Monday, June 22, 2009

Things That Used To Scare Me, Part 1

When I was younger, I used to take pop music much too seriously. 'As opposed to now?', I hear you say? Well, to be clearer: I used to really believe in the images of pop stars that were presented to me. Consequently, things that I can now see are somewhat faux-scary - that perhaps these days might be called 'emo' - genuinely scared the pants off me when I was a teenager. I thought I might share some of these with you.

The first is Garbage, the band.

I was into Garbage when I was 12 or 13. I liked, and indeed continue to like, their first album very much.


Their posed nihilism really terrified me. Not because it was posed, but because I really believed it. Now, why would this be?

I had a poster of the band that came free with their CD. I ended up giving it to a friend because it frightened me too much to have it in my room. It seemed to have dark powers. I had to extricate myself from its force.

The picture on the poster was of the same vintage as the one I have posted here. Shirley Manson may have been wearing crushed velvet pants, and/or a black satin shirt. Hardly satanic material.

But it was so willfully blank, so deliberately bleak. Sure, this was signified by slightly too heavy-handed black eye make-up and lipstick. But the message it conveyed challenged me. Maybe I felt it was a dark siren song, calling to burgeoning adolescent angst and dread.

No music makes me feel like this anymore. I don't think this is because I have developed a hard ironic armour. I think, rather, it is a result of my familiarity with the tropes of pop. In this case, the figures that signify glum anarchy.

There are other bands and images that scared me when I was younger. I will share these with you anon.