Lets Rave On; new categories to an overcategorized universe

Mall:

1. A large, often enclosed shopping complex containing various stores, businesses, and restaurants usually accessible by common passageways.
2. A street lined with shops and closed to vehicles.
3. A shady public walk or promenade.

Credit: www.dictionary.com

Core:

1. The hard or fibrous central part of certain fruits, such as the apple or pear, containing the seeds.
2. The central or innermost part: the hard elastic core of a baseball; a rod with a hollow core.
3. The basic or most important part; the essence: a small core of dedicated supporters; the core of the problem.

Credit: www.dictionary.com

Mallcore:

Mallcore is an abusive term used for nu metal and other forms of music by people who consider themselves fans of “true” heavy metal music. The term is supposed to mean that the music is sufficiently inoffensive to be heard in a shopping mall.

Bands singled out for use of this term include Slipknot, Linkin Park, and Korn.

Credit: www.wikipedia.com

When I stumbled upon this term, Mallcore, I didn’t completely realize it’s complete circumference. Above is the only official definition I could find, and even then it mentions it’s own incomplete status. Today, I’m going to take it from obscure insult stature and turn it into something we can all use in our everyday lives.

In recent years, the term hardcore (from which mallcore clearly stems) has experienced a change in theory. It was once used to describe a person who was into either music, movies, comic books, or whatever more than seemed, to us normal folks anyways, normal. The guy who slept outside ticketmaster to get seats into the Whitesnake show? He was hardcore into Whitesnake. Those old women who seemingly did nothing but garden and shop for garden-related supplies? They were hardcore, man.

Somehow, the term doesn’t really work in that context, anymore. It could have something to do with the entire genre of below-the-radar music that is now classified under the term, or maybe that the idea of calling anybody hardcore these days has about as much dearth as calling someone radical or bodacious, since these buzzwords come and go and get laughed at by junior high kids across the nation. Both, I’m sure, have something to do with it, but I’m going to take the music one for context’s sake.

Hardcore music, as defined by anyone who will actually stop and tell you (instead of flipping you off or tripping you, laughing, and taking your lunch money) is essentially the new punk rock. Since MTV wisened up and began dressing up it’s boy bands with grunge gear (thus giving us the opposite of what was good in the 90’s; the style of the first half with the music of the second) boys and girls in the scene have had to go to further depths to be really anti-authority, and authentically punk. And what’s more punk than punk? Hardcore, natch.

The music is mostly screaming, really. There’s a melody in there, somewhere, but you’ve really gotta work at it to find it. The effect works best live, in small dive bars where they don’t card minors, where there is plenty of moshing space three feet from the stage. Or in the basement of your local church, if you’re too far away from a downtown scene. Just like all musical genres, some of it is really excellent, and some of it isn’t.

Anyways, what’s the connection from hardcore to mallcore? The core, naturally. Break hardcore down to it’s two syllables. The hard signifies the style of music, and the core signifies it’s audience. The same can be done with mallcore.

Mall is the style of music. Just like any other genre, mall music has a certain formula in which the bands choosing to play that style will follow, and also slightly breaking off whenever they feel particularly creative (and to cover my tracks here, I’ll again mention that even in mall music, some of it is really good and some really bad). Specifically, mall music is the music you hear in a mall. That’s why the definition in Wikipedia is incomplete; it excludes all the stuff that isn’t trying to be anything other than what it is. Yes, Linkin Park and Slipknot and all the other nu-metal groups are in the group, but so is Briteny Spears, Matchbox 20, Our Lady Peace, Mariah Carey, Liz Phair (at least, the new Liz Phair), 3 Doors Down, and everyone else who is family friendly enough to be sold at Starbucks and Wal-Mart. Topically, Bruce Springsteen is NOT mallcore, since he sings songs about hookers in a way less metaphorical than graphical.

Let me clarify something I know I’m going to get emailed on; being a mall band isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just means that the music the band has is accessible to every age level and has a catchy (but not disrupting) beat. The Arcade Fire may be the indie kings right now, but I heard them blasting out of the speakers at Hallmark last week. I heard Brendon Benson at the grocery store. And for those who say that bands like Slipknot aren’t mallcore, HMV is just as much a part of the mall as Games Workshop, and I’ve heard them in both.

The Core is, just like with the Hardcore kids, the audience. The people in the mall. You know, the ones with 60gig ipods and only three hours of music on it. The ones who played ‘hey ya’ over and over for a year and a half. The ones who use ‘Holla Back Girl’ in regular sentences, but never seemed to before that song came out. The ones who think that punk rock began with the Ramones and the Clash (but only the Ramones and the Clash). You get the idea.

So, to summarize, Mallcore is the kind of music that’s both family friendly and immediately accessible, as well as the people who ONLY listen to it. If you listen to anything else (at least, more than you’d listen to mallcore music) then you’re not mallcore. That definition works fairly identically with hardcore, and with alternative rockcore, and countrycore, and metallicore (you know, those kids who seem to only ever listen to Metallica, and, on occasion, Apocalyptica). Theoretically, you can stick that core onto anything. Try it at home. Have fun. The formula is (whatever)core (core being the fanbase that lives and dies by whatever you put into the ‘whatever’ box).

