Monday, May 18, 2009

As Relates to Loaded

This follows a facebook conversation about this:

If art works, not just because it works, but because the observer passionately wants it to work, then yes. Then no? So yes it did and now it doesn't. If it doesn't endure is it still art? I'm not arguing IF it endures. If it becomes art to me because I so badly want it to be, then blink twice, twirl thrice and it no longer matters to me... was it art, did it stop being art, or did I (or it) stop being relevant?

When I was THAT age I wanted everything, anything, nothing, less... but I did so, developmentally having no choice in the matter, Passionately. Youth isn't wasted on the young. It's just a simple reality that the young guzzle gas.

So I'd be OK if I called today's music 'noise' or 'sissy pop' or simply worthless crap, as that would have me doing what my dad did before me and his before him. It's a matter of culture. But here's my version of looking back at Sinatra, or Mario Lanza - Joe Louis and Jack Dempsey, and saying I can't listen to them anymore, and those boxers were overachieving light heavies in a different era. I can revisit the first three Velvet Underground albums and find just wonderful things all over them... and by the way, I like a fair amount of what I hear today, even if I don't listen to as much anymore.

Two days ago, I hit the play button and was hoping for a wonderful, comfortable, not plaid shirt and got an uncomfortable, derivative denim shirt in a room where country rock geetar licks belonged not a whit, but lived on almost every track.

Doug Yule, is that you? Lou, was that you thinking you were normal and before you decided to be an iconic art star? You thought you had an album 'Loaded' with accessibility, didn't you?

I'll grant you, it was an album of process, Sweet Jane and Rock & Roll two enduring gems, but otherwise... not a good album.

Makes me a little sad... she ain't got nothin' at all.


I have always professed that we are all the versions of ourselves. I'm not only the 50 something Harvey, but also contain the 19 year old Harvey as well (just missing some Pall Malls and about 60% of my energy and endurance). Point is, it ALL stays with us, so above was only a, perhaps, clumsy and too quickly thrown together way of saying :

"I bought 'Loaded' on CD at Time Traveler last week and anxiously threw it on, expecting to hear a wonderful, funny, smart, and evocative album from end to end, but heard two songs that did this and the rest was largely rubbish. How disappointing."

Fact is, it DID transform me back in the day, as a stand alone album and as part of what the Velvets meant to me overall, which was huge. So I had my time with it back in the 70s and am grateful. But after I-podding 'Sweet Jane' and 'Rock & Roll' I'm done with it.

OK then. Sorry. I'll try to be m0re articulate in the future. And I will, undoubtedly fail.


Blogger Kirk said...

Interesting post. My dad asked me a question the other day on how I viewed comparing a television show from the sixties to a movie in 2009. I said there is no comparison because the game has changed. You can't revisit certain art forms like music or movies and expect them to stand their ground in this day and age, your expectations have changed. Radio stations don't allow us to find groups like the Underground, we have to discover new music through commercials, "there's an app for that".

12:18 AM  
Blogger H. Harvey said...

I think this also plays to the question of art v. entertainment and while they CAN be one and the same, some art is so very much of a time that when that time becomes encapsulated, then so goes the art, quite often.

In this case, it was important at the time because the mere existence of the Velvet Underground was important. But the album reflected too much the derivative nature of either Lou or Doug Yule and those maddening country rock guitar solos (that I adored at the time, because it was something I could do), that SO had no place in their music, or at the least the aesthetic I expected of them.

but yeah, the game DOES change and makes "Pong" look like... well, "Pong."

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