09 August 2010

The Best New Album of the Year, Ever: What You Get Is What You've Already Seen

You're just a fool, you know you're in love with the rules.
What You Get Is What You've Already Seen, or the Eternal Recurrence of Tina Turner's Legs
It's funny how much success Justin Bieber has had, because I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't hate his fucking guts. Granted, I don't hang around any 12-year-old girls, but let's be honest, even that entire demographic is going to drop Biebs for the next goober with a goofy-ass haircut they happen to see.

This post isn't about Justin Bieber, at least not directly. The thing with Bieber is just to remind everyone of a truth we all already know: shitty music always exists, and tons of people always buy it. I can write more complex and thought-provoking lyrics in the snow with my pee than the Black Eyed Peas write in an entire album. Regardless, BEP are going to inexplicably sell albums while I continue to compose uric diatribes decrying their mainstream success.

The good news is that good music also always exists, which is why you should go out and buy Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' self-titled album. It sounds like Tina Turner's career, which is a good thing, because Tina Turner is the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll. There are songs from Tina's early career. There are later songs from her solo years. There are rock and roll songs and blues songs, and songs that sound like CCR are the backing band, just for that southern edge.

Beyond the individual songs, Potter even vocalizes like Turner and scoops into certain notes like Turner. The Nocturnals look like they backed Turner at some point, maybe around 1975-1978. More to the point: Potter is like the white Vermonter version of Turner without the asshole ex-husband, as far as I know. ANYWAY, scroll back up and check out the album cover. Now look at the original US cover for Turner's Private Dancer:
Uncanny, no? But I'm not trying to say that Grace Potter & the Nocturnals are trying to copy or steal from Tina Turner. My point is that popular culture is supersaturated with music, and with more music being shared on the internet, creating something novel likely means creating something either pretentious or awful, but probably both. Short of that, old sounds need to recur in new ways, and influences ought to show themselves in new music. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals have all the passion, energy, and explosiveness of Tina Turner, and it's good for all of us that they do.

Friedrich Nietzsche believed in the eternal return of the same, and that's what I'm talking about here, even though I realize what a shame it is I'm not fully doing justice to Nietzsche's philosophy. Part of his point is that, if every event has already occurred and will occur again, we must find the courage to live in that instant. We are meant to be dynamic, or as Nietzsche wrote in The Gay Science, "We are, all of us, growing volcanoes that approach the hour of their eruption; but how near or distant that is, nobody knows - not even God."

As musicians, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals repeat their influences— in this case, Tina Turner especially— but it is their courage to live in the instant and create the same music again, dynamically. As I said, even Justin Bieber recurs eternally, just as Nietzsche's rabble does, or just as, for Nietzsche, Wagner produces only sick music.

But the other side of things are those of us who love good music wherever and whenever it is made. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals show the influence of Tina Turner on their sound and they dive whole-heartedly into that sound. The result is something new that we have already seen, and it rocks. Such music "furnishes us with eyes and hands and above all the good conscience to be able to turn ourselves into such a phenomenon."

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