Between the Bars


Edin thought it was funny that people who don’t have real problems sing angry songs.

So I thought about it on the drive home from Portland late Saturday night after we sent off Rick to Seattle. Some thoughts crossed my mind:

  • Was the grunge movement just whiny drifters mad about their station in life?
  • Pseudo-existentialism aside, what substance did it all have?
  • How does alternative rock in the 90’s compare to the music of the 30’s, when there was a national depression?
  • How does American music differ from music in underdeveloped countries? Is it angrier?
  • Aside from hard rap, why is African American music generally happier?
  • When we have everything, are we the least fulfilled?
  • Where is my shirt? Did I even remember to wear it today?

When I added it up, I started to realize that a large majority of the “happy” music I know was sang during some of the worst periods by people living through some major drama.

Where I tend to differ a bit, though, is that I find a lot of beauty in hard beats and rhythms created by people who probably didn’t have a legitimate gripe. Though I liked them especially if they carried a significant message — something closer to the heart than, “my dad didn’t by me an Escalade now I’m going to bust a cap.”

And while I tend to like bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam — I really did have to wonder what the hell all these guys were so pissed off about. Maybe it was their long hair, which was tangly and unmanageable.

Stevie and Ray were always smiling, even though they couldn’t see a damn thing, and the Duke didn’t grow up in the best of times.

2 thoughts on “Between the Bars

  1. Nick

    Yeah. I have noticed the same thing recently. Grunge musicians are
    always mad at something but they reaelly have nothing to be mad at. Now
    Blues singers sometimes looks like the happiest people but their songs are
    always about heartbreak or something depressing like that. Country
    singers too. Either their dog ran away, their truck is gone, or their
    wife was sleeping with her brother. Rap also has its share of angry
    artists. I can think of three famous rappers off the top of my head that
    have been shot and killed in public places. Which isnt really suprising
    if you listen to their songs. Prior to Tupac Shakurs’ death he released a
    track titled, “Hit Em’ Up,” in which he stresses the point that Biggie
    Smalls is a nobody. And what do you know, a little while later Tupac is
    dead. Ironically a few months later Biggie joins Tupac six feet under.
    Over what? could it have been the song and the coast to coast beef that
    Tupac and Biggie had????

  2. sullivat

    I could never understand the words to alt-rock or grunge music. It could be happy or it could be sad. I just don’t know.

Comments are closed.