Kill the musical mockingbird?

Yoooo. Shit that is even more 2004 when written than in my vacuous little head.

I’m toying with the idea of giving my entries lyrically-inspired names again. Yes, I used to do that a lot…then I got bored and decided to stick with these random titles. Like when they tried to give Neighbours episodes names for a while back in about 2003. Needless to say, it didnt work…after all, if something isn’t broken, why fix it with poor wordplay.

Not much continuity there, really. I’m rambling incoherently like a Clay Aiken song now. God, he used to scare me… like Elton John if he had been raised on a diet of maize and corn in Africa, malnutritioned suitably and then dumped in the Deep Sawwwth to push corn and meatloaf around his plate and experiment with MAC on the weekends. Praise Jesus! I DIGRESS, this month has been one massive load of change for me, probably because I’m in a different school and because my best friend has moved away from London. So here I am – alone – wondering whether a drag queen has ever innocently emptied some of MAC’s Crystal Avalanche eyeshadow into a small bag and been arrested for possession of crack.

I’ve also been thinking about music…surprising eh? My current hang-up is how much people are TOTAALLY in lurrrve with the oh-so-folsky, uninspired class of today rather than enjoying the masters of yesteryear. Ok, so its plain stupid to say that everyone around nowadays is ripping off what was popular 10 or 20 or even 30 years ago. But to prove a point…

CASE IN POINT NUMERO UN im too lazy to write a proper caption: DEVENDRA BANHART

Let’s start with the random, relaxing imagery. ZEN BABES. GOOD FUNG SHUI…

ⓒ Life Magazine
ⓒ Life Magazine

I’m not gonna lie, I have literally wasted yearss listening to Little Yellow Spider by this guy since it was on an Orange advert about three years ago. I have recurring dreams about daisies, salads with pickles, banjos…and this ditty whirring out of an anologue radio like the Mad Men picnic scene from last season. The cutesy if slightly retarded intonation (“shpider”, “munn-key”) and the fucking repetitive guitar strumming of three strings challenged me to think of greater things like ABCDEFG. And to check under the bed for little yellow spiders, such was my OCD. Anyhow, so Devendra is a MAN, just fyi, and if you know your stuff about the uberhip, underweight Californian classes then the idea of giving your child a Hindu name and a Star Wars inspired middle moniker is nothing new. As Gwyneth ‘Goop’ Paltrow said, its like yoga, Blackberry, colon cleanser, Pinkberry, yoga, (little yellow) spider diagram of potential names.  Devendra is a talented performer, and reeks of nonchalant South American charm like a child called Pepe running without shoes across a field shaking a maraca…dispell any images of them running away from a militant attack on their delightful, colourful village and you have Brand Banhart. It’s haut culture for a generation who know that the West Coast means programmes from The CW and red string Kaballah bracelets blocking up the gutter.

Just for good measure, watch this smugfest gastroporn. Deboning chickens is soo much less exciting than she’d wish us to think. Champagne vinegar and maple syrup weren’t made to mix.

My major hang-up is THE OLD MEDITERRANEAN MAN DRAWL. It might not be too obvious what I mean, but check out ‘Will Is My Friend’ by Banhart, and ‘Candy’ by Paolo Nutini for examples of this truly annoying tendency to sound like Herbert from Family Guy / Manuel from Faulty Towers. Paolo especially. God, I have tried so hard to enjoy his music, but something about his known skirt-chasing behaviour versus his elderly voice at only 22 years makes me want to chuck my head down the toilet and spell out Crimewatch Update with my puke.

Devendra’s main problem is that he has focused so hard on being the cool, vaguely foreign bearded guy who also shops at MAC – the sort whose lift you politely decline, clutching at rape alarm as you back away from the hemp-scented car with the Magic Tree and Eric Clapton slowly drifting in the breeze – that he has almost forgotten that he is an artiste. On first listen, ‘Bad Girl’ seemed the antidote to his love of playing some kind of Richard Gere/Anansie figure. Letting his voice melt down somewhat into an almost modern, Julian Casablancas-style with minimal animal sounds and not a ‘cultured’ Spanish word in sight, it seemed that ‘Bad Girl’ was a slightly more mainstream Devendra – moving his style along slightly to accomodate our need to feel included rather than left behind in a stream of confusion. ‘You know I taste Great’ on ‘At The Hop’ from an earlier album only ever evokes Tony The Tiger’ unfortunately, rather than moody soulfulness or even sexiness.  ANYHOW, ‘Bad Girl’ is a pretty song, but a quick Youtube confirmed my suspicions that he had been not only lifting the mood but the content. The M&S song – Albertross by Fleetwood Mac – may not have just been a point of reference here.

Dev: Count Dracula fanboii?
Dev: tender Count Dracula fanboii, moi?

And so, my slightly renewed faith in the artists of today lulled again. Plus, he starts miaowing halfway through the song which is enough to bring visions of a stool and rope into close view. I have been told before that I am a true 80s child, and often feel upset that I was born too late to be a true fan of the bands I really adore, like Tears For Fears. BUT, maybe there is something advantageous about being born in this join-the-dots age I guess. Sure, Florence isn’t Kate Bush, Winehouse is not going to go down as one of the greats and Pixie Lott is consistently cheesy, flat and smug, but at least this seeming lull is allowing me to explore what I might’ve missed in the time BC (Before Cynicism) whilst pretending to care about the crap floating out of Capital Punishment FM.

PS: I’m just bitter because my dream of becoming LA Reid’s bitch never happened. I wasn’t talent spotted (errr…why?!) and I don’t own a car, a house or even a wig like Miley Cyrus’.

But what I do have is the hope that one day we might actually get some people who play instruments, don’t mime when ‘live’ or demand shit like Blue Smarties and ten lines of coke just to do substandard sets and let people down.  Devendra, if you were British, I might salute you – not for your talent but for your strength of character. Pixie’s fellow Italia Conti alumni Newton Faulkner take note. Playing your only hit on an advert for your NEW ALBUM is even worse than your ginger dreadlocks.

After all, there’s copying other people, and then there’s copying yourself.

May CLAY watch over you and possibly infect your dreams into a nightmare of Disney and Deep Truth Highly Pigmented Eyeshadow Powder by MAC. He is a true American Idol. I haven’t been paid to sponsor any products but I am open to whoring out my writing space for blatant adverts.




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