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Are Damien Rice fans really Young Fogeys ?
Last Post 13 Sep 2004 11:30 AM by Rev Jules. 25 Replies.
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Rev JulesUser is Offline
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Rev Jules

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13 Sep 2004 11:30 AM
    There is an article in today's Irish Independent (13/9/04) on the subject of the rise of the Young Fogey. In the section titled, 'Music for Young Fogeys' the author mentions Damien Rice's album 'O' as being a safe choice of record for young fogeys who, "want to support the local music scene but want to give the anger and avant garde a miss". Over to y'all.
    El DuderinoUser is Offline
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    El Duderino

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    13 Sep 2004 11:48 AM
    That's an interesting point of view. If I agree with this statement it means that I agree that Damien Rice is doing nothing new and I don't really believe that this is the case. I know he's not exactly spearheading a new genre but he does what he does in his own style. What are "the anger and avant garde" bands that this journalist refers to? Does he specify what he would see as being angry and avant garde?
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    13 Sep 2004 12:31 PM
    Damien Rice thread! In the mood for a flame war Jules? Even taking Damien Rice out of the equation, I have noticed that the tastes of most people in my age group and below tend to be a bit more conservative than my own, but thats not saying much. I can understand young people wanting to give "angry" music a miss, anger and angst in music isn't really a virtue is it? I loved the Smashing Pumpkins as a teenager but the anger in those songs in itself wasn't what made them great (or Nirvana for that matter). If todays youth are less angry that can only be a good thing right? I doubt it though, looking round Cork city where hundreds of pseudo-goth-emo-whatever kids seem to be forming shouty metal type bands, they're as angry as ever. Damien rice really is not doing anything new, there is no territory here that hasn't been mined by greater talents before him. Yet at the same time it seems unfair to single him out when the Irish music scene in general is lacking much in terms of the genuinely avant-garde? Many seem to be playing it a bit too safe in order to maintain credibility. The one thing I will say for definite, is that the "young fogey" does exist (Whether they listen to Damien Rice or not). I know some people who could match that description; Inoffensive record collections, not really going out and just partying like young people should and worrying about their pensions before the age of 25, but those kind of people have probably always existed?
    mutchUser is Offline
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    mutch

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    13 Sep 2004 03:49 PM
    maybe the young fogey is not new but the people that identify them as such through their characteristics (the inoffensive EVERYTHING, including clothes, and that accent thats not exactly anything, anyone heard this? or have i lost it beyond all hope.)are a new type of irish character. ...(bit of a stretch really) the modern charlie churches/street angel house devil?, the smug soft bellied middle classes? v neck sweaters worn with the same frequency as fashionable causes....(rant!)or something like that...after all, people adapt, they dont go away! still a great country to be in despite them though. plus they make great slagging fodder on a session.
    QsySueUser is Offline
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    14 Sep 2004 12:01 AM
    I don't know, when I saw Damien in Seattle he was leaning pretty close to the angsty side of things. Very intense and abrasive. I loved it.
    karlvinUser is Offline
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    karlvin

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    14 Sep 2004 07:29 AM
    I agree with QsySue , I saw damien Rice in galsto and he was in a kick ass mood , nothing safe about him ! anything that supports real music and not the crap in the charts is great , whether its so called "safe" music or not !
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    14 Sep 2004 07:52 AM
    Whats "real" music Karlvin? I do get a little tired of people attributing greatness to music because of what its not (e.g. chart music) rather than what it is. With Damien Rice selling copies of "O" and B-Sides by the truckload, how can it not be classed as chart music? Thats not saying that Damien Rice is rubbish, what I'm saying is: why the hostility towards "chart" music? This to me is the real reason that Damien Rice is the "safe" choice. Its not that he isn't angry (he is), its that much Like REM in the 90s he has become the default choice for those that would like to think that they are listening to something "alternative" and "credible", whatever that is. Buy "O" and hey presto, instant respectability is added your CD collenction. If you like him, cool, I'm not saying that everyone who buys the CD buys it with that motive, but lets not pretend listening to Damien Rice is somehow superior to listening to Natasha Bedingfield (whose recent single was quite good actually). (For QsySue: Natasha Bedingfield is a UK pop star who was number one in the Irish Singles charts recently, substitute Beyonce for Nathasha and that last paragraph will probably make more sence)
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    Ian Wright

