My friends, I am on a quest! A quest to rid the world of a vile and pernicious evil. I am speaking, of course, of genre snobbery and it must be stamped out. The habit of boxing ourselves like veal into a few limited categories of music that we will listen to and allowing no more is unhealthy and makes us less rather than more interesting.
How many times have you heard (or said) “I don’t like jazz”, “I just can’t stand country music” or “classical music is sooo boring”? Really? On Amazon there are 223,506 recordings listed under jazz, 156,512 under country, and 377,923 in classical. Let’s just suppose that each of these is an album with eight songs on it that would be 1,788,048 jazz, 1,252,096 country, and 3,023,384 classical tracks. Can you honestly tell me that in all that vast number of songs there is absolutely nothing you would deign to listen to?
My favorite artists are the ones who recognize that a good song is one that can be translated into a variety of styles, and don’t hesitate to take a great piece of music and make it their own regardless of its genre label. I will be regularly featuring some of these musicians in this space.
Spawn introduced me to Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies. The advantage to living with someone with completely different musical sensibilities is I’m constantly being introduced to songs and groups I wouldn’t seek out on my own.
Me first is a punk supergroup made up of Spike Slawson of Re-Volts and Swinging Utters, “Fat” Mike Burkett of NOFX, Chris Shiflett of Foo Fighters, Joey Cape of Lagwagon, and Dave Raun of Lagwagon. They’ve released nine albums each covering a different genre and era of music. They’ve even got an EP covering Japanese pop hits, in Japanese.
Deciding which songs to put in my playlist was tough. Their version of Air Supply’s All Out of Love manages to make me forget years of junior high dance trauma, and I Write the songs would make even a hardened Barry Manilow critic smile. I had to turn to the expert and after much debate spawn and I came up with a playlist that made us both happy.
Uptown Girl: This is Spawn’s Personal favorite of all their covers. I asked him why and he said “It’s genre bent but stays true to the original sentiment.”
Summertime: Yes, they did an album of Broadway Showtune covers. This was one of the more hotly debated selections. Spawn liked their cover of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” better, but I really liked the surf punk guitar sound on this one. I won this round, motherhood has its privileges.
Jolene: The only unanimous selection. Dolly Parton has been known to do quite a bit of genre bending herself, so it’s nice to hear a group returning the favor. This may be my all time favorite Dolly song.