Wednesday, March 18, 2009

video #71: KMFDM - A Drug Against War

"Do I really like this, or would I rather be listening to KMFDM instead?" That's probably the closest thing to a personal "test" that I have for any music that I can't form an immediate opinion about. Unfortunately, most of the time the answer doesn't fall in the favor of whatever hot new indie band everyone is talking about.

I can't say how authentic KMFDM's anti-corporate posturing was or how subversive their songs truly were or weren't. They weren't Throbbing Gristle or Negativland but obviously they were aware of this and for a popular band they had a rare self-deprecating streak about themselves that that would soon be lost on an entire generation (or at least whatever tiny fraction of it would actually hear them once their sound was left out of the Vans Warped Tour/Korn Family Values scenes). I think that's what troubles me most, the fact that they were essentially a joke but it was one their fans were in on. Today, they'd be crucified for empty "sloganeering" by bloggers but taken completely literally by everyone else. Just another sign why this decade has surely been the dumbest I've lived through so far. Of course, you can't take this stuff too seriously but why can't some mock-agitprop still be fun in these image-obsessed times?

The transition from the optimistic and culture-savvy 90s (when skepticism of the media and globalization seemed to be growing into a burgeoning movement -- though maybe I'm embellishing the past as everyone eventually does) to the comparitively retarded 00's (seemingly doomed to be remembered for awful television, butchered attention spans, and the shallow self-mythologizing and prejudice-reinforcement enjoyed by all on the Internet) didn't have to happen. I don't think I'm imagining it all either. I'm not nostalgic for the 90's (not in any meaningless VH1-defined sense of the term) but I truly believe that the thought process of the average person was radically different back then. Maybe I'll end up feeling the same way about this decade in another 10 years?

This video was (probably) directed by Aiden Hughes, whose iconic art appeared on pretty much all of KMFDM's releases, even 13 (!) years after this clip was first aired. Of course, this was when MTV actually played videos, which is almost impossible to talk about now without sounding embitteredly out-of-touch or furiously betrayed by its direction since. You can't even talk about talking about it anymore without using tired words like "rockist" or "oldster" and sounding like some 40 year-old who just discovered the world of online music criticism and is discovering how to use it to vent about his deepest-held values and prejudices. But don't act like it's all relative and there's no difference between progams like "120 Minutes"/"Yo! MTV Raps"/"Daria"/"Aeon Flux" and "MADE"/"Room Raiders"/"The Hills"/"Paris Hilton's my New BFF."

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