Tuesday, 21 June 2005

Coldplay and class warfare

Brendan O'Neill's scathing criticism of Coldplay and bland Brit bands in Salon, all replete with class-warfare overtones, rightfully got slammed by readers - clearly statements such as the one below conflate class issues and the glamour myth of the sexdrugsdrink rockstar with the quality - and the kind - of music generated:
It isn't just Coldplay: British music is awash with bland bands made up of upper-middle-class kids who mean well, don't drink or do drugs or even smoke, and who would make perfect company at a soiree in Downing Street.
I will say that that there are quite a few bands in the UK that are mawkish and the twee. Heck, even Coldplay themselves veer close to that edge. But to immediately say that the general civility of the bands is the cause of the blandness of their music is a leap:
What would he have made of something like the Rolling Stones' big free gig in Hyde Park in 1969: all that drug consumption, those empty beer cans tossed onto the greenery, the occasional outbursts of violence? My guess is that [Thom] Yorke would not have approved.
Does O'Neill even know that most of the Rolling Stones came from upper-middle-class backgrounds? (Which is a chance to link to the always-punchy Robert Christgau's article on the Stones.) Rock doesn't have to be polite. But it doesn't mean that it has to always be made by people misbehaving.



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