Monday, March 23, 2009

Transparent Radiation

One odd thing happened recently. Over pints, one of my old friends confessed that he no longer likes Spacemen 3, feeling that their sound is derivative and unoriginal. I am not one for apostasy, and I am sure that this fellow regretted his outburst after being horsewhipped up and down Camden Street, but I suppose he does have a certain point. I was struck recently by how the Spacemen 3's Sound of Confusion album features a shameless lift of the Stooges' 'TV Eye', only with the lyrics changed so that the tune is now about an overdose catastrophe. Now, it is a bit bizarre that they were able to get away with this. I know when I first heard the album I had never heard the Stooges track (because I live under a stone), but you would think that the various music journalist types who lapped up the Spacemen 3 sound would be sufficiently familiar with the work of Messrs Pop and Asheton to spot the lift.

An even odder thing is that Sound of Confusion has another track on it where they credit the tune to Iggy Pop – why credit one tune and not another? Maybe they weren't arsed throwing new lyrics together for that one.

But I still love Spacemen 3; originality is much overrated.

edited to remove names... I can't be having people fearing that if they confide in me their thoughts will be published to all and sundry on the interweb.


Big Boss said...

I think we kind of knew they covered other tracks, it's not like "Rollercoaster" or "Transparent Radiation" are theirs. Spiritualized's "Run" lifts its lyrics from JJ Cale. I don't think that's really a sensible reason to suddenly commit a crime against good musical taste and I intend to make that point to your drinking buddy when I see him next.

Is he objecting to covers or to the fact that their sound derives so much from others? Because I think they make the sound their own.

ian said...

I cannot speak for my friend.