Songs of youthful sexual frustration have hit the airwaves from the start of rock and roll. Seldom does a band merge teenage desires with the apparently conflicting theme of religious awakening in such a clash of musical genres as the Violent Femmes. The Femmes have been addressing this tough blend of sounds and images with their distinctive brand of neo-punk, hard-core acoustic music since their development in Wisconsin in the early 80s. They were the definitive American cult band of the 80s, and caught the crux of teen angst with significant precision; raw and jumpy, the threesome found little commercial success but nevertheless their music reflected the troubled teens all over the world. Although some of their hit songs never hit the chart, their albums stayed a rite of passage for subsequent generations of adolescent outsiders and after nearly a decade in releases, their music finally succeeded platinum status.
Their song Blister in the Sun struck a chord with me and although I am not entirely sure what this song means it is supposed to be about masturbation. The song seems to be centred more on the main singer’s sexuality than anything else. The line “big hand I know you’re the one,” seems to suggest something to do with men, especially when this is used in conjunction with “body and beats, I stain my sheets, I don’t even know why, my girlfriend – she’s at the end, she is starting to cry.” I think he is singing about how he is content with single sexual contact than with his girlfriend; and her reaction to that. Browsing through their other songs, they appear to have comparable lyrics which do indeed reinforce this.
I found it difficult to pick a song that will best represent the contemporary thirty years from now. I picked the song Promises by Nero, because besides from absolutely adoring this song I feel as though their music and other similar artists are the music of our generation. The singer’s high-wired vocals over a thick, head-banging melody and pulsing bass-lines is particularly sharp and completely appropriate as we are in the year of dubstep-goes-pop. I’m not all that keen on dubstep in general because I feel as though there is a lack of instruments and soul to the music. It is predominately a computer and machine noises contributing to what is considered a “smash hit.” But some artists do hit the nail on the head and succeed in creating a futuristic sound. Similar genres and artists such as Skillet, Kaskade and Medina are a testament to the high-paced energy music that is pumped into popular clubs. Students/adolescents invest in the dubstep events and the package of frivolous props that accompany it, because it gives them a tangible and considered return. There is a definite thrill and excitement of the occasion, the mindless obsessions created by engrossing in what is basically carnivalesque behaviour in which social standards are challenged and reversed.