I wore suspenders briefly in senior high school. For proms, it looked great. In the halls, it was an easy way to simulate a snappable bra strap on a man. But how else was I to hold up my pleated chinos, so that my purposefully mismatched Chuck Taylor All-Stars were visible? What do you mean, “no wonder I was picked on”?!?
The Cure was a band I despised with a raging hate-on back in school. As for the reasons why:
- I would awkwardly engage in a chaste courtship with an attractive girl.
- We would get to know each other, little by little, while I secretly prayed “please, please don’t let her like The Cure.”
- We go to a party with some friends. Someone puts on “Love Cats” in the car.
- The girl begins to sing along, with the other girls.
- I kill myself.
The difference between men and women is that you can insult things that men like, and men won’t act like you’re an evil oppressor. People tell me Zappa sucks all the time, to try and get my goat. I just shrug. It isn’t personal, they just don’t know what they’re talking about.
I got into rock music because of songs that impressed me in their tone and complexity, written and performed by versatile musicians. The lead singer of The Cure looks like a homosexual serial killer from an ’80s, pre-AIDS thriller, and he sings in a throaty, affected moan. They’re the kind of outfit that pens a song called “Killing An Arab”, then slaps a note on the shrinkwrap that lets everyone know it’s not really about killing a Arab, so you know, relax. Don’t do it.
Music “for girls” is rarely, if ever, defensible in the way that music for boys is. Eddie Van Halen playing “Eruption” on his guitar; that, we could understand. It might even inspire us to pick up an instrument. Then, on the same radio station, would be the abomination known as “Material Girl”, by Madonna.
Nothing, nothing is defensible about that hideous song. It’s fucking terrible. Madonna sings like the perverted, gold-digging hussy she is, in a breathy, little-girl voice. It’s beyond off-putting. Not only that; the woman is celebrating her soulless materialism. Literally everything bad about 1980s pop music exists in this one, unconscionably shitty song.
And girls ate it up! They made Madonna a superstar! Who else did? No guys listened to that garbage!
Listen; if men pull some silly shit on stage, they are generally busted on it. You don’t dare poke fun at a female behind a microphone. My goddess; do you even comprehend the struggle she overcame just to get there? You’d better treat her equal to a man, and abide bullshit you’d typically ridicule! That’s equality, isn’t it?
I listen to Radiohead. I have guy friends who deliver entire comedy routines about how gay listening to Radiohead is. I even crack Radiohead jokes, and I’m a fan. You don’t have to deify something just because you related to it. That’s dangerous. Cultish.
The other real horror show for girls in the ’80s came from Cyndi Lauper: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.
I don’t come down as hard on Lauper because, to be honest, she is more genuine compared to Madonna. I’ll just say it; prettier, inside and out. If you didn’t feel the stirrings of a crush forming while watching Cyndi Lauper in the awful 1988 comedy Vibes, watch it with the sound off. It’s a Queens accent, whaddaya want from me?
“Material Girl” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” were pushed into heavy rotation because they were considered “harmless”, compared to George Michael and Madonna singing about sex and virgins. This is why men laugh at Madonna when she tries to act or be taken seriously. Girl, you made a career on your daddy issues. You want to really shock people? Say something witty and smart.
Both George Michael and Robert Smith of The Cure wore makeup; something 90% of men will never do. However, about the same made-up percentage of women do wear makeup, and like the idea of seeing it on a boy. The average guy doesn’t like putting on makeup because it “feels like being a girl”. Even the eternally-punchable Kurt Cobain flouted this standard by wearing eyeliner, and women’s clothing.
Do you get it? Do you see how emptily provocative that is?
I don’t consider Kurt Cobain to be a very good guitarist. How can the focus be drawn away from his playing? By making him look like a gender-confused drug addict that it’s wrong to poke fun at. Boom; his fans can claim I “just don’t understand him”, and technically, they’d be right. No one could.
Am I saying that you could take mediocre music, and dress it up in controversy and sexualized costumery, to elicit huge profits? Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying, and it works literally every single time. Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, whatever; indefensible from any legitimate standpoint. Destined to be forgotten, in ten years when the contracts have all run out. It’s all a ruse to sell a fake concert. It’s as far from genuine performance as you can get.
A real musician places the emphasis upon their instrument, and nothing else. If you emphasize your gender, your makeup, or your genitals, you shouldn’t be surprised when that’s all anyone notices.
But you’ll dance to anything.
[My favorite Dead Milkmen tracks were often the instrumentals. I’ve wondered for decades what the voices on the following song are saying. It sounds like “Yo, what’s it feel like to touch a corpse?” and “Do you sell punk rock tapes? “We do! How did you know?”]
[That’s my favorite DM song of all. Another terrific instrumental:]