Jay Reatard – Turning Blue

I love “Turning Blue” for being the song I’d write if I’d ever learn to play the guitar gathering dust in my bedroom.  There is joy to be found in straightforward, infectious rock and the now deceased Jay Reatard was a master of it in its sloppiest,  most raucous form.

If you let the Wikipedia page tell the story the exact type of rock is up for debate.  The genre header lists every possible permutation of the words “garage,” “punk,” and “rock” and though each term works, it also implies that none are distinct.  “Garage” is usually applied to the lo-fi guitar music with pop appeal of the pre-punk era .  The problem is that a Jay Reatard record sounds more punk than a Ramones record does.  The Ramones themselves don’t sound nearly as punk as their garage rocker predecessors, The Stooges.  And The