Thursday 16 April 2015

Honeyblood - The Black Cloud

This isn’t really a post about Honeyblood, it’s a post about preconceived ideas and judgements and how we think the internet has made us all a little too quick to make them, plus some stuff on image and sexuality in pop music. If you don’t like these random waffling unedited  stream of consciousness posts we occasionally write, just skip to the bottom paragraph and read that and press play. OK?

“Normally I’d say @yumhoneyblood are a cool band. Tonight they (and the venue) was hot.” That was something that we tweeted following a Honeyblood gig last year. The resultant tweet was met with a response of “gross” from one person that read the tweet. When we asked why we were told: “Seems a bit creepy and pervy to me,” and “Male bloggers shouldn’t be focussing on female artists’ sexiness of appearance over their music.”

Here lies 1 of the problems with Twitter and the internet generally. There are too many people making judgements about people’s thoughts based on a few words, without trying to have a conversation to establish and clarify if their assumptions about the words are correct. 

Admittedly in hindsight our words were poorly chosen  – but the word ‘hot’ is one that is used in an abstract as well as concrete sense and can mean very different things. In this case it was related to the heat of the venue and the sh*t hot performance of the band. Unfortunately the aggrieved person on Twitter didn’t agree, suggesting that we wouldn’t have eluded to the band being ‘hot’ if we were talking about Royal Blood (he was right, but only because we don’t like Royal Blood – but he was wrong about other male acts we do like the music of). 

So, because we felt we were being judged incorrectly, we asked why he thought this. He clarified that his judgement was based on our Twitter feed which in his words “consistently seems to leer on and make weird comments about female artists”. There’s no doubt that here at Breaking More Waves we do write about ‘sexy pop’ and make comments on artists appearance – but always with a context (and also importantly we write about men as well as women when talking about such things). This is because pop music is a visual medium as much as it is a musical one. It’s why Lady Gaga, David Bowie, FKA Twigs and Mumford & Sons appear the way they do. They’re giving definition of themselves and the artistic space they occupy by their visual image as much as their musical one. Otherwise why have promo pictures? Why have videos? If music as an art form was just about sound these things wouldn’t be required. 

We believe that sometimes it’s right to talk about that image and appearance – but we try to keep a context. For example we once wrote about George Ezra’s lips because we were making a point that no music writers mentioned his large lips as they did when Lana Del Rey first appeared. Why was that? We’ll leave that for you to ponder over.

There’s also a lot of pop music that deals with sex. Many many pop songs are about sex or allude to sex in the lyrics.  Therefore once again we think that this is perfectly acceptable to write about these things, with that important word again – context. So for example when you see us tweet “Liking freckled musicians, cooking bolognaise by accident + pop stars butt cheeks,” and linking to this article here, please don’t make judgements just on the tweet, but read the article and see why we tweeted that. (It was actually an article about a theory that all sorts of other factors influence decisions on if we as human beings press play on a piece of music or not – and to exaggerate the point we used the most ridiculous factors such as the initial of the artists name, her freckles, pretentious PR statements to make that point – the article was an attempt to build some humour into a relatively serious piece – maybe it didn’t quite work, but hey, at least we had a go at trying to tackle the subject and make people giggle at the same time.)

So here’s the bottom line. We live in a world where not everything is always black and white. There’s a lot of grey. It’s why sometimes we think it’s OK to write about pop music, image, appearance and sex and sometimes it’s not. Context is everything. Interpretation is complex.

So here’s the new Honeyblood song. It's called The Black Cloud. It’s pretty hot good. And here’s the bit where this time we do mention the bands' physical appearance rather than the music or temperature. In the picture above drummer Cat Myers is wearing a Pie & Vinyl vest. This is important and relevant – it’s our local record store. It’s also Record Store Day this Saturday and this song is out then on a 7” vinyl backed by another Honeyblood song No Big Deal, limited to just 750 copies.

Honeyblood - The Black Cloud


Scryst said...

Good piece Robin.

I remember seeing that Twitter debate ha ha and remember the guy in question point blank refusing to accept your explanation.

Not sure instant judgements are just an internet thing though. I think they just reflect real life. We all do it sometimes and sometimes all get it wrong.

I have no issue with a writer describing what and artist looks like sexually as long as they do it for men and women equally. Of course we all know that with a higher % of hetro sexual male journos than anything else this isn't the case.

Sally @ Control said...

You do use the term 'sexy pop' a lot Robin! Boys as well as girls though - I remember your pop stars in their underpants thing with Thome Yorke...woof woof

But then why shouldn't music make us feel sexy? Nowt wrong with that. Methinks the person you mention was being a bit hyper sensitive and doesn't really 'get' your blog and the layers that you gradually build. I know you dumb it down with your chatty conversational style but having read it for a while now I know that there's more to it than just sexy pop.

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

Thanks for the comments.

Yeah I do write about 'sexy pop' and it has made me consider if I use the word too much! Something to think about - I think sometimes I use the word sexy where I don't even mean it!

However, the main point I was trying to get across was maybe a bigger picture one, not really a defence of what I do, but the point that there's an awful lot of people making judgements on the internet out there and tweeting their views / calling people out for what they believe to be wrong (that's the easy part) but not time is being sent trying to understand where the other person is coming from. It's all very black and white / right and wrong and that's not the way as a society we'll ever be able to develop properly - with some empathy and understanding of others views and their reasons for saying things. This doesn't just relate to sexism in music but in all aspects (politics for example).