Tag Archives: Green day

2016 – The Greatest Year in Music for Three Decades?

No, this isn’t satire. This is some serious shit. Don’t mock. I know it’s a massive two-fisted claim, but when you think about it, 1986 was an outstanding year in music. Most of us just didn’t appreciate it at the time. Through no fault of their own, half the people who read this post probably weren’t even alive thirty years ago, which is a thought that absolutely terrifies me.

Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi, License to Ill by the Beastie Boys, The Queen is Dead by the Smiths, Invisible Touch by Genesis, Graceland by Paul Simon, A Kind of Magic by Queen, Master of Puppets by Metallica, So by Peter Gabriel, Liverpool by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Classics, one and all. Thirty-year old classics. Well, except that last one. Apart from Rage Hard Frankie’s long awaited follow-up to Welcome to the Pleasuredome was utter crap. But it was memorable crap.

pop_punk_will_never_die2

You might not think it, but look beneath the surface and you’ll see that three decades on, 2016 has been another stellar year in music for people of a certain persuasion. Not only did Blink 182 return revitalised and reinvigorated, but there were new albums from Bouncing Souls, Biffy Clyro, BabyMetal, Bayside, Bowling For Soup, and even a few bands that didn’t begin with ‘B,’ like Taking Back Sunday, Feeder, Good Charlotte, Yellowcard, Against Me! A Day to Remember, and the kings of modern punk rock (yes, I said it), Green Day. Still to come we have releases from Jimmy Eat World and Sum 41. Even the Ataris, who haven’t put out anything new since 2007, came to the party. Granted, October in the Railroad Earth is an EP made up of studio outtakes, so it’s neither a proper album nor new, but I’m including it here because I want to, and it’s fucking awesome.

You could say 2016 has been something of a pop punk renaissance, a fact further underlined by imminent new offerings from Billy Tallent, Tonight Alive, Set it Off, and the Starting Line. I think this speaks volumes about the state of the world we live in right now. People are fucked off and miserable. We want the happy back. Break out the fart jokes and beer, all is forgiven! ADTR, Blink and All Time Low even toured the US together in what is probably the greatest live bill I’ve never seen. Thanks for that. A slightly more unsettling alternative is that pop punk now qualifies as retro, and is benefiting from that warm, fuzzy nostalgia buzz that people yearn for when they hit their late-thirties. It’ll be popping up in Classic Rock mag next.

I realise all this might not mean much to some of you. But to get to the point, pretty much ALL my favourite bands of the past fifteen years or so are releasing new albums at roughly the same time. And not only that, but most of them are good! This is a truly unprecedented event of near-cataclysmic significance well worthy of a blog post. Like an inter-planetary alignment over Stonehenge or something. Now, if someone could get Funeral for a Friend to reform and knock out a new album by the end of the year, we’ll be golden. Ta.

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Music Class

I teach English at a university in Changsha, Hunan province, China. Well, I say I teach English. I am the first to admit that what I really do is not actual teaching. If my students are lucky they might learn a few new words and expressions from me, but my main purpose here seems to be to facilitate a kind of culture exchange. Chinese culture is so far removed from Western culture that the students in China need some kind of preparation, especially if they plan to go abroad one day or even work closely with westerners.

One of my more popular classes has always been my near-legendary music classes. No, I don’t make them play instruments, that’s for the parents to do. Instead we talk about music a bit, and I show them videos. Music works well as a medium. Especially music videos. A picture tells a thousand words, as they say.

The problem is, how to distil half a century of music into an 80-minute ‘lesson?’

Here, I make no excuses. I play what I want, such is my right as their teacher, haha! I put a lot of thought into it, and try to choose things that are meaningful or significant. Or just… good.

For the record, here is a list of video’s I showed this week:

30 Seconds to Mars – Closer to the Edge (great video)

U2 – Bad at Live Aid (powerful stuff)

Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run

Blink 182 – All the Small things

Simple Plan ft Natasha Bedingfield – Jet Lag

Eminem – Lose Yourself (Inspirational)

Linkin Park – Bleed it Out (LP are among the few western bands that Chinese students recognize)

Pink – Blow Me

Lostprophets – Rooftops (have to get a Welsh band in there somewhere!)

Papa Roach – Scars (great song)

Green Day – Time of Your Life

Slipknot – Before I forget (Live at Download)

Enrique Inglesias – Escape (one of my guilty pleasures. It also serves to keep the girls happy!)

On the whole, I don’t think China is at all ready for Slipknot. When they go off it causes shock and awe on a grand scale. Half my students shit themselves in fear. Corey Taylor, be proud.

 

 


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