You can tell the Covid pandemic is over – well, it isn’t, actually: far from it – when the Pop Music superstars start releasing new music. The next few weeks look particularly grim, with the likes of Coldplay, Adele and barking mad anti-vaxxer and racist Eric Clapton putting out new material (although from what I’ve heard so far most of it sounds anything but new). Still, it takes all sorts, I suppose and as a dear friend of mine always says “there’s no such thing as bad music”, unless you count the aforementioned artists plus the likes of Queen and Muse, in which case there’s plenty of it.
I’m just kidding really because not everyone is as totally obsessed with music as I am, in the same way as not everyone is obsessed with, say, knitting or stamp collecting. Where I am constantly seeking out new music and buying far more of if than perhaps I should, I know that to many people a celebrity-presented show with the music of Lionel Ritchie and Robbie Williams is near wild heaven. Not everyone is desperately hanging on, as I am, for the new albums by Courtney Barnett, My Morning Jacket and Damon Albarn or has just discovered a deep and profound love for St Vincent. Sometimes, I guess a few minutes of ‘Easy’, with its ultra depressing lyrics, and ‘Angels’ is all you need before hanging the washing out. (I’m hanging my washing out shortly accompanied by 6 Music’s wonderful Lauren Laverne, by the way.)
It must be said I have had my bad music moments. When Queen’s first single Keep Yourself Alive came out, I actually bought it imagining the arrival of an exciting new rock band. I was quickly disabused by this notion by the music that followed, from the ultra pretentious Seven Seas Of Rhye through to 1975’s appalling Bohemian Rhapsody, which was, thankfully, a mere bump in the road between the spectacularly creative early 1970s and the later arrival of the so called new wave in which the likes of The Clash literally saved rock and roll (and I am being deadly serious). But coming to loathe Queen was simply no excuse for asking my mum to buy Clive Dunn’s ‘Grandad’ record several years before, although I’d argue that it was still far more listenable than most of Queen’s back catalogue. Possibly.
Covid is such a thing of the past, except to everyone who has it, is in hospital with it and, sadly, has died of it, that I am even going to a gig tonight at Bristol’s legendary Fleece where the Sunderland popular beat combo outfit Field Music are playing. Now that’s what I call music and to everyone who thinks music is all shit nowadays – this was essentially my grandad’s argument when the Beatles and Stones ruled the roost – try something different.
Music isn’t all about stuff you already know because if you think it is, then maybe Don McLean was onto something when he referred to ‘the day the music died’. Rick Nelson put it even better in his epic ‘Garden Party’ when he sang ‘If memories were all I sang, I’d rather drive a truck.’ Today, I’m listening to music of many genres and eras because that’s what I do and the current era is the best of the lot because we can now listen to all the music that’s ever been made.
If Coldplay and Adele are making terrible new music, at least they’re making new music, which is better than not making new music, even if it doesn’t sound new at all. At least Queen aren’t making new music so we should all be grateful for small mercies.