Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bad Dance Moves

In the past seventy or so years, we, as a nation, have had some changes in our dance.  We had elaborate galas with local customs and music.  Waltzes, group numbers, early ballet.  We’ve had jazz music – some of which was danced well, and most of it, not as much.  We’ve had swing and bebop; rock and roll and heavy metal.  Each era of music has had a dance to go along with it.

Through the eighties, we developed pop music.  This popular choice was well pronounced by its catchy rhythm and infectious hook.  And somewhere, someone found a way to grind with it.  The dance was getting lower and dirtier, with pelvic thrusts mimicking the public raping of pubescent males around the country.  At least, I’m broadly assuming that it began in eighties, because if my generation really caused this to become popular, we deserve every ounce of hatred future generations can muster against us.

The pop music became hip hop – a soulful infusion of the pop music’s hook, with a heavy repetitive beat, and a little jazz and soul thrown in.  The grind grew deeper.  Then hip hop, became rap; the grind mimicked a pole dance.  Rap began to focus less on whose dick is bigger, and became more of objectifying the woman; the pole dance began to lose its clothing.

On the popular end of the spectrum, a whole row of candy colored infused music began cropping up.  The fortunate joy is that all of these artists were, largely, dressed and promoted expressing oneself through what they wore.  The unfortunate joy is that these artists would wear things like a dress made out of steak meats. 

Somewhere in between, the music changed.  Indie rock became less noise, and more harmony.  Guitars lost their harsh scream of war, in favor of highly pitched melodic transcendence.  Keyboards were less a melodic percussion, and more relegated to the guitar’s previous role of generating subsonic fields of fuzz.    Singers focused less on meaningful lyrics in a tight, concise structure, and more on long stretches that would often loop over onto itself ten or ninety-five times without ever being more than a consonant and a vowel beautifully yodeled over the chicken bones in their throat.

Shoegazing, it would seem, would be the new ‘indie’.

‘Indie’ was supposed to die out.  Remember in 1992 when grunge was ‘indie’?  Yeah; shit didn’t die out.  Shoegazing is an act of playing instruments doing just that – so focused on the technicality of what you’re doing, that you ignore the audience.  And, nowadays, the other members of your band.

As punk begat that-little-running-in-place-move-meets-head-banging, shoegazing seems to have developed its own little dance, which I call “The Zombie”.  The people listening to the music start rolling their heads around, eyes half open, while shaking their bodies.  They always start in motion, but end up slowly popping and shuffling until the beat is left behind like the common sense their father’s didn’t wear the night these kids were conceived. 

If you’ve ever seen videos of a Christian Revival, you have an idea.

I don’t understand the objective of this move.  It does not seem to attract a mate.  It does not look like an interpretation of dance.  If anything, I’m worried that you’re drunk, and fighting the urge to vomit.  Please vomit, misguided college student.  Please; just not near me, and stop whatever it is you’re doing with your crotch against the side of that other zombist.  Yeah, there are fusion zombies – the grinding zombie, pop-n-lock zombie, jazz step zombies – I mean, they’re zombies: they’re everywhere.

Rachael has abject feelings towards zombies.  Having seen these zombists in action recently, it is a shared fear.  I can only conceive that the point of the entire dance is to become the physical incarnation of a musical introvert.  That bothers me even more, because I find so much of the joy I find in music with sharing it.  To take what someone is feeling and not even at least express it as a smile, just seems insulting to the artist.  Not to mention selfish for not wanting to share that rush you’re feeling from the music you’re hearing.  I’ll just say this: if you’re going to do the zombie, be aware of the people around you, be friends with them, zombie it up as a group.  Because, hey – you only live once.

And you’re zombies, so you know that already.

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