Monday, November 5, 2007

Help Me Out..

A couple of days ago, I was listening to an NPR segment reviewing the impact of Hilly Kristal, the founder and owner of CBGB (which sadly closed its doors just a year ago), the one who passed way earlier this year. CBGB was *the* crucible for underground music in the 70's and 80's; the years when I was a radio junkie, when I lived to hear new music. CBGB came to be much more than a cool music venue; it was genuinely a star-making institution and pop culture imperative. What happened there made a big difference to me and to lots of others who love music.


Kristal and CBGB gave The Talking Heads their big break in addition to so many others. After listening to the interview, I've listented to Stop Making Sense (1984, cd) about 7 times. I just keep wondering---how long has it been since music was this cool? I can't think of a single recording (not to mention feature rock film) that changed so much so fast. And yet, to my way of thinking, no one has since met this standard of innovation, coolness and groove. And let's not even start with the big suit. This is not my beautiful house....

So help me out....tell me about other stuff that has this kind of wow factor, the stuff that really shook up your musical world, changed your wardrobe, made you rethink the cool aesthetic...

2 comments:

Drew said...

How about Michael Jackson's Thriller album?

Or Nirvana's Nevermind?

Kathy said...

Interesting. I guess these two nominations make me acutely aware of how broad the music industry has been. Thriller was released a bit before SMS but probably only by a year or so. It definitely knocked people out but my recollection of it was about the namesake video more than anything. But I could be mistaken because I was definitely not into that kind of music so my awareness of it has probably been minimized.

Nevermind, though, I think is great for the really broad, sweeping changes it brought...not just the sound but the look, the dis-affectation, the whole GenX thing. No question its a great album. Maybe even better than SMS but I'm having a hard time making up my mind on that. I have a bit of a hard time with this because I'd been a follower of Soundgarden's music since the mid/late-80's when Rolling Stone ran their first story on them. So this notion that some people have that Nirvana brought us grunge is just wrong.

But Nevermind that (!), SMS wasn't the first of its kind, either; it merely popularized that brand of alt-rockpop. So thanks for the pointer back to Nirvana. They definitely showed us a new kind of cool. Too bad it came to a screeching halt and Cobain was so tormented.