Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Thom Yorke: Just another tool of The Man

John Harris, author of The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock, thinks popular music is one of the IMF's many cattle prods:
Put bluntly, Anglo-American popular music is among globalisation's most useful props. Never mind the nitpicking fixations with interview rhetoric and stylistic nuance that concern its hardcore enthusiasts - away from its home turf, mainstream music, whether it's metal, rap, teen-pop or indie-rock, cannot help but stand for a depressingly conservative set of values: conspicuous consumption, the primacy of the English language, the implicit acknowledgement that America is probably best.

Even the most well-intentioned artist can't escape: once you have run onstage, plugged in your guitar and yelped "Hello, Tokyo!", your allegiances have surely been established. I once saw Radiohead's neurotically ethical Thom Yorke address a crowd in Modena as follows: "Sorry, we don't speak Italian. We're sad fucks." Even a clumsy "grazie mille" might have underwritten his public fretting about the effects of corporate power - but no. This, after all, was rock. [The rest from The Guardian]

Apparently Harris has never heard of a little thing called file-sharing. Also he clearly missed the memo: The kids are alter-globalization now, not anti-globalisation. Try as I might, I can't see the evil in Brazilians rocking out to R.E.M.

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