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    14 Sep 2004 08:59 AM
    You're kidding right? "These words" was terrible :)
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    14 Sep 2004 09:34 AM
    Nope, dead serious. I thought "These words" was pretty good, I'm not just saying that, I actually bought the single, laugh if you like. It's a simple catchy pop single, but whats wrong with that? Lyrics were probably as good as anything Damien Rice has written too. The exact same kind of wear your heart on your sleeve vibe, the only difference is that this doesn't pretend to be anything more than it is.
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    Ian Wright

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    14 Sep 2004 12:14 PM
    You need to read an interview then, she's certainly saying that she's more than she is in them if I remember correctly. You like it, that's cool. I just thought it was really terrible pop.
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    14 Sep 2004 12:30 PM
    Ah, the Micheal Jackson effect taking hold on her early then? One minute hes just writing great pop (admittedly while having to put up with his old man kicking the crap out of him), the next he's believing he's the Messiah or something... I haven't read any interviews, but the track itself comes across as pretty unpretentious, just straight up pop with a hip hop beat underneath.
    milkyUser is Offline
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    14 Sep 2004 12:46 PM
    quote:
    Originally posted by Binokular
    Nope, dead serious. I thought "These words" was pretty good, I'm not just saying that, I actually bought the single, laugh if you like. It's a simple catchy pop single, but whats wrong with that? Lyrics were probably as good as anything Damien Rice has written too. The exact same kind of wear your heart on your sleeve vibe, the only difference is that this doesn't pretend to be anything more than it is.
    nothing i ever write is good enough - couldnt have said it better myself natasha,at least she can admit it!! can i ask you binokular what you mean when you say - the only difference is that this doesnt pretend to be anything more than it is?
    mutchUser is Offline
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    mutch

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    14 Sep 2004 01:09 PM
    re THESE WORDS. lyrics are clever whoever wrote them. gives the listener credit.
    jmc105User is Offline
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    14 Sep 2004 03:08 PM
    quote:
    Originally posted by Binokular ..With Damien Rice selling copies of "O" and B-Sides by the truckload, how can it not be classed as chart music?... ...lets not pretend listening to Damien Rice is somehow superior to listening to Natasha Bedingfield (For QsySue: Natasha Bedingfield is a UK pop star who was number one in the Irish Singles charts recently, substitute Beyonce for Nathasha and that last paragraph will probably make more sence)...
    is it right to use the same term ("chart music") to describe both i) music which was manufactured purely with chart success in mind and ii)music like "o", which was created with no thought at all for towards commercial success, but subsequently (eventually) did very well in the charts? also, you seem to suggest that there is some connection between the merit of an album (in a musical sense), and it's eventual level of commercial success. "o" was around for a long time before it started climbing the charts - surely the question of how good or bad it is as an album has nothing to do with the number of copies sold, or indeed with who its neighbours are in the top-ten... people of course buy albums for all sorts of reasons, and younger people are possibly more likely to buy certain albums as a source or badge of an identity that will be accepted by their peers. but does the act of being purchased by an individual or group somehow change an album - make it less worthy? hitler was an artist, a (failed) painter. does that diminish art? personally i don't believe that it's right to re-evaluate, or even to evaluate music based on how commercially successful it is, because whether one person buys a cd or one million people do, it's still the same cd. it's the same old question again: can a singer/band be popular and credible at the same time?
    mutchUser is Offline
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    mutch

