November 3rd, 2003


New Old/Old New Music

I'm jumping on the bandwagon here nearly 20 years late but I'm liking this New Order 'International' greatest hits compilation. New Order has always been on the periphery of my musical consciousness, and my interest has been piqued by optic and mjb's completist obsession with them. It's funny that I didn't catch on much earlier, too, because I bought the Joy Division stuff when it came out, and I have no idea why I lost the plot ...

This particular comp includes a DVD, which has 'Blue Monday' live, and the 'Perfect Kiss' and 'True Faith' videos. I actually remember the 'True Faith' video from back in the day. Those two guys in goofy costumes slapping each other in the face in time with the backbeat, the dancers jumping on trampolines so that their shoulders stay level, the turtle girl signing the lyrics, it's all still brilliant. Especially since it looks like it was shot for about 50 cents -- the costumes look cheap and slapdash, the sets look like undecorated industrial lofts.

The other purchase was the 'Tour De France' soundtracks, which I like better than I thought, based on all the grousing I've heard about it. It sounds rather derivative of Berlin Techno, especially Basic Channel. Which is curious, since everyone making techno owes such a huge debt to Kraftwerk. It's also a retreading of what is perhaps Kraftwerk's most completely realized idea, the original 'Tour De France.'

But, given all that, it's still lovely, and I like the way it works as an extended suite. Maybe it's too much to ask of Kraftwerk to come up with something really earth shattering -- they're in their 50s, they're as wealthy as they'll ever need to be, and creative people sometimes only have one or two really good ideas in their lives. I remember when Joseph Heller came to the University of Iowa, around the time he published 'Something Happened.' That book was his second novel, which came out 13 years after the publication of his first, 'Catch 22.' -- when asked about the long gap between the two books, he said that 'it took that long to have another idea for a novel.'

Maybe Kraftwerk is like that -- they invented, pretty much by themselves, the genre of electonic pop music. They wrung what they could out of that idea in the 70s and 80s, and since then their output has been pretty sparse. Maybe they're waiting for another idea. Tour De France Soundtrack aint it, but it's still worth listening to.

Cheeky Girls?

I never ever ask where do you go
I never ever ask what do you do
I never ever ask what’s in your mind
I never ever ask if you’ll be mine
Come and smile don’t be shy
Touch my bum this is life.

Jim Munroe wrote a book called "Everything In Silico" that I recently read, and one of the recurring details are the pop groups he imagines a nine-year-old girl obsessing on. The cheeky girls are precisely that sort of thing.
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