0

Musical confession: I love Skrillex, Kanye

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

It's the circle, the circle of life.

--Elton John

I'd like to start by clearing up a misconception. I am not being insulting or ironic when I say I enjoy the zany tidbits and comments of the many squawkers and regular online responders to articles in this newspaper.

While I never have and never will agree with the concept of making such comments anonymously, I appreciate as much as anyone the clever quips of some squawkers, who manage to sum up news stories of the day in a few pithy words. And I do actually enjoy the takes of regular online commenters like agirl_25, KaosinAlbany and gotanyfacts.

(Confession: I do not know who any of these people are and don't really care. But when people like gotanyfacts present well-thought-out opposing arguments to something I have written, I often take the opportunity to research further. Unlike the dullards who call anyone who doesn't agree with them names like "idiot" or "stupid," I actually learn from people who make informed responses.)

All that being said, I was inspired by a recent squawker who noted that "anyone over the age of 35" is too old to be listening to gangster rap.

I may be the only white guy past the age of 40 who would admit to doing so, but I listen to -- and love -- a lot of rap and hip-hop. I also think the mind-boggling dubstep of the mad genius Skrillex is some of the best new music being made today. And I will risk the charges of blasphemy by publicly saying Kanye West may be the closest thing to the Beatles that modern music has going for it.

I know that anyone over a certain age opens him or herself to charges of "trying to be cool" when he or she doesn't latch onto music of a particular era and settle in. I give my buddy Levine grief all the time about his inability to come to grips with the fact that there has been music made in the years since 1967.

For some reason, I've never settled on any one style or era of music. I will argue until the day I die that the best music ever was made from 1964, with the explosion of the Beatles onto the scene, to 1974, when disco kind of sent popular music into a tailspin. I think my argument that artists of that era created more great music than has come before or after is valid.

But artists didn't stop making great music in 1974. There's less quality music, yes, but some of the best music ever was created in the 1980s, the 1990s, the 2000s and even today.

If you ask most white people what they know about West, the things they'll mention include: "George Bush hates black people ...," how he dissed Taylor Swift at the Video Music Awards or how the South Park dudes used him as the butt of their "fish sticks" joke.

But West has one of the most innovative minds in modern music, and he's not afraid to explore any number of genres. Starting with breakthrough hits like "Gold Digger" and "Jesus Walks," the Atlanta-born MC quickly became a modern musical force. And his last two albums -- 2010's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" and last year's "Watch the Throne" with fellow superstar Jay-Z -- are among the best collections of the past decade.

A funny story about the music of Skrillex to illustrate my point: A friend told me to check out the artist's "First of the Year" video, which, incidentally is good enough to rank with Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller" as one of the greatest of all times, and I did. In the mood to hear more of Skrillex's mind-jarring dubstep, I played the YouTube clip of his "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites."

Former and current big boss Mike Gebhart, whose taste in music is as diverse as anyone's I know, came out of his office at about that time. He came around the corner of my cubicle with a look of consternation on his face and said, "What in the world is that noise?" Needless to say, I couldn't convince Mike to add Skrillex, whose booming bass would shame Bootsy Collins, to his playlist.

I read about and listen to music obsessively, so I want to keep up with new artists, just like I did back in 1964 when, as an 8-year-old who'd only really ever heard country music, I had something awakened in me by John, Paul, George and Ringo. And I understand that each new generation's music is its own, is the soundtrack to its rebellious spirit.

I also think it's important to point out that while Skrillex's "Bangarang" and Kanye/Jay-Z's "No Church in the Wild" are two of the absolute most innovative songs to come out in quite some time, the music I'm enjoying most right now is Van Halen's new album "A Different Kind of Truth." (Thanks to Bill, my hook-up.) And I've never been more than a casual fan who loves Eddie Van Halen's guitar-playing but doesn't particularly care for David Lee Roth's vocals.

