20 August 2005

more notes on glam and glitter: i had intended for this to be a response to badger in the comments under the last post, but it grew into something larger.

badger admits only being familiar w/ a couple of the names on the boobs tracklist; i am completely ignorant of all of the acts. at the same time, though, i'd like to think that i'm au fait with a wide array of garage and freakbeat acts--power pop acts, too. power pop was a contemporary of glitter and, like garage rock, it has a duded-out rhino compilation series tracing its ephemera (nuggets and poptopia, respectively). if (if) garage is a lo-fi version of merseybeat and power pop a higher-fi version of the same, that is to say, both forms are derivative, at worst, of another genre, why doesn't the boobs series--its artists standing in a similar relationship to glam artists--receive a similar treatment?

the only argument i could muster was the old "style over substance" line that reigns even up to the current day. glam being, so it might be contended, all style it couldn't possibly be meritorious, forget about glitter; garage rock would be said to have no style (but isn't that as much a conscious decision as having style?) as far as i see it, garage and glitter have something of a fraternal relationship: the former aesthetic a band before it becomes famous, the latter, after. i would also argue that punk--another highly anthologized subgenre--doesn't follow from garage as neatly as some might believe; that, but for the aesthetic influence of glam, it would have become something else, something lesser entirely.

of course, all this talk of aesthetics leaves out a key contribution of glam to the actual music. the repertoire of the british invasion bands, as they were starting out, was largely composed of earlier rock hits, songs that largely began to fall out of public consciousness once the beatles, stones, et. al. began to compose music of their own. glam's appreciation of these same acts--chuck berry, buddy holly, eddie cochran--makes it an unlikely inheritor of a (substantive, naturally) tradition, and, if such justification is even necessary, strong enough, as boobs demonstrates, to support a subgenre all its own.

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