The Mellifluous Methadone of The Undertones vs. Pop-Punk Junk


the tones

…with the stress on junk. These days, bands which get labelled Pop-Punk are purely commercial investments assembled or handpicked by A&Rs looking to strike while the soulless garbage-music iron is hot. Simple Plan, Hedley, Avril fucking Lavigne and any number of other bands I will (hopefully) never see or hear who are currently polluting the airwaves of modern-rock radio and TV with their hypercompressed guitars, stylist-selected American Eagle wardrobes and precious hairdos — staining the legacy of their supposed genre along with their pillowcases and killing the braincells of teenagers at a rate which has solvent abuse green with envy. Ten years ago they would have been N’Sync, The Spice Girls or the Backstreet Boys. Err, wait a minute. Make that 98 Degrees,LFO, or some other retread vomit-burp echo of the original article.

I know I know. Easy target. Especially for an embittered pushing-thirty curmudgeon who has yet to fulfill his dream of fronting a kickass rock and roll band. Or, at least, playing rudimentary rythm guitar for one. I’ve got my imaginary set-list though, and lately it’s been heavy on the pop-punk element — mostly rip-offs of the first two Undertones albums.

I checked The Undertones listing on today and was dismayed to see that the vast majority of listens belong to Teenage Kicks. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Teenage Kicks, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg, or any other overused metaphor.

The first Undertones album is pop-punk heroin — excuse me, pop-punk methadone, designed to ween one off the commercial junk being pushed on unsuspecting ears as of late; A relief from the nasty withdrawls, scabs and Irvine Welsh characters that have been hanging about harrassing your mother for cash.

The ‘Tones are the good shit. Starting with Family Entertainment, my stupid grin spreads from ear to ear and I get a tinglin’ in my extremities. Then the opening rip of Girl’s Don’t Like It is like the proverbial orgasm in my ever-expanding belly. I go on the nod, coming to somewhere around Listening In, worries gone. Depression chased to the hills, faith restored in mankind.

It’s not a long ride, but it’s well satisfying; one that more people need to take and it’s legal. Although in most towns around here, and elsewhere, it’s probably a lot easier to find opiates than it is to find an Undertones album.

So turn off your radio and switch off Muchmusic and MTV. Listen to the Undertones. Or end up sucking dick to score dilaudid.

You’ll thank me.


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