No, I'm not trying to be cool by listening to Jesse J's "Domino" or even Disney star Selena Gomez's "I Love You Like a Love Song" along with my old Deep Purple albums. And I'm not trying to ward off time's passage by latching onto new musical trends that most of my peers find distasteful. I just love discovering innovative music and the people who create it.

In fact, I think it only fitting that while I passed my love of music and the music of my era on to my children, now they're doing the same for me.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcheralbanyherald.com.

Comments

Shinedownfan 2 years, 4 months ago

I haven't heard anything by Skrillex only, but Korn did "Narcissistic Cannibal" with them and it ROCKS! I have always thought you should subscribe to Sirius/XM and hear more than what the local stations play, classic rock, pop, rap and country... Channel 37 "Octane" will open your eyes to all kinds of wonderful new rock music out there, similar to the former "Real Rock 97three" when Doubledown ran the station.

0

TrixibelleBento 2 years, 4 months ago

I can appreciate Skrillex as his music regularly appears on BPM on Sirius and I really enjoy a lot of his stuff along with Deadmau5. David Guetta and Usher's Without You is my favorite song right now and I like Pitbull's stuff too. Kanye, eh, he's okay, but he's too full of himself. I like Gold Digger and Good Life. I just hate stuff like N&*(^s in Paris...can't we get away from "that word" that only certain people are allowed to say?

I like Lady Gaga too and have a lot of her music on my iPod, but she pales in comparison to the woman who started it all, Madonna. I miss her trashy ways before she discovered Kaballah and yoga.

When I need silence in my mind, I listen to Watercolors and Chill on my Sirius. Great stuff to clear the mind and calm me down.

Satellite radio RULES. I don't listen to mainstream anymore. Sorry Cumulus and Clear Channel.

I'm in my 40s, but not dead yet.

1

Shinedownfan 2 years, 4 months ago

Trixibelle, I think "Heartless" by Kanye is the best song he has done. I'm in my 40's too. Could not live without my Sirius/XM.

0

justme 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm going on 70 years old and my doctor asked me, how do you do it we are the same age and you look 20 years younger. My answer, SEX,DRUGS AND ROCK AN ROLL.

PS. NOTHING HARDER THAN SMOKING A JOINT WHEN I"M HURTING. THE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ARE TOO EASY TO GET ADDICTED TO.

0

Sister_Ruby 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm so disappointed that my pithy comments did not make yo list. I have served you up a hot plate of "side the head" on several occasions.

I know you love facts. But aren't you the guy who wrote that column about "the One Percent" without doing your homework on who pays the income taxes in the USA? Who would not let facts get in the way of a good opinion? I thought so.......

0

Sister_Ruby 2 years, 4 months ago

Here's your song lyric for the day: Does anybody know what time it is? Does anybody really care? - Chicago

0

LoneCycler 2 years, 4 months ago

Skrillex and Kanye West? You must be kidding. Skrillex is Sonny somebody that blew out his vocal cords being a human vuvuzela in an indie band down in Florida a while back, changed his style to digitally sampled techno hip-hop, and then moved to LA. It’s been said that he looks like the victim of a head shaving prank that wasn’t finished, and his music is pretty much just mixed together samples of other people’s music with a heavy bass beat interspersed with added robotic speech. His music may show some heritage from rock but not so much that a ZZ Top or Ted Nugent fan would be able to recognize it. Skrillex is mesmerizing to people under the influence of illegal substances and RedBull and vodka and he puts on a good show at concerts. It’s apparent that a good time is had by all, and this guy works hard to entertain. But you’d never see Billy Gibbons or Ted leaping off the stage into a mosh pit. Because their modern day fans are so old now many would injure their backs catching them, and there’d be endless lawsuits over that, but enough said about Skrillex. West’s songs are laced with racial epithets and profanity and display a dislike of social mores. He comes across in his music as being a profoundly upset person. As this comes from a guy that flaunts rolex watches, various examples of diamond studded bling and all the things only someone from the 0.5% class can afford, it seems to me that only the truly gullible would take him seriously. His actions are a perfect example of the self-absorbed condescending left wing celebrity who thinks that because they’re a celebrity and they’re filthy rich, all of us little people need to adopt their ideas and politics as our own or else we’re bigoted/racist/buffoons bent on enslaving people of color. Kanye, like Sonny, owes his riches to disgruntled white teen males of suburbia who are looking for a means of expressing their dissatisfaction with their parents and the general unfairness of life. The first requirement of their music choice is that it upset Mom and Dad. Secondly it needs to upset anyone else above the age of 20. Most of these fans outgrow their puerile musical prejudices over time but a few do become clingers. If your wardrobe consists of ten pairs of Van’s, ratty blue jean designer trousers, T-shirts with pithy graphics in black or day-glow colors, and you have multiple facial piercings and a diet that consists of chicken nuggets drenched in ranch dressing, caffeine enhanced cola and colorful packages of hard candy -- I’m talking about you. If you’ve given up these immature expressions of teenage angst, but not the music that goes along with it, keep working on it. Truly influential liberals gravitate to the Opera and Symphony Orchestra.

