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Thursday, May 22, 2003  
Live

I picked up a copy of Live's new album, Birds Of Prey, yesterday from the guy who edits the music pages of Exeter University's student paper. I've never consciously heard their music but I'm more than aware of their reputation (big in America, small over here, post-grunge sincerity-rock, earnest and workmanlike) and that their reputation thusly marks them out as the kind of band I don't really like. Why did I choose Birds Of Prey over something else? Because I thought it'd be good for a laugh.

Oh how fucking wrong I was.

The press release is full of quotes from Live's singer/songwriter dude (who's name I'm supposed to remember gathering by the tone of it's usage in said press release - I think he's called Ed) about how he's just become a father and how this has "ended [his] ten year spiritual quest". Wankbag. I gave the first three tracks a cursory listen last night and I was appalled. Firstly, I'm just tired of, as whatsisface, Meltzer? (I just took out the book yesterday after spotting it in the corner of my department) would say "the aesthetics of rock", and all Birds Of Prey consists of is "the aesthetics of rock". Guitars are strummed, drums are struck, a bass is woefully undervalued. There's some shit in the press release about how they'd had time to let the record 'breathe' while they'd been off having kids as they had time to do nothing except write songs, but how this did not mean the record was 'over-produced'; no shit, Sherlock! Some production would have been nice! Some sense that you've at some stage listened to some music that contained instruments other than guitar, bass, drums. Some semblance of horizons that maybe included, you know, some reverb or a keyboard, even if a sampler or an FX unit is too much to hope for; something, anything to suggest that maybe you've got just a teeny weeny cursory interest in making the music you're creating, you know, interesting to listen to. But no. Oh no. It's just songs.

And shitty, crappy, self-involved, faux-profound songs at that. Songs I can deal with; you can almost ignore the above outburst as the ramblings of a man given too much to listen to Radiohead this week. I like the Richard Hawley album. That's just songs. But oh, what songs. And with arrangements too. Birds Of Prey's opener, Heaven, chugs in on some half-assed riff that Bush rejected because it was too dull, and the plodding, predictable melody is constructed like a brick wall, all cement and witless logic. The sentiment, jesus... I can't rememebr the precise lyrics, thank fuck, but the sentiment is something along the lines of "when I look at my baby [baby in the midwife sense, not the Chuck Berry sense] I can believe in heaven", or possibly, and this is even worse, he might even be meaning to convey "when I look at my baby I no longer need to believe in heaven because it's right here on earth in the presence of my daughter". Yowsa. And indeed, yum yum. Is that cheese or is that the liposuctioned fatbag of a middle-aged weekendwife left at home during the week by her workaway businessman husband? MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmm... Is this profundity? Did Jesus get nailed for this? This is sloppy crap. No one should be allowed to make records when they've recently become a father except for Stevie Wonder. Stevie Wonder vs. Live; who wins in a fight? Stevie's BLIND and he's knocking you out, ma' man!

The second track is called She, and thankfully I can't remeber anything about it at all. The third track is called The Sanctity Of Dreams. More witless fuckerisms. (How witless? - a guy called Hank Roberts released an album also called Birds Of Prey on May 6th, a mere 20 days before Live unleash their album of the same name; a; it's witless to release an album with a previously used title, and b; it's double witless to do so with an album released in the same month. The most vague glance at Amazon would have told them they were unoriginal.)

What is it with these bands? Do they think they're good? Do they honestly think this is good music, that these are good songs they're writing? I cannot understand how Live can perform these songs, live or in a studio, and not be crippled with embarassment at their own ineptitude and crapulence.

Amazon tells me that "Customers who bought music by Live also bought music by these artists: Pearl Jam Lifehouse Counting Crows Matchbox Twenty Bush". Figures.

5/22/2003 01:36:00 pm

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