The Singles Jukebox
Singles Going Steady

By: US Stylus Staff
2004-06-10



Posted 06/10/2004 - 04:29:18 AM by holystoning:
 I'm from Austin, where Los Lonelys have a large following. What I hear it's the sound of fortysomething organic produce-eaters patting themselves on their betweeded backs for being so multiculti and eclectic. I love my city, but sometimes its head gets swole. "Heaven". What pandering shite.
 
Posted 06/10/2004 - 07:45:58 AM by JoshLove:
 Sounds like you're judging the audience rather than the artist, holystoning, which is always dangerous and almost always wrong. It's nice to see that we all have such an enormous built-in buffer against sincerity that a band like Los Lonelys can be written off so cynically and easily, like our b.s. detectors are already set to stun whenever we hear a song that sounds like it might appeal to the dreaded NPR set. Who the fuck cares who LISTENS to this song or where they buy their avacados, and besides, "Heaven" is far from indicative of Los Lonelys' debut LP as a whole. It sounds a little more like an overt bid for MOR radio play than anything else on the rest of the CD, trust me, but I still probably would have given it a (7) because it's a solid tune, and more than that because the rest of the album really is so terrific and more people need to hear it. Well, except maybe holystoning. :) Seriously, it's a terrific, unpretentious, life-affirming, nostalgic-but-not-kitsch blend of classic rock, adult contempo pop and genuine soul, and I might just have to review the bugger now after the reaction "Heaven" got on here.
 
Posted 06/10/2004 - 10:53:15 AM by IanMathers:
 Uh, Josh, I don't think he was claiming to judge the artist. Point taken, but I think he's got a segment of the band's fans pretty much nailed.
 
Posted 06/10/2004 - 11:14:08 AM by JoshLove:
 I just think it's dangerous to use a criticism of a band's fanbase as a springboard to criticism of the band itself because it can make what they're trying to do with their music look so much more cynical or "pandering" depending on who you think their audience is, intentional or otherwise. I see you didn't like "Heaven," Ian, and while I thought your reasoning was sound I really think you should give 'em another shot. Beg borrow or steal a listen to "More Than Love" and then tell me MOR quasi-balladry can't sometimes be a good thing :)
 
Posted 06/10/2004 - 01:17:32 PM by holystoning:
 Fair enough, Josh. I'm just being snarky about Los Lonelys' audience; to me, it's indicative of their artistic aims. Music can exist outside of context, to be sure, but I wanted to share a personal anecdote because for a while there, I thought Austin was the only town that was going to have to suffer from Los Lonelys' feel-fine blooz-rock slickness. Then, "Heaven" got a more-than-regional radio push, and I was glad to see a few others at Stylus share my pain. Give me John Denver's "Calypso" any day of the week. Personal preference. The sociopolitical demographic of the people lapping this stuff up is only a bonus.

But don't we make at least token judgments on the audience all the time? A good deal of the performers making "teen pop" aren't teenagers themselves. "Northern Soul" calls to mind more than just American R&B; music. The recent Avril "Seconds" review dealt with the reactions - positive and negative, including the author's own response - her music causes, more so than merely describing the track (which, admittedly, was an approach I criticized). While I don't, and didn't intend to, base my displeasure at "Heaven" solely on a lot of the folks who love it, I think it's at least indicative of the Boys' artistic motivations, inspirations, and level of depth. Thanks for calling me out, though. :) Love the dialogue this magazine enganders.

Brad Shoup
 
Posted 06/10/2004 - 01:51:23 PM by JoshLove:
 Thanks, Brad, I think you more than accounted for your earlier comment, but I think your most recent post also opens itself up to some interesting questions. You suggest that the audience for Los Lonely Boys, while not the sole cause of your antipathy towards them, might in fact be "indicative of the Boys' artistic motivations, inspirations, and level of depth." So perhaps the culture-tourist tendencies of the Boys' implied audience reflects a similarly half-assed bid for musical polyglotism on their part as well? That the Boys fail to offer their listeners anything more than a superficially unchallenging, pat-yourself-on-the-back good time? I don't agree with that assessment of this particular band at all, but I think it's intriguing to think of a band's fanbase as a window onto its cultural role. I guess musicians never really can have full control over that role, and certainly you would hope that if a band was good enough, it wouldn't need to worry about being so lazily flaunted, but in this case at least I think the Boys might end up being the victims here of their own all-inclusiveness.
 
Posted 06/10/2004 - 02:31:18 PM by holystoning:
 And that may be true; if Los Lonely Boys were to fully plumb the depths of their musical roots, they'd end up with something like Graceland. Obviously, their aims are a bit lighter. And there's not a thing wrong with that. Tell you what, I'll keep my ears out for the rest of the album before I pass any more judgments.
 
Posted 06/10/2004 - 08:01:39 PM by IanMathers:
 "It's not the band I hate / It's their fans". Still, that's an interesting idea you guys are talking about. And Josh, I promise to give them another chance.
 
Posted 06/11/2004 - 01:52:21 AM by ddrake:
 Andrew you astound me - positive reviews for recent modern rock singles and the beat for Jesus Walks is "poorly structured"?! Insanity, that's what that is.
 
Posted 06/12/2004 - 12:39:23 AM by AUnterberger:
 Check. Modern Rock = bad. Beats = awesome.