]
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When record shops were still on top
And vinyl was all that they stocked
And the super info highway was still drifting out in space
Kids were wearing hand me downs
And playing games meant kick arounds
And footballers still had long hair and dirt across their face[chorus]
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I was born too late into a world that doesn't care
Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair "
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For starters, remember any punks that wore flowers in their hair? What stops her dressing punk and wearing flowers in her hair anyway? .
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She proclaims “revolution was in the air” in 1977 and 1969. That was a good thing was it? Well 1969 is a bit odd, as I presume she means the Paris 1968 protests. The ones when students caused riots, when workers tried to take over their places of employment and demand higher wages and to overthrow the democratically elected government. A general strike occurred supported by the French Communist Party, those nice people who also supported the Soviet suppression of the Prague Spring that same year. Yeah, good one Sandi - so you want a revolution backed by people who ran the dullest most oppressive regimes in Europe?
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1977? Does she mean the Sex Pistols? Hardly a focus for revolution, rather a carefully marketed trend. Does she mean the terrorist attacks and the umpteen hijackings that year? Does she mean Anwar Sadat visiting Jerusalem? Does she mean the murders carried out by the German Red Army faction? Who knows- I bet it was just a nice rhyme.
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The real revolution in the UK started in 1979, when Margaret Thatcher starting taking Britain back from unions, bureaucrats and featherbedded protected businesses and rescued the country from the economic stagnation now besetting France and Italy - but Sandy wouldn’t think that was cool and interesting. She’d rather celebrate the drug fuelled banality of Sid Vicious.
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So what else is annoying about this song?
When accountants didn't have control, And the media couldn't buy your soul, And computers were still scary and we didn't know everything”
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Well Sandi, you go on spending all the money you have and borrow and don’t save any – that’s right little girl. Go to Cuba and North Korea, they don’t have control there. The media of very few radio stations, and TV channels with far less choice – as opposed to today with many of both, and the internet, when it is cheaper than ever before to publish on paper, electronically or broadcast. Yes that’s right, the media in the days when BBC Radio 1 wouldn’t play the Sex Pistols – or before then, when only the state could broadcast unless you sailed in a ship off the coast. How about how carefully constructed some bands were then? The age of artificial bands predates your conception Sandi. Better to not know everything, but then who does Sandi? You certainly don’t know a lot.
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“And anarchy was still a dream” Oh so let's abolish the state then - can I then steal your song and give it away to people Sandi? Take your royalties? Or was the cry for anarchy just a nihilistic catchphrase used by drug-dazed halfwits indulging in the latest trend and whatever sensory stimulation they could find without any care?
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Well am I just a grumpy old bastard? No - there are some quaint things about the past, the lesser obsession with image, the greater politeness and courtesy and records were more works of art than MP3s. Sandi's signoff line in the song is "I was born too late to a world that doesn't care".
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Well Sandi, your chance of getting a recording contract in the late 1960s would have been lower than today, you'd have done no podcasts and would have found it tough to get Radio 1 to play your song because it didn't exist. Also Sandi, if you think the world is more heartless now than the 1960s and 1970s, then ask people in eastern Europe - they wont get thrown in jail for listening to your song now.
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Young people today - romantic about socialism...

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