Sunday, January 25, 2009

How to Apply Glitter...

Researching for this blog gives me the chance to appreciate some great bands. I get to recall some gems I haven't heard in years and I even happen upon some great new music info from time to time. That being said, parusing the dusty corners of the interent's lengthy glam rock tomb doesn't always bring about glitter gods. Some bands fall a little short of the idea of glam, others are just plain lost.

So, the question is: What makes good glam music good and bad glam music...not so good? Well, I decided to run you through a couple of clips and point out some details to help sreamline your judgment on the topic.

This is "The Sweet" with "Ballroom Blitz". You probably recognize the track. It has been used countlessly in television commercials, video games and movie soundtracks. This is glam rock good. Why?

-The song sports a simplistic, crunchy rock riff, catchier than the common cold. Good glam rock keeps things simple and memorable.

-The lyrics are out of this world. Surreal scenes and sounds are paramount in the glitter rock scene.

-The spoken lyric breaks are great, probably one of the most memorable elements as they create the hectic atmosphere of the "ball".

-The band looks like it's ready to go trick or treating. Glam rock is about the looks of the band members just as much as it is about the music. If the band doesn't have you guessing the sanity or sexuality of at least two band members, it fails visually. No exceptions!

This is "Sparks" with "Get in the Swing". This band gained limited success in the glam rock scene in the 70s. Sparks later became far more popular in the UK when they devoted their efforts to developing a "new wave" sound in the early 80s. This is glam rock bad. Why?

-The song strays from simplisity. It has several sections, none of which are attractive to the ear. Let's face it, the song sounds like it would be played during a montage in an after school special, most likely when a character is learning the merits of hard work. This is not glam.

-The costumes are bland. I'm not sure whether the vocalist is wearing shoes but I am sure that those short shorts aren't glam.

-There ARE at least two men in the group that make you question their sanity and sexuality...but in "Get in the swing" it simply does not add to an out-of-this-world presentation of what is supposed to be a flashy, mixed media.

-The lyrics are grounded and uninterestng despite a brief call to the Gods in the interlude of the song.

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