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Monday, January 2, 2017

Manufacturing Icons - Tapping into Pop Culture

So, I was watching a documentary on "The Jam", a Mod band from the UK. I'm told that a lot of United Statesers aren't familiar with them, which is a bit sad, but I remember the Jam being the forefathers and lingering part of the alt-rock movement that I thrived on in the 80's. They are practically a religion in the UK, because they bridged the gap between punk and "progressive" rock that came before them.
The Jam
There was a lot of talk about the punk movement including "the Clash", whom I love and "the Sex Pistols", for whom I don't have a passion for, but appreciate what they were rebelling against. This led to a conversation about how the Sex Pistols really had no talent and that was their hook. My husband talked about how their producer didn't care that they didn't have any real musical background and all they really made was noise...angry noise. They were amongst the group of commercially designed bands. (Okay, I know some people don't see it that way, but how else can you explain the popularity of...let's say...such a "raw" style?) That they didn't know what the hell they were doing, nor did it matter, was what sold them. They spoke to a generation of disenfranchised, violent, misunderstood youth. 
The Clash
This thought brought me to the thought that the Sex Pistols were the Spice Girls of their time and the juxtaposition made me laugh. That something so raw and angst ridden could be compared to the manipulated, smooth, perky sounds of what I'd always considered "sugar pop" of a generation of kids I didn't understand...yup, I was already "old" when the Girls came around.
The Sex Pistols weren't the first "corporate" designed band, or, maybe more fairly they got caught up in the machinery that they railed against. That might be why they didn't really last all that long (or perhaps it was the heroin). On the other hand, the Jam had a solid music background and the trio had some serious skills. (Don't get me wrong..."God Save the Queen" is iconic, to be sure!)`
The Sex Pistols...yup, real blood.
So, if you have a chance, check out some of the Jam's music (you might recognize the song "A Town Called Malice") and try to get your head around the idea of the one degree of separation between the (notorious) Sex Pistols and the Spice Girls. 

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