Sunday, October 16, 2005

"Shake Some Action"

Before I started to write this blog, I googled the song and found a version by Cracker that, while being good, doesn't really add anything to the original. And that sort of derailed my train of thought and led me into what might become dangerously like a rant.
I appreciate the curiosity and dedication that leads bands to find these old treasures, and I also agree with them that some songs are so good that you have to revive them, bring them to a whole new audience.
But having said that, I'm left with a question: have all the best songs already been written? Will we ever see another Beatles, another Kraftwerk, another Hendrix, people who shake up the preconcieved notions of what can constitute a good song?
These people were true revolutionaries who just about started afresh. Anyone who's heard "Dear Prudence" or "Third Stone from the Sun" or "Autobahn" must surely see the fault line, the literal point of departure for a whole new interpretation of popular song.
And the grumpy old man in me looks at the charts today, sees the preponderance of cover versions, the relative lack of songwriting talent that's being given a chance to flower, and just gets depressed. Every freshly-airbrushed pop moppet that's had a hit, has had that hit on the back of someone else's work thirty years ago.
Sure, the music industry has had to embrace efficiency and cost-cutting like every other industry, but to this extent? Warming over great music and presenting it as new?
So I did rant. And I really didn't want use the Flamin' Groovies' finest moment to rant. They deserve so much better. This song came out in the early 70s, a sort of throwback to melodic pop-rock during the afterglow of the late 60s that threw up glitter rock, etc. There are nods to the Beatles, the Stones, it's pure pop. I came across it around the same time as Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds were leading the pub-rock explosion, and it fits in there just right: this is a song for a raucous, jumping back-room gig. It's an original.

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