OK, a poll to probe the LiveJournal Group Mind on the question of popular music:
Which of the following, in your opinion, have redeeming qualities?
The Kaiser Chiefs
anything Pete Doherty's involved in
The Independent article linked to there seems to make a case for their frontman being a Jarvis Cocker-esque figure. I haven't heard them, though have heard conflicting evidence as to what they are, hence the poll.
Actually, I don't know who half the bands you listed are, but I like the other ones ok. A friend of mine here is a *major* fan of the Kaiser Chiefs, and goes to almost all their US shows and takes fucking amazing photographs. I bought their cd to see what she was on about, and they're not bad, but very fluffy. I'm not sure why they inspire such devotion.
I take it you don't read NME then. :-)
I listened to the Kaiser Chiefs and they seem to be jumping on a bandwagon started by Interpol and/or Franz Ferdinand; the sharp suits, the copying of the style of early-80s new-wave post-punk bands like Gang Of Four and XTC, and so on.
That is arguable, though one can do things which are new, or at least less fashionable. The ironic thing is that that's exactly what XTC, Wire, Gang Of Four and such were doing a quarter of a century ago, while their newer imitators take off a lot of their style but, by definition, come out with a stylised, backward-looking fashion stance that's pretty much completely opposite to what the originals were getting at.
I like the Libertines but "anything Pete Doherty's involved in" is quite a broad statement, and I'm quite sure he's involved in things which have no redeeming qualities. His live8 performance, for example.
The Kaiser Chiefs I think have some catchy songs, an interesting sound and I want to like them, but I also distinctly get the impression that there's a distinct lack of "we mean it maaaan" in their music - it's all calculated and lacks soul.
Didn't the Libertines only become passable after they sacked him and got someone competent? Anyway, that poll entry was a reference to NME and such hyping him as some kind of rockist dionysiac genius à la Iggy Pop or something.
I heard some of the Kaiser Chiefs album on the plane back from Australia, and it did sound like they were just ripping off the style of bands from 20+ years earlier (Gang of Four and XTC are the most obvious candidates, though I was reminded of The Models' early work, like Atlantic Romantic) in a very calculated career move. The fact that bands from Regurgitator to The Vivian Girls had been there and done that some years earlier devalues the new wave of new-wave copyism somewhat in my view.
I thought the Kaiser Chiefs' influences were more straightforward than Gang Of Four (I don't hear any of them in it) - there's some XTC, but a bunch of Blur and Madness. But yeah - it all seems very calculated. It's worked though I think - their particular brand of new wave copyism is at least distinctively them, in a way a bunch of those other bands aren't distinctively anything in particular - but in any case, I'm bored of bands sounding like its 1980 already and when I hear a song like that on the radio these days I just flick it to a different station.
I think the Libertines needed both Barat and Doherty, in the same way the Beatles needed both Lennon and McCartney to balance each other out - Barat is less drug fucked and his music is less poppy than Doherty, and the combination of the two kind of works, I think. Doherty is a talented man, but the whole dionysiac genius thing is incredibly ghoulish, he's just injecting himself away...it's not funny or romantic, it's just sad.
I get the Madness reference, though didn't pick up the Blur. Then again, I've only heard about half the album on an airliner and the two singles in various other places. I'm tempted at my next DJ set to play some Models and tell people it's the new Kaiser Chiefs single, leaked on the internet.
Maybe you're right about the Libertines, though to me they sound like just one of many boringly rockist bands saturating the UK alternative music sphere.