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    14 Sep 2004 03:23 PM
    of course they can, its just if they start out trading on the "I'm not trying to be popular" card, then usually they dont know how to adapt when people just like the music regardless of what the artist wants.
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    14 Sep 2004 03:51 PM
    JMC you kinda missed my point. You just used the term "chart music" like its a negative thing. Why should you have a problem with Damien Rice being described as chart music? Its in the charts isn't it. I feel that the definition of chart music should stop there, its in the charts with no negative or positive connotations. I believe pop music is a great thing, creating music that is populist (intended for the masses) is a noble thing. Don't confuse populism with rampant commercialism, which of course is ever present in much of the music industry. You ask about being popular and credible, but what is credibility only acceptance by group of individuals? If Damien Rice is credible, doesn't that make it "safe" to a certain extent, that your friends are less likely to laugh at you than say if you bought Abba Gold? (which in todays weird world is probably no longer cheesy but the height of cool, I dunno, I can't keep up) Milky, I'm not sure how to answer your question about what I meant, I think the statement was pretty straightforward. Take it pretty much as read, I'll get back to you when I can find "these words" to explain it a bit more
    Vent My SpleenUser is Offline
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    Vent My Spleen

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    14 Sep 2004 03:57 PM
    For the record, I think the Beddingfield tune is a catchy little blighter. As for Damien Rice, there is always a market for music that is slightly left of centre yet thoroughly unadventurous - David Gray, Moby etc etc. He has managed to retain a certain underground cachet and shift a lot of records, so fair play to him - though I do find the appeal of his music baffling.
    karlvinUser is Offline
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    15 Sep 2004 11:44 AM
    quote:
    Originally posted by Binokular
    Whats "real" music Karlvin? I do get a little tired of people attributing greatness to music because of what its not (e.g. chart music) rather than what it is. With Damien Rice selling copies of "O" and B-Sides by the truckload, how can it not be classed as chart music?
    Well Binokular to me real music is music that is produced without a cynical end in mind, or if it is with a cynical end in mind make sure it's a damn good song ! If you want to sell a truck load of CDs that's easy write some charty, en-vogue, dancy, poptarts rubbish. I agree with your slant on damien rice I feel he is almost now chart music, but if you re-read my post I wasn't attributing greatness to his music just saying that IMO when it was written it wasn't with an end in mind to sell a s**T load of CDs. As for Natasha I agree a great little pop tune with a damn catchy hook - good luck to her she could have taken the cynical route and released a heap of music that was in the same vein has her brother and sold a heap. Instead she's trying to do something different.
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    15 Sep 2004 02:40 PM
    OK Karlvin, but you haven't been reading my posts either! What I'm trying to get at is that I just hate people using the term chart music or "charty" as negative connotation in itself (which you appear to do in your last post). As I said before, Whats wrong with creating music that you want to be popular? Theres a blurry line between rampant commercialism and creating music with your audience in mind, its hard at times to tell the difference. Grandmaster Flash is the perfect embodiment of that ideology. Like Kool Herc His records and DJing were aimed straight at his audience, which in his case was the dancefloor rather than the the pop charts. All he wanted to do is make people dance, which is simultaneosly selfish by being a major ego booster and generous in spirit by giving people a good time. If your intended audience happens to be the record buying public, well I think thats just as legitimate. Making music to please yourself is a natural human thing. Kids do it all the time, making up little tunes, but "indie" artists and singer-songwriter types sometimes take things a bit too far. You get this "I made this music for me and I don't care if anyone else likes it" kind of vibe sometimes or Damon Albarn saying "I don't want to sell records". Well he shouldn't have signed that record contract then! It comes across as a bit of a conceit. This kind of idea of "semi-popular" music (see Mark Godfreys Cluas article "Rock Criticism, a dying art"), runing for the artistic and moral high ground. So called "indie" and "alternative" music has never been so heavily marketed, you only have to look at the banner ads on sites like Popmatters and Pitchforkmedia to see what I mean, and then theres the whole NME thing. Just because a record company is targeting a niche market doesn't mean that the marketing involved doesn't have the potential to be