0

Cartman 2 years, 4 months ago

Yeah Carlton. What about Sister? How come she didn't make your list? As far as the music goes; there has been little good since Black Sabbath and most of their stuff sucked after Paranoid, except Rammstein's Mutter and a few Alan Jackson old school jukebox redo's. Black Oak Arkansas; Blue Oyster Cult; Leon Russell; and Pure Prarie League - now that's music. The only rap I cared for was Eightball MJG. The rest. Well. meh.

0

agirl_25 2 years, 4 months ago

I still think the really good music started in around the mid-60's with the British invasion. I do love the Vietnam Era music tho and some songs still make me get chicken skin (goose bumps) when I hear the opening of some in particular..For What It's Worth. When I hear the guitar in the beginning and those lyrics.....by Buffalo Springfield.......then another song...by Creedence Clearwater....Fortunate Son....it just brings so many memories back. But then I do like other types of music too.....but no thanks to rap and R&B..altho I must admit I do like Eminem. I have been a fan of his for years (but not all of his stuff). When my grandkids were much younger they used to get a kick out of bringing their friends by to meet me and say "hey Grandma, do Mockingbird", and I would, because I could. Not because I learned it from Eminem, and rapped it like he did, but because I learned it from my Dad years ago and rapped it the way he taught me to say it, but the kids knew no difference and still thought I was the coolest thing since sliced bread. And yes, Trixie, to Lady Gaga, I do love her music and I like Kanye's Gold Digger also. Skrillex is wild......but then I liked Moby back in the late 90's with his techno brand of music, especially Porcelain, and I do love Skrillex's dubstep....love the Rusko-Jahova in particular because it is weird and one must use their imagination when listening to it. As the old saying goes......different strokes for different folks.....

0

TrixibelleBento 2 years, 4 months ago

I like Moby too. His music sounds very "clean" to me and ethereal.

Forgot to mention that I have a girl crush on Gwen Stefani and enjoy No Doubt. Green Day is still my favorite overall band. Billie Joe is my hero.

0

agirl_25 2 years, 4 months ago

Ahhhhh......yes..the one and only Piano Man....he is great...this could go on forever......thinking back to the really great ones. How about Jeff Buckley? ever hear him? ...a really short career and not a lot of work to rave about but did a bang up job on Leonard Cohen's *Hallelujah". One of the best I have ever heard...just Jeff and his guitar. I don't know why, but for some reason Adam Levine's "Moves Like Jagger" always has me dancing around the room. I figure if Mick can move that way at his age I can give it a shot at mine. Just something about the beat.

0

tywebb 2 years, 4 months ago

although billy joel is great, Trixie was talking about billy JOE...the lead singer for green day :)
My favorite of all time.......DREAD ZEPPELIN.....led zeppelin music....to a reggae beat.....with an Elvis lead singer.....PRICELESS!!!!! i'm kidding...it's terrible!

0

agirl_25 2 years, 4 months ago

I said I was old....so shoot me.....they shoot horses don't they....excuseeeeee me for the mistake.....

