Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sound and Vision: Hope for Men?

I can't help but question some of Kevin J. Elliott's argumentation in his review Pissed Jeans' Hope for Men. While I won't disregard the fact that pop music is heavily associated with image -- some artists than others, of course -- basing your critique of a record almost solely on its relationship with the artist's image seems odd to me. This is what Elliott has to say about Hope for Men:

"The first thing you’ll notice when cracking open Hope for Men is that Pissed Jeans are pretty ordinary looking guys. By being photographed in artistic light, sitting in their bedrooms with lap dogs and half-eaten doughnuts, it sort of sucks out the danger that once coursed through the veins of their music."

Which would be ok if it was felt that the imagery on the record sleeve was a symptom of the music on the record itself. But Elliott admits to liking some of the music:

"Were Hope for Men packaged in a brown paper bag, things would be different. Even as elaborate farce (in visual presentation anyways), many of the album’s pieces are still extremely brutal, nihilistic, and confrontational, with riffs tossed around like a shot put aiming to break bones."

Even if I was to buy into his line of thought, I'd argue that the fact that Pissed Jeans are pictured as ordinary looking guys makes the band appear even more deranged -- juxtaposition of image and sound. But I still feel the music itself is enough to merit a response on its own terms, which I feel Elliott only gives to a lesser extent in his review.

And in case you were wondering, I happen to enjoy Hope for Men.

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