So as I’m sitting there listening to Secret Machines’ “The Road Leads Where It’s Led”, it hits me…these are some of the stupidest lyrics I’ve ever heard (“we communicate by semaphore, no language we’ve got flags of our own”??), the lead singer’s inflections have me questioning his sexuality and, even worse, I can’t stop listening to it. Not only that, I’ve played four of the five first songs on the album OVER and OVER again and now I’m starting to get into the last half of the album.
If this was the first time this had happened, I could live with it, but I’m still reeling from the Placebo album I bought back in the late nineties, in which I heard “Pure Morning” on some internet broadcast and thought the guy sounded like Geddy Lee. Problem is that Geddy Lee is cool, but the lead singer of Placebo kinda dressed like a woman.
But not only that, pretty much every band that I’ve ever really gotten into was kind of on the outskirts of coolness, or at least never outright masculine like, say, George Thorogood or Van Halen.
It all started with ELO, a band to which this day, I still follow almost religiously. ELO was never cool, at least not amongst my friends. I endured endless ribbing through grade school, especially when I was in denial during their disco phase in the late seventies (yeah that’s right Ed, after 25 years, I’m finally admitting you were right).
Then I got into Yes and Rush during the eighties. Fortunately, Rush always had a degree of coolness, but Yes went downhill quickly after their brief 90125 resurgence. Unfortunately, following those bands led to numerous embarrassing situations in my car when I found myself singing in a high falsetto voice with the window open.
Then in the nineties, it was They Might Be Giants, which just about labeled me an outcast amongst most of my friends. Fortunately, I had Tool and A Perfect Circle in the late nineties to allow me to save face…although some of THEIR lyrics have me scratching my head about Maynard James Keenan’s sexuality.
It’s not that I’m a homophobe…at least I don’t think I am. It’s just that when you’re alone in your car, blasting your radio and fantasizing that you’re the lead singer of the band, there needs to some relevance to the lyrics that you’re singing. So when you get to a song with lyrics like “all the darlings cover earth with bare hands”, it’s kind of a buzzkill.
The problem is that I have an addictive personality when it comes to music. All I need is to be pulled in by one song and the next thing you know, I’ve downloaded their entire catalog and have listened to it exclusively for a year straight. It happened with ELO (Telephone Line), Yes (Roundabout), They Might Be Giants (Birdhouse in Your Soul) and Tool (Sober). And the goddamn Secret Machines song I heard (Now Here is Nowhere) I came across by simply flipping through channels and catching the video on MTV2 (yes, they were actually playing a video). So now I’m hoping that I come across something else soon to end this Secret Machines fascination. The worst part is that I’m sort of an elitist…I can’t follow a band that someone recommends to me. I have to find it on my own so that I can claim it as my own in some stupid way, and not feel like I’m sponging off of someone else’s favorite.