After a rather trying week, I didn’t really explore a lot of music until the last couple of days. The new Queensryche video was a happy surprise, even though I knew their new lineup has been producing excellent music.
I always seem to have one silly song that I listen to throughout the week for a little chuckle and there’s not much sillier than a kazoo solo. That’s “My Life” by Saigon Kick. I also added South Park’s Cartman and his version of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” because of what I’d start to explore further this week. Covers to get attention. And Cartman’s silly version garnered attention because of how ridiculously focused he was on it.
Then I came upon a French band named Betraying The Martyrs. A friend shared them on Facebook and they’re gaining notoriety for their cover of “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. That got me thinking because it’s becoming more of a trend for rock/metal bands to do a pop cover. My first thought was Halestorm and how a good chunk of their career is based on covers of other people’s music. I could deride the idea as unoriginal or lazy, but the more I thought about it, the more I concluded, “I never would’ve noticed this band if they didn’t go viral.”
As it turns out the rest of Betraying The Martyrs music is great. I enjoy the almost primal angst to it. A lot of the same elements I like in much of metal, the catharsis, is present here, with an interplay of aggression and melody.
This sent my musical mind running with other examples of rock/metal bands who have done covers for various reasons: Leatherwolf doing CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising” as an homage to an influence, Children of Bodom doing Britney Spear’s “Oops I Did It Again” as a bit of silly fun, all the way to Skintrade’s cover of Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” as a measure of respect for their fellow Swede, Max Martin, who, as a songwriter/producer, has been responsible for almost every pop hit to climb the charts since Backstreet Boys in 1996
During an era of music where it’s either seen as a tightly scripted commodity (modern pop/country/hiphop) or as raw expressions of emotions (rock/old country/old school rap/hiphop), getting noticed on a grander scale than your circle of friends requires a bit of crossover between worlds.
This led to grander musings. Our modern grasping for attention on social media follows the same set of basic triggers. Instead of preying on an algorithm that’s developed to appeal to parts of your brain that recognizes comfort, we share our version of “cats, cupcakes or flowers”…the “pop music” of social media. I’ve always been just a bit outside of what’s popular. I like to understand all points of view instead of simply the popular one. It can be isolating at times, but I find inspiration in the variety around me. The only way to grow is to look beyond yourself and find the elements that enable your growth. Even if time to time, you look at the lines in the global mirror.