Peace Insults My Intelligence

Suffering builds character.

While everyone was busy ducking and covering in the 1980’s and marveling over the guy who “did not have sexual relations with that woman” in the 1990’s, too much happiness and cheer were going on.  And then people get all nostalgic about all that “wonderful” 80’s music or 90’s music just because it was playing during all those important childhood moments.

Get over it.

Long-time followers of this blog already know how I feel about the American music industry.  They feed us domestic crap and then they import the smelliest crap (sans flies) from overseas.

And so we get Falco and Ace of Base and nothing truly worthwhile.

Do you know what’s worthwhile?

Pain.

Yes, pain.  And transforming those songs into a more explicit version of the pain that they have caused so many people.

So let’s go back to Falco and the dirty little hit job he did on Mozart.  How did that song make you feel?  Perhaps warm and fuzzy like these guys?

Those of us who always hated Falco’s music have become superior moral beings because we had to suffer through it.  Umbra Et Imago’s improved version would help the more mainstream idiots grow in character.

It’s amazing what those melodic low notes can do for a song and for a few blubbering fools.

And then there’s Ace of Base.  I will not bore you with any description because I’m sure that the band has bored you enough already.   However, I will provide you with a lovelier version of an Ace of Base song so that you might truly understand what it means to be an ace:

And once you become wise like me, you will find that the heavy discordant notes now sound normal and you’ll need something different to prevent yourself from becoming a mindless zombie follower of your new musical love.

This is why God invented duets.

Just find the best approximation of your favorite Brazilian death metal band and dummy up the most unlikely musical partner for them…

Now that’s a song that would have been worth losing your virginity to all those years ago.

Unfortunate CD Covers Insult My Intelligence

I’m feeling inspired today by a couple of recent posts about terrible CD covers over at the muscleheaded blog.

I’d like to add a pet peeve of my own to this: the gratuitous use of pentagrams for music that isn’t satanic.  (That’s satanic, not santaic.  Christmas is over.)  It makes the music harder to find because American sellers fear it and, once it is found, buyers like me experience profound difficulty when explaining the purchase to unenthusiastic friends and family.   Since people are inherently superficial, many would prefer to judge a book or CD by its cover… especially when it comes to anything that might influence their soul’s eternal resting place.  Picky, picky, picky.

I’m done pontificating, so here’s the first CD cover:

Die Prophezeiung

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This CD is about as Satanic as Dante’s Inferno.  However, you can’t really get anything by this musical group in the U.S.  I bought my copies overseas.  And when I wanted to obtain a copy of something that wasn’t even available used, I couldn’t get one despite the fact that Amazon sells MP3 copies on its foreign websites.  I contacted Amazon about it and they apologized for the “inconvenience” and cited vague copyright issues.  I suppose Universal Records can’t afford to be associated with a pentagram in the U.S. market.  (Gratuitous advertisement: I’ve written about this issue before.)

And then there’s “Sex Sex Sex” by JBO, which I also enjoy.

3s

(Tip: the German words for six and sex are pronounced even more similarly than the English words.)

JBO is the closest thing Germany has to Weird Al Yankovic, and who doesn’t love Weird Al, or sex and Satanism rolled into one CD cover?    That surely must make you curious about the accompanying concert tour…

Lives

I don’t own this CD.  I prefer my sexual content to be perfected with all sorts of technological advances.  Anything that’s relatively “unplugged” sounds too much like celibacy.

But seriously… there’s barely any sex in the music.  And so I offer you a song from one of JBO’s later CD’s because it’s in English.  My more theologically oriented readers may want to skip the video but, then again, anyone who made it through the CD covers isn’t too likely to be offended.  I think…

The American Music Industry Insults My Intelligence

Das letzte Einhorn, In Extremo

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’d like to introduce one of my favorite European bands: In Extremo.  They originate from Germany but they’ve toured in Mexico and probably some other places.  As far as I know, they have never made it to the United States.  Their exclusion from our market reveals much about consumer preferences in this country while enlightening us on what risks the music industry will take.  Let’s have a closer look.

1-  In Extremo has recorded songs in German, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Icelandic, and a host of dead languages… but not in English.  And unlike some other performers, they don’t offer translated versions of their hit songs.  Unless they decide to cover the Macarena or Du Hast, they have no chance here until they jump on the English bandwagon.

2- They released a CD called “Unbridled Sinners” (Suender ohne Zuegel) and that’s totally unacceptable to Americans’ religious sensibilities.  That must be why those devoutly Catholic Mexicans welcomed the band into their country.  Oh, wait, that album title came from the lyrics to a song and those lyrics were “I was searching for people like myself but all I found were unbridled sinners.”  So they’re implicitly criticizing less savory types who love metal (yes, this is a metal band) while still marketing the product to this demographic.

3- On the subject of darker types, metal in Germany is sometimes associated with certain extremist tendencies… which isn’t fair in most cases.  And then In Extremo has the medieval and occult-ish aesthetics that the Nazis also liked, plus the overly masculinized musicians.   That’s why In Extremo has to be kept out of the U.S.  That’s also why Rammstein could create a music video using clips from an old Nazi movie and still be imported into the U.S. market.

4- Americans don’t mind overly masculinized musicians, but the musicians have to play the part.  In Extremo’s lead singer goes by “The Last Unicorn” and that name isn’t particularly manly.  The original German name isn’t much better because “Einhorn” already exists in the American cultural vocabulary.  (In case you’re too young to remember, the first Jim Carrey “Ace Ventura” movie featured a crossdressing villain named Einhorn.)  Oh, and a few band members sometimes wear kilts… and that obviously makes them look like a bunch of neo-Nazis.  And then one guy plays the harp in a few songs.

5- The band’s traditional symbol is too violent for American tastes.  They use a gallows, kind of like the one you drew as a kid while playing Hangman.  I suppose crucifixes are also kind of violent, though.

6- In Extremo signed with one of the major American music labels and rebranded themselves by dropping all of their old costumes and symbols; the resulting CD also lacked flavor and didn’t earn great reviews.  A bonus CD included some of their older music performed in their new style and it disappointed.  And they adopted aviator jackets… which somehow reminded me of the giant bandages the lead singer needed after being injured by the pyrotechnics during their previous tour.  The nostalgic looking biplane on the CD cover didn’t help their image either.  Very medieval.  I suppose making it big can ruin a band.

7- I’ve told you that this metal band sometimes uses a harp.  So as you can probably guess, In Extremo’s choice of instruments lands them well outside of the U.S. mainstream.  Americans expect guitar riffs and more guitar riffs.  And three chords maximum.  I can’t list all of the instruments these guys play, but they do have one signature instrument that constantly appears in their music.  It will convince you that these guys are a bunch of neo-Nazis.

So, without further ado, I present a video clip from an In Extremo concert.  They will be performing a song from “Unbridled Sinners” called “Omnia Sol Temperat.”  It’s a cover of the Carl Orff composition that’s based on the thirteenth century poem from the Carmina Burana.

Classical music was meant to be played with an electric guitar and in the original Latin.