Hey hey my my


Why are the Rolling Stones still arguably the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band ever? A kid who’s starting college this fall, who was born in say 1994, will have a bunch of Stones songs on her digital devices and will play them loud one night, when everyone’s drunk and making memories, and she’ll be really cool for having played the Stones. Kids who haven’t heard them before will get interested in their sound, maybe download some tracks; someone in the room will later be in a band and spend hours trying to get that perfect drone sound from “Ruby Tuesday.”

The Rolling Stones became a band in 1962 — 50 years ago — and Mick Jagger just turned 69.

Now there’s this song by the Japandroids, “The House that Heaven Built.” It’s enjoyable. It has those essential rock-and-roll things: youth, energy, fuck-it-man-I-just-wanna-play-guitar. The video reinforces the feel of the song.


There’s plenty of differences between the Japandroids song and, say, “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” (the last minute of that particular live performance is pretty amazing, despite the TV-studio setting) but we’re clearly dealing with the same genre. When do genres get tired?


4 responses to “Hey hey my my”

  1. Andrew says:

    There was an episode of Louie where Louis CK is doing a USO show and is creepily hitting on a teenage cheerleader. He tries to act cool and talk to her about music, and he mentions the band Aerosmith and Steven Tyler, and she responds by saying “Oh, I love American Idol.” I hope this isn’t an accurate depiction of the current generation of teens.

    That being said, I grew up in a non-Rolling Stones household. My mom didn’t think music was worth listening to after Elvis died and my dad thinks The Rolling Stones are too loud (he prefers Joni Mitchell, Simon & Garfunkel and Peter, Paul & Mary). To rebel against this, I mostly listened to louder rock n’ roll in my high school and early college years, and definitely got very into the Rolling Stones. For this reason of rebellion, I would say rock, as a genre, will never die, but will definitely get tired. Remember the early 90’s when everyone was listening to Limp Bizkit and Hoobastank? Rock was really exhausted then. I suppose it just needs to hit the reset button and figure out what it’s about for every generation.

    I’m reminded also of the movie Persepolis. A girl growing up in the Iranian Revolution reaches out to the west and finds punk rock and hair metal. Even if it’s not at it’s best, back catalogs will be there for those who need it.

  2. Smearcase says:

    The Stones (whose music was never very much part of my life…Dad played The Beatles on the car stereo on the way to school) are mentioned in the Wikipedia entry on Pussy Riot. I just saw this and thought I’d mention it. Punk is a genre that had better not get tired or we’re in a lot of trouble.

  3. AWB says:

    I was struck, while listening to the performance of that song in the first video, that it sounded like any other trend song of that era. This is the new dance and it’s all the rage and it’s going to last, or whatever. Our parents say don’t listen to this kind of music but we don’t care. But most of those songs about trends were wrong; they were just phases. The enduring nature of guitar rock is a weird thing.

    And I still have my moments, every so often, when I ask myself why I’m not a frontwoman of a band and a lit prof instead. It’s not that I have so much charisma or talent as a rock singer, but I, like many, occasionally long to be that person that so vanishingly few can convincingly be.

  4. T-Mo says:

    What I find most interesting is the huge difference in awareness of the camera/viewership between the Danny and the Juniors and the Japandroids videos. In the first, of course, TV is very young, and it seems more like a performance for the audience gathered in the studio, with a little bit of playing around with blocking and movement to accommodate the cameras and the viewers at home. The performance is a bit awkward, and the singers don’t really know where to look at all times. The Japandroids video is fully immersed in the Youtube age. Every, every, everything is for the camera and the on-line viewership.

    This crosses over a little bit into the content of the songs, too. The first is essentially an advertisement for “rock and roll”, generically speaking. What are we to do after listening to the song? What is the “takeaway” (as movie producers say)? Um, rock is fun! It has its enemies, but they’re wrong! The Japandroids video seems to me more an advertisement for the band itself (perhaps Jack Daniel’s, too). They make sure their name is on screen in several spots (chalk board, t-shirt, cover of a free weekly) and then at the end the ecstatic, dehydrated, hyperventilating fan testifies to how much she loves them. Everything about the video wants you to see it as spontaneous, but the production is so slick that it comes off as very crafted. The takeaway? Japandroids are a fun band, and anyone who hands you a bummer, tell ’em to go to hell!