Saturday, April 05, 2008

Satire: Local High School Student Discovers New Athens, GA Band

Port Huron High sophomore Aimee Berryman reported to her friends today that she’s discovered a great new band from Athens, GA.

Berryman says she came across a band named “R.E.M.” when checking the iTunes store on Tuesday. “I rely entirely on iTunes to keep up to date with the hottest, most cutting-edge, and most subversive music around. If it wasn’t for the folks at iTunes who truly know what ‘underground’ and ‘anti-establishment’ mean, I’d be completely clueless about music history.”

According to Berryman, she purchased the band’s sophomore album Accelerate based on several disparate factors, including a quick listen to excerpts from the album, several breathless reviews posted on the popular music download site, and the fact that “the geeky-looking blonde-haired guy wearing the glasses looks like Ms. Villa, my Spanish teacher.”

Berryman readily admits that she has a long way to go in understanding this mysterious new band. “From what I can tell, they released one album a couple years ago that was poorly received. But what do you expect? How many bands’ first full length album is a classic that they then spend the next 25 years unfairly trying to live up to?”

The high school sophomore also confirms that Accelerate has been in heavy rotation on her iPod, alongside the likes of Beyonce, Fergie, and “some old-ass fossilized geezer named Dylan who my parents babble incessantly about. Whatever.”

Berryman also especially likes the brevity of the album; with 11 songs that clock in at about 35 minutes, it’s one of the shortest albums in her burgeoning iPod collection. Explains Berryman: “The length fits my attention span. Anything over that four-minute mark, and it’s time to check out. No thanks.”

The student believes that R.E.M. could be the precursor to a new musical style. “What the music world needs is a musical genre that specializes in songs less than three minutes in length that features aggressive guitars, nihilistic grandiose statements that decades later seem naïve and simplistic, and only three chords. Maybe there could even be a British version that in a little more than a year from its inception chokes to death on its own excesses and countless derivative copycat bands. Yeah, that’d be cool.”

Nevertheless, Berryman isn’t optimistic about the band’s chances of mainstream success. She feels that “a three-piece all-male band that doesn’t have either the backing of a major label or a carefully crafted and honed image as a true democratic band is at a disadvantage in today’s segmented and derivative radio airwaves. Plus, the lead singer is way too Moby bald to get on magazine covers.”

Berryman admits most of her friends are not on board with her new musical discovery. “Sometimes I’m able to turn my friends on to new music, like the time I discovered an unknown band named The Stooges. We all agreed that The Weirdness had to be just about the best thing they’d ever do.” But her friends remain unconvinced with the Athens band. Friend Quinlin Griffin thinks the band “will never have an unexpected hit song that features a mandolin, a somewhat controversial video that includes quasi-homo-erotic religious imagery, and obtuse lyrics based around Southern colloquialisms.”

Yet Berryman, who considers herself a budding music historian, remains undeterred and plans to dive deeper into the band’s small back catalog. In addition to downloading debut album Around The Sun, she plans to see the new band in concert. She’s quite convinced the band will remain largely unknown. “They’re having to tour with two other bands just to fill the space. You tell me: what chance does that type of band have of hitting the big time?”

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