I saw Elvis at the Paramount Theater in Newport News, Virginia when I was a teenager. I don't know why, I was never a fan. Guess it was because my older sister and her friends made me go. She had a brand new 57 Chevy....haha..I can remember the screaming teens. Man did I think we were cool....

PS......I am watching you tywebb...imma be on you like white on rice....lol.....joking....haha

0

tywebb 2 years, 4 months ago

learn something new everyday! at least you won't be on me like stink on sh...... haha btw....congrats on the shoutout from carlton!!!! nice. i'm honored to have you reply to one of my posts ;)

0

TrixibelleBento 2 years, 4 months ago

Haha Ty, you are right. I was talking about Billie Joe Armstrong, but that's okay. No harm, no foul. ;)

0

TrixibelleBento 2 years, 4 months ago

I know a bit about Jeff Buckley, but not much. Adam Levine is interesting to me too. Like his more recent stuff in comparison to the early Maroon 5 material.

0

Shinedownfan 2 years, 4 months ago

As you can see by my username, Shinedown is my favorite band, Disturbed is #2. I used to love Linkin Park till they started sucking... I also like Breaking Benjamin, Mudvayne and many other rock bands. I don't listen to pop or rap anymore since my daughter is 18 and has discovered other types of music.

0

TrixibelleBento 2 years, 4 months ago

Mudvayne! I haven't heard anything but Dig, but very interesting band. Remember that song about the same time as One Armed Scissor by At The Drive In. That was a fun time for me.

0

agirl_25 2 years, 4 months ago

Ohhhhhhh......got some Shinedown from YouTube and converted the vids to MP3's. Breaking Benjamin had been "forced" on me by my grandson one weekend when he visited. He held me "prisoner" in his new ride so I had to listen to his "cool" music. Not bad at all. See you can teach an old dog new tricks.

1

Shinedownfan 2 years, 4 months ago

Brent Smith of Shinedown has the most amazing voice! I have all their CDs and even went to see them when they came to Albany during their "Leave a Whisper" tour. Their new cd will be out March 27th. I have all but one of Breaking Benjamin's CDs. Their songs are so catchy and easy to sing along with. I love new rock, it makes me feel young. :)

0

tywebb 2 years, 4 months ago

Second best voice! Chris Cornell, of soundgarden and audioslave fame, as THE best voice of current singers! The late Bon Scott was amazing!

0

Shinedownfan 2 years, 4 months ago

"Dig" is the only song I don't like... Too much noise. "Scarlet Letters", "Scream with Me" and "Dull Boy" are good, "Forget to Remember" and "Fall into Sleep" are good older songs by Mudvayne. I love the singer's voice during the choruses.

0

LuLu 2 years, 4 months ago

Uuuuhhhh... Anybody going to see Colt Ford in Sasser on April 6th?

0

ghostofkarelia 2 years, 4 months ago

One word: Mastodon

  1. Grab their album "Crack The Skye."
  2. Listen to it beginning to end with a good sound system or set of headphones.
  3. Enjoy.

Sounds amazing on vinyl as well.

Progressive metal with the feel of a classic rock album. All the songs are amazing, but the closing track, "The Last Baron," is a masterpiece.

And they're from Georgia. Always a plus. Nice guys, incredibly talented musicians. If you enjoy music and have an open mind, then you'll love it.

1

TrixibelleBento 2 years, 4 months ago

How come only 15 of the 23 comments are viewable?

0

agirl_25 2 years, 4 months ago

I see all of them Trixi, down to the album cover posted by ghostofkarelia.

0

tywebb 2 years, 4 months ago

for some of the replies, you will see under someones post that it says, for example, 5 replies. you then have to click on that to see them.

0

TrixibelleBento 2 years, 4 months ago

Thank Ty, I hadn't noticed that verbiage before...I don't know where I've been spending my time.

0

agirl_25 2 years, 4 months ago

Just gotta say one thing........THE EAGLES.......ok I am done.

0

Sign in to comment