Wednesday, September 5, 2007

John Lennon - Working Class Hero

I remember back in Cayley grade school. That’s where I was when “alternative” music became main stream. It took little thought on my behalf to recognize that ‘alternative’ would mean more often the not an alternative for rock music, or put more bluntly it was an alternative for good music. So I spent the majority of my teen years listening to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Who, when life gives you lemons….

Back then Greenday was just a new and untalented punk band. They became popular because the sound they accidentally created could be credited as somewhat original and also it fit in with the new wave of alternative music. Furthermore angsty teens at the time identified with them since both were deliberate attempts to break away from the norm for no reason at all. Sadly those were the good days….

Back then Greenday was nothing more then a sub par group that could easily be ignored and just as easily forgotten. But now, with their aggressive selling out they are hard to stomach even in small dozes.

Greenday sold out.

Don’t listen to Greenday, their dumb ass fans, or the liberal thinkers of North America who praise Greenday as a politically and socially aware group with something to say. Nothing could be further from the truth. Telling everyone how dumb George Bush is after he has an approval rating below 30% is not controversial; it’s safe. Pretty easy to be daring when you know at least two thirds of the country agree with you, or more accurately put when you agree with two third of the country you can be sure whatever you say will be well received.

Don’t get me wrong, I am against George Bush and his cabinet as much as the next person is. I was one the first people I personally know to say out loud that I thought the Iraq war was stupid, but unlike the current drama queens at the time I was optimistic. I hoped America went in got Sadam and got out. Made no sense why they were targeting him, sadly he was the lesser of evils in the Middle East compared to Iran and Saudi Arabia’s dictatorships, but still Sadam is easily evil enough to warrant execution. My optimism evidently failed, and now the war is a shit show and I keep wondering why they continue to damage their already tarnished reputation by staying where they are clearly not wanted, not by the Iraqis or even their own American populace. I fully agree with Eddie Vender when he said, “When you start a war for reasons that turn out to be false you deserve to lose you job.” Well done Eddie, you are a politically and socially aware musician.

I was swearing mad when I saw Greenday’s latest music video. Like most untalented musician after getting lucky with a few poorly written accidental hits they can’t come up with much more they just take from someone else. It is called a cover song, and frankly if you were going to cover a song wouldn’t you want to do something new with it, make it your own? Apparently not, since nothing innovate or creative was done whatsoever with Greenday’s John Lennon cover of “Working Class Hero”.

Have you seen the video? Could you literally feel yourself becoming stupider for having watched it? Or like me where you so enraged you were ready to take a flight to Los Angeles just so you could pick a fight with Greenday? The video depicts the current problems in Durfar, which is to my limited knowledge is a brutal civil war, fought primarily due to ethnic differences. The video shows victims who have seen the horrors of ethnic cleansing and genocide. There are many mentions of rape and murder of young people. Terrible stuff, absolutely horrible, and nothing to do whatsoever with the song “Working Class Hero.”

Working Class Hero is a song that describes the feelings of dread in the hearts of youth when they live within a structured society based on class. Massive amounts of information are thrown at you when you are young as well as the demanded importance of discipline. After they have broken your spirit with fear and anxiety then they expect you to be a normal person and think rationally enough to make big decision about what to do with yourself and your life. However John was quick to put a sliver lining in the song, because despite your fears and all the terror society has put in you, you can always be a ‘working class hero’. Just be yourself, work hard, and everything will be alright. It is a very meaningful song. It has nothing to do with genocide or civil war or anything like that. At the same time the crisis in Durfur has nothing to do with working conditions or the class structure.

Sadly Greenday is not wholly to blame for this act of de-evolving human intelligence, “Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur” is a whole compellation of John Lennon covers that have nothing to do with the tragedy. At least, the profits in theory are going towards benefiting Amnesty International’s campaign to help alleviate the crisis. But if you have any kind of a mind you should know by now that must acts of charity like this are usually just excuses to make money, and this has Yoko Ono written all over it. What do you do when your genius husband dies? Just keep making money off his incredible talent. Sigh.

I got into another rant this month sorry. Don’t compromise your taste with un-innovate modern bands, when in doubt remind yourself how wonderful the classics are.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin

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