Nearer My God sounds like the solution the death of guitar music since the rise of Poptimism. Not that poptimism is inherently wrong, but the reassessment of music writing changed the values of the playing field. Suddenly nothing sounded as forward-looking, or cutting edge, or the result of meticulous craftsman engineering like the big budget pop hooks on Top 40 stations.
On its 15 year anniversary, Ted Leo is touring Hearts of Oak on a bit of a nostalgia tour. I went on Thursday night at The Echo. It was an all-time great concert, a marvel of singing and song construction, but very much a weird echo of the Bush era and the things we worried about back then.
Today we are being asked to revise our cultural consensus to challenge men in particular to think harder about our social interactions; to parse out the boundaries of people we have power over; to weigh our self-interest and needs against other people's desires. That takes some perceptive skill and mistakes will be made. Why does that mean it's not worth doing?
The cutting edge of music now belongs to pop and hip hop. These are genres where the top artists are thinking, "What's a sound we haven't used before?" or "What's a flow no one else has?" Modern indie merely asks, "What is pop not doing?" and maybe that's why we don't have rock stars anymore.
Like a gambler tantalized by the sight of the card table, or an alcoholic gifted a whiskey bottle, these things are triggers. They open up a dark access road into the mind, unloading direct and instant gratification to fill something empty.