***

NEWS

Interpol, Arcade Fire Lend Songs to “Six Feet Under” Disc

Here is the tracklist:

Six Feet Under: Everything Ends, Music from the HBO Original Series – Vol. 2
01 Nina Simone – “Feelin’ Good”
02 Jem – “Amazing Life”
03 Phoenix – “Everything Is Everything”
04 Coldplay – “A Rush of Blood to the Head”
05 Sia – “Breathe Me”
06 Radiohead – “Lucky”
07 Irma Thomas – “Time is on My Side”
08 Bebel Gilberto – “AganjÅ“ (The Latin Project Remix Edit)”
09 Interpol – “Direction”
10 The Caesars – “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”
11 Death Cab for Cutie – “Transatlanticism”
12 The Arcade Fire – “Cold Wind”

On the disc are two unreleased tracks by Interpol and The Arcade Fire. If you’re into those two bands, you owe it to yourself to buy (or borrow a friends’ copy) of this really excellent soundtrack.

Credit: www.pitchforkmedia.com

MTV Canada Shuts Down

The company that owns MuchMusic has decided to shut down MTV Canada and MTV2. Last year CHUM Limited bought Craig Media, then the parent company of the two Canadian MTV channels. No word yet on what CHUM will do with the channels.

MTV issued a statement saying that they will announce their new plans in the coming weeks. Under the agreement with Craig Media, CHUM must pay a $10 million licence fee to MTV covering the remaining 2 ½ years of the contract.

Some insiders say this event is just another example of the bad blood between CHUM and MTV. In 2001 Craig Media signed a deal to bring MTV to Canada which CHUM appealed to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. In the 1980s MTV accused CityTV founder Moses Znaimer, who developed MuchMusic, of copying them.

MTV Networks International vice-president Rob Hooper did not specify if the company would come back to Canada in the future.

Credit: www.soulshine.ca

Dave Grohl has revealed the inspiration behind the Foo Fighters’ ambitious new album.

The band release the half-rock, half-acoustic double set ‘In Your Honour’ on June 13. And now Grohl has revealed that, while the album is not exactly political, it was inspired by his time spent on the campaign trail with Democrat presidential challenger John Kerry.

He told XFM: “I went out and supported John Kerry on his campaign trail, only really because George W Bush was using one of our songs at his political rallies. It just goes to show how out of touch that man is if he’s using our songs at his rallies.

“There’s no way of stopping the president playing your songs, so I went out and played it for John Kerry’s people instead, where I thought the message would kinda make more sense. So I spent quite a lot of time on the trail.

“When I’d play at these things I’d play acoustic, so it wasn’t like a Foo Fighters show, and the first 20 rows of the audience would all be people in wheelchairs, then farmers, then schoolteachers and blue collar factory workers, but it was really cool.

“And I got to see how all these people came together, really strong people, passionate and devoted to this honourable cause. The strength of community and human will, it was inspiring. The album, although it isn’t a political record, I was really, really inspired by how passionate people were last year to make a change.”

Credit: www.nme.com

***

LINKS

Jeffrey R. Fernandez, among other things, writes out the character chart to his new Broadway spectacular, using the cast of IP music. I love my character.

Memo to Shawn M. Smith; Rufus Wainwright is never a wildcard in terms of performance. He always puts on a great show. From all accounts he’s a bit of a dick off stage, but while up there he’s bulletproof.

I agree with 9 out of 10 of Moby B’s list of 10 albums he loves by artists he despises. The only exception is the N*sync one. Robbie Williams would take that spot on my list. And, I suppose, the Courtney Love album, but that’s only because I really love all of her albums, the most recent one especially.

Last week I got into a feild screening of It’s all Gone Pete Tong, which was a brilliant movie that, in my opinion, surpasses 24 Hour Party People and even Trainspotting in the stoner rave movie category. I’ll have to watch it again to see if it beats Groove. Arturo R. Garcia gets the first review up (in the whole world, since the movie hasn’t even been released yet) here.

***

Lyrics To Live By

Shore Leave – Tom Waits

Well with buck shot eyes and a purple heart
I rolled down the national stroll
and with a big fat paycheck
strapped to my hip sack
and a shore leave wristwatch underneath
my sleeve
in a Hong Kong drizzle on Cuban heels
I rowed down the gutter to the Blood Bank
and I’d left all my papers on the Ticonderoga
and I was in bad need of a shave
and so I stopped at the corner on cold chow mein
and shot billiardss with a midget
until the rain stopped
and I bought a long sleeved shirt
with horses on the front
and some gum and a lighter with a knife
and a new deck of cards (with girls on the back)
and I sat down and wrote a letter to my wife

And I said Baby, I’m so far away from home
and I miss my Baby so
I can’t make it by myself
I love you so

Well I was pacing myself
trying to make it all last
squeezing all the life out of a lousy two day pass
and I had a cold one at the Dragon
with some Filipino floor show
and talked baseball with a lietenant
over a Singapore sling
and I wondered how the same moon outside
over this Chinatown fair
could look down on Illinois
and find you there
and you know I love you baby

And I’m so far away from home
and I miss my Baby so
I can’t make it by myself
I love you so

***

Next week I’ll be taking a look at a crop of those TV soundtracks that have been spreading like wildfire, and whether we should let this blaze continue or stomp it down like crazed environmentalists with a spare set of Saturdays.

Party on, Garth.

Loading...