31 January 2007

Snow Patrol & Dashboard Confessional: A Meditation on Whinerock

Snow Patrol is a guilty semi-pleasure: pleasant--good music for painting red housesbut neither sophisticated nor creative, and increasingly plastic to boot. They're relatively palatable whinerock, with the typical shortcomings and appeal--it's sweet in a wistful kind of way, but guilty of emotional posturing and brooding. The saving grace is variety, or at least a shallower monotony: if the songs' narrator were a person, he'd feel pretty much the same all the time, but for slightly different reasons. Behold Mahogany from Songs for Polar Bears, which is wistful at a relationship that didn't happen, and You Could Be Happy from Eyes Open, which aims at one which did.

Which contrasts to Dashboard Confessional, whose sound is more appealing and textured, but whose lyrics are intolerably whiny. Carabba's more consistent in his whining and posturing--the point is generally that he likes some girl who is for one reason or another an unfortunate choice.

Another difference is the vocalists' performance styles, I suppose; Carabba emotes to the back wall of the room across the street, where Lightbody treats the narrator's sadness with more distance. Since he's singing things like "Do the things that you always wanted to/ Without me there to hold you back, don't think, just do/ More than anything I want to see you grow/ Take a glorious bite out of the whole world", anything that turns down the volume on the knob marked Pathos is helpful: it might even get somebody kicked out of the genre, although neither of these two is in any danger.

The only Dashboard song that sticks is A Plain Morning off of Swiss Army Romance, which is frankly beautiful and possibly less whiny. Which brings up another way to get kicked out of the genre: make music which is simply too beautiful to be dismissed.

N.B.: Whinerock is a term I made up, I think. I'm not clear if it's the same as emo, because I'm not clear on what counts for emo; so I'll use my own term.

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14 comments:

Dany said...

snow patrol whiny? pull your head out of your ass

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