Thursday, August 7, 2008

Why we don't need the industry... especially Disney!

One of the perks of running a blog--even one like Rebel Frequencies that strives to be more than a non-stop rant--is that the writer has an opportunity to vent in a healthy manner.

In that spirit, I would like to express how profoundly sick I am of seeing the Jonas Brothers everywhere.

Here is example number one of a musical act (note that I am refraining from calling them "artists") that would not exist were it not for the music industry. They are nothing more than creations of Disney (who after making up the term "tween" are now determined to corner the market).

If not for the ever-present industry, then we wouldn't have to see the brothers' images pasted up everywhere, we wouldn't have to put up with their massacre version of "Hello, Good-bye" in Target commercials, and we wouldn't have to put up with rhetoric about how "wholesome" they are (you know, with their Evangelical beliefs, promise rings, and abstinence from drugs and alcohol).

The immortal Bill Hicks had the perfect words for "wholesome" acts like this when talking about the New Kids on the Block:

"'Oh, come on Bill. Don't pick on the New Kids. They're so good and wholesome and they're such a good image for the children.' Fuck that. Since when is mediocrity and banality a good image for your children? I want my kids listening to people who fucking rocked! I don't care if they died in puddles of their own vomit; I want my kids listening to someone who plays from his fucking heart!"

Alas, acts like this don't need heart. They have a more important social role. Make no mistake, it's not just that the Jonas Brothers are marketed relentlessly and at the same time "happen" to be pabulum. Entertainment of this character has a very specific ideological agenda behind it: to reinforce an impossible level of "morality" to dull the pain of reality. The crumbling economy, the decline in living standards for young people, the fact that any one of us might be sent to die in a meaningless war--Disney chooses not to deal with all this (they are, after all, at least indirectly responsible for it), instead insulting our intelligence with cliched versions of "good Christian values" wrapped up in a shiny package.

Reality has always been an after-thought for Disney--remember, they also refused to distribute Fahrenheit 9/11)--and as for true, honest, gritty music that actually reflects that reality? Forget it.



Alhaji said...

I have to clap at your post.

I thought I was the only one that couldn't stand the Jackoff Brothers. They are beyond an untalented, delusional, and unnecessary bunch of perfectly packaged musical products to the public.

I'm beyond tired of hearing about them and seeing them (and I don't even own a tv!) I refuse to listen to any of their music after seeing the clip of the Target commerical and hearing the lead brother's whiny vocals. Ugh. I cringe! They act as though they are the next Beatles when they're truly wannabe super stars. Image is everything and it's given them success, especially on the billboard charts where I'm baffled this week by their #8 debut which hasn't happened since 1998 with Madonna (according to

JB need to [STOP].

Binh said...

They have a fan base because teeny bopper girls and pre-teens find them hot, it has nothing to do with music, or even values. But I agree with your argument that this is just a creation of the industry. But it could be worse - Metallica is putting out a new album with a track Unforgiven III on it. I hear it'll feature Soulja Boy and here's the chorus:

What I've felt
What I've known
Recycled by us nu-metal clones
Never be
Never see
How retirement could have been
What I've felt
What I've known
Songs with less thought than a cheap ringtone
Torrents free
But never me
Please pay for Unforgiven III

Libby said...

Never knew that the Jonas Brothers mangled Hello, Good-bye in the Target commercial. That explains so much. Most of their popularity can be attributed to straightening irons and skinny ties as well as fellow Disney byproduct Miley Cyrus (sigh).

Binh said...

I actually hadn't heard the original or the Target/Jonas Bros version until just now. What can I say? Typical corporate pop rock, but I don't think the Brothers claimed or would even dream they are anywhere near the Beatles.

My favorite version of Hello/Goodbye is Lupe Fiasco's.