Let's start with the premise that often, we can guess which decade a song belongs to. In the eighties they had synth and masochistic fans of synth. In the seventies, they had the abomination of disco as a staple. But, every so often, we'll be ass-deep in nostalgia and realize that the song we've been listening to was actually pretty revolutionary. Below are some of those songs that jumped the generational audio divide and sucker-punched the eardrums of naïve squares worldwide with their audacity.
1. White Noise: Love Without Sound
When Radiohead creeped its way onto the airwaves and into the rooms of stoned teens in the 80s and 90s, you can't convince me that they had no idea that their sound predated them by three decades. "Kid A" was released in 2000 and nerdy electronica dweebs went apeshit, the album was dubbed "exceptional". Except, it wasn't.
The band above is known as "White Noise", as I take for granted that blog readers can actually read. Who'd have thunk it? Anyway, besides being so goddamn out of tune, it features such exciting elements as a woman crying, farting lasers, and what sounds like a collection of scarab beetles crawling their way into your earholes. And of course, it's from the trip hop era of the 60s- 1968, actually.
This masterpiece was a collaboration between a classical bassist (because of course) and what I assume were two heavily shroomed composers from the BBC. After listening to Radiohead's musically tone-deaf grandfather of a song here, I ran to the comments, like a normal degenerate and saw shit I can't unread.
"This honestly sounds like it could be made today". Should it though? No.
"Amazing! It's like listening to my ghosts telling me to do things and letting myself be gone." What?
"This is a banger." I can agree with that because I totally wanted to smash my face on the keyboard.
If The Shaggs have taught us anything, music is subjective and some people are completely and inexorably into auditory assault.
2. Francoise Hardy- Je n'attends plus personne
I remember as a teenager, that my friends and I were all miserable and poor and inhaled everything depressing like oxygen. The more fucked up and cynical the vibe, the more happy we became in our journey towards becoming the feral GenXers Boomers hate and Gen Zers also hate, but inside their safe spaces.
We loved the shit out of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by The Smashing Pumpkins. The mid-90s were a great year to be self-destructive teens. I mean, with Marylin Manson telling us to kill our parents to Nine Inch Nails encouraging us to bang like animals, we had it made. Perfect storm of sweet self-loathing and societal neglect. But before we were sneaking roaches out of our parents ' ashtrays and dying of alcohol poisoning in the fields, there was this French biotch:
To be fair, this 1968 song isn't the worst composition we've heard (Dababy exists to fill that void), it's fairly plain. There's some complexity there and Francoise Hardy was pretty easy on the eyes back in the day, she just didn't catch on over here in the good ol' US. Maybe that has something to do with the French's propensity to pull out of everything and run away, but her promoters did her no justice. Besides, it's not Murican. Even if you're huffing paint, as was our pastime, no amount of fumes could make this gibberish into understandable lyrics. Carpe FM.
3. Lothar and the Hand People- Machines
Back in ye olden days of real music made completely by above-mentioned synth fetishizers and MTV, we got to hear the musical psychopathy of Phil Collins directly from our televisions to our earholes. And by psychopathy, I mean the song Shock the Monkey. Every adult in the US wearing jelly shoes or hair wings remembers that goddawful composition. (Though I swear that I also remember that video having a fucking monkey puppet in it somewhere.) It made no sense then and it makes no sense now. But radio stations played the shit out of that number when it came out in 1982 and still lives somewhere in the back of our lizard brains, but with lyrics like this, how could it not?
"Monkey, monkey, monkey
Don't you know you're going to shock the monkey"
Anyway, years before we watched a dead-eyed dude in weird makeup singing about electrocuting animals (yeah, the song is supposedly about jealousy, but, whatever), there was a band called "Lothar and the Hand People", which as far as band names go, is just as confusing as their song "Machines", released in 1969.
Yeah, it's a safe bet that all musicians in the 60s and 70s were tweaked out of their skulls. You can draw some parallels here to Peter Gabriel's creeptastic song "Sledgehammer".
But the depth of this was intriguing and absolutely genius. I mean look at the lyrics:
"They keep right on movin'
They keep right on movin'"
It was pretty heavy for its time. I don't know what their target demographic was. I'm not entirely sure that I want to know. It literally just sounds like a few guys got sloshed one day and started improving some bullshit with guitar riffs and started banging on industrial equipment. Maybe that's what started the idea. One of them got his finger caught in an assembly line for the last time and just went insane on everything metal in his vicinity. Boom. Inspiration. And totally not related to shocking monkeys, unless you're talking about the fans who discovered this mess and were side-slammed by its ...innovation.