Friday, January 13, 2017

Weezer, The Get Up Kids and Morrissey: On the right to be alone

Some of my oldest band tees include a shirt from 'The Get Up Kids', picked up at the second gig I ever went to and a Pinkerton 'Weezer' shirt. Craig Schuftan in his book detailing the hidden roots of Rock & Roll references both bands to describe why some unwittingly remain alone.
'Hey, Nietzsche! Leave them kids alone' (2009)
by Craig Schuftan
Hey, Nietzsche! Leave them kids alone: The Romantic movement, rock and roll, and the end of civilisation as we know it
In 'Why Bother?' the singer thinks about finding a girlfriend, but finds insufficient grounds for action. It's like a super-pessimistic version of Wham!'s 'Last Christmas'. Before he's even picked up the phone he's reasoned his way to the following summer, when she'll no doubt dump him and break his heart. So he remains alone. The singer has proved his intelligence while ensuring that he remains miserable. This line of thinking leads to greater and greater inertia -- taken to its logical conclusion, the singer must renounce the search for happiness entirely and derive whatever kicks he can from monkish self-denial...

The Get Up Kids are one of the scores of bands who followed the example of Pinkerton, exploring the lonely landscape Weezer had discovered long after Cuomo himself had moved on. In the Get Up Kids' 'I'm a Loner, Dottie, a Rebel', the hero tells us that last night he was in love, and that the possibility is still there. But sitting by the girl's bedside in the morning, he reasons his way out of whatever future they might have together. 'I'm afraid to try,' he admits, 'I'll keep my hands by my side.' A real man, a natural man (a jock, a Limp Bizkit fan) would do something. But for the Get Up Kids and their fans, this kind of 'action' is deeply suspect... the heroes of the scene tend to be of the static, intellectual type.

Morrissey, in his songs, demands the right to be miserable and alone. This doesn't sound like too much to ask -- but the world keeps telling him he has to cheer up and get over it... And since he steadfastly refuses to do this, his position has, over the years, become more and more entrenched. What started out as a polite request has turned into a war of attrition... The world has refused to accept his personality. No wonder he's determined not to give up the fight. In this war, what's at stake is nothing less than the human soul. 

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