Friday, June 02, 2006
I used to get asked, mostly by English mates, if I had a theory as to why quality (they meant "alternative", which by no means equals quality) music charts in Britain, but barely makes a splash in the American charts. Their aim was often to point out how they thought Americans were "stoopid", and couldn't tell a good piece of music from their what-you-call-it. They're still a bit jealous, aren't they.
There are many stupid Americans, but there are plenty of stupid Brits, too. Still, my answers tended to point to the fact that the American market is much more varied than the British; The country is after all a mixture of people and cultures that differ in several respects. American culture is not a mono-culture, but rather a heterogeneous culture. Furthermore, the market is much bigger than in Britain, and I also think the British music press is better (or worse) at hyping new artists than they are in America.
Why this? Well, there is a mildly interesting article and Q & A by/with Sasha Frere-Jones in the latest edition of The New Yorker, in which he takes up the issue of why certain British and overseas artists simply don't make it in the United States. In the Q & A-bit in particular, he has some good points.
His final words cracked me up, though. Asked if he thinks Lordi will ever make it in the States, he says:
"Do not speak of Lordi. Lordi rules us all."