Friday, January 13, 2006

At First I Was Alone, I Was Petrified...

In absolutely cringworthy news, Sony has announced that it will be launching a new "gay music label". It's to be called, wait for it, wait for it...

Music With A Twist.

A gay music label? I'm sure they'll immediately be signing the following gay-beloved acts:

The Flaming Lips
Henry Rollins
The Detroit Cobras
The Dandy Warhols
The Scissor Sisters
The Dresden Dolls
The White Stripes
Antony and the Johnsons
Emmylou Harris
John Brion
Paul Weller
Lucinda Williams
Rufus Wainwright
and any remaining members of The Runaways

And yet, somehow, I fear that Music With a Twist will look less like the above and more like:

Anyone for Hot Ibiza Traxx Volume V?

The entire problem with the idea of "gay music" is that it doesn't exist. If, say, Dolly Parton plays in L.A., I assure you that most of the audience will be gay, but you're never going to see her listed as a "gay artist". Instead, the media will do what it always does, and find the easiest, safest "fun" image they can and go with that. There is more truth about what it means to be gay in Antony and the Johnsons Hitler in my Heart then in every meth-fueled trance record on the planet. A really innovative "gay label" would explore the themes common to artists that strike a chord with lots of queers: alienation, rejection and survival, self-awareness, friendship, infatuation, righteous anger and cynical knowing. But most of all, smart and telling observation.

Look, maybe I'm pre-judging here. Maybe these guys will do it differently. But if I know the record industry, and I know the record industry, they will go with the same tired old shorthand and sell us the same re-tread dance music. Because that's what we do. We dance. For your entertainment.

Gay acts and gay-friendly acts that defy the party-boy cliche? The record industry doesn't know what to do with them. Thus it has been since the days of Pansy Division and Bronski Beat, Jobraith and Bowie.

I wish Matt Farber the best. If he'd like, I know some great acts he might want to check out. They won't be playing in West Hollywood anytime soon.


Blogger Buddy Cole said...

I hear the PIXIES are shopping around now for a home for their new record. And there's a rumor The Smith's are giving it another go... perhaps without Morrissey. Hmmm

8:52 PM  

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