equally cynical. If you want to sell a truck load of CDs it isn't "easy" to write a tune that you can guarantee will be commercially successful. That is the biggest myth in popular music. If you were capable of doing that, it would make you some kind of genius, with a Godlike understanding of hooks, rythm and melody. Even the Neptunes won't be able to keep their success going forever and Cathy Dennis (who wrote Kylies "can't get you out of my head") has had her share of also rans. No, if you want to sell a load of CDs what you need is marketing and airplay, and lots of it. Even then success is not guaranteed. Check the bargain bin of your local record store for proof of that. Oh, just a minor point, but I can't let a generalisation like "en-vogue, dancy, poptarts rubbish" go either! I never liked en-vogue, but the phrase seems to indicate a whole anti R&B, Dance music and pop thing going on. why the apparent hostility to these genres? maybe I'm taking you too literally as your other comments seem to indicate that you don't actually dismiss entire genres. Milky, to finally get around to answering your question both Natasha Bedingfields "These Words" and many of Damien Rice songs are simple heart on sleeve tunes about love, but Damien Rices delivery on record (to my ears anyway, and remember I'm talking about on record, not live performance), seems to try to take the artistic high ground that theres a kind of deeper meaining to these songs, which I don't think is there. Kinda playing the tortured soul card a bit too much. I know I'll put the noses of a lot of fans out of joint just for saying that, but that is my honest impression from listening to his music, so hey, guys, don't go all fire and brimstone on my ass for being honest. I'm not sure if anything I've written above makes sense, I'm sleep deprived and majorly overdosed on caffiene and sugar after 4 espressos and a bottle of coke so far today.
    jmc105User is Offline
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    15 Sep 2004 03:12 PM
    quote:
    Originally posted by Binokular
    JMC you kinda missed my point. You just used the term "chart music" like its a negative thing. Why should you have a problem with Damien Rice being described as chart music? Its in the charts isn't it. I feel that the definition of chart music should stop there, its in the charts with no negative or positive connotations... ...You ask about being popular and credible, but what is credibility only acceptance by group of individuals? If Damien Rice is credible, doesn't that make it "safe" to a certain extent, that your friends are less likely to laugh at you than say if you bought Abba Gold? (which in todays weird world is probably no longer cheesy but the height of cool, I dunno, I can't keep up)
    fair enough, you feel that 'chart music' should simply mean 'music which is in the charts'. maybe vulcans and other logical creatures would agree with you , but surely the term 'chart music' does have connotations - whether negative or positive depends on the individual - just like the term 'elevator music' does. to me at least "chart" music suggests the boyband/poptart/choreographed/louis walsh-managed "artists" like westlife and girls aloud, manufactured in the hope of setting up permanent residence in the charts and on the tv chart-shows. but of course other kinds of music wind up in the charts too. the difference is that some music is created purely with commercial success in mind (ie hoping for a high chart position) and some is not, but proves popular anyway (maybe achieving a high chart position along the way). taken in that context, where 'chart music' refers to the intent behind the music, damien rice would not fit in the 'chart music' category. the difference between credibility and popularity is that to be popular requires large numbers of people to like you, to be credible requires a smaller number of particular people to like you. these are the connoiseurs, the experts, whose opinion carries weight among others. for example, journalists, and musicians who already 'have' credibility, can bestow credibility through the media, but can't bestow popularity. popularity is fact (record sales), credibility is opinion (record reviews). i have seen a relationship between the two whereby as popularity increases, credibility decreases, which is why i asked the question: can an artist be both popular and credible? my answer would be 'no'. for the experts to retain their relevance and usefulness in music, they must keep their "opinion" barometer separate from the commercial "factual" barometer. since you can't argue with numbers, it's the opinions which change. of course, that is a bit of an oversimplification, but i think it partly explains why there is often a backlash against musicians who suddenly become much more successful/popular. as for damien rice being safe, i suppose he is, for some people. but only if you buy his music to fit in with your 'friends'. for the vast majority of those who buy it, they buy it because they like listening to it. i'm sure some people do un-chrisitian things with vegetables - should we re-lable carrots as sex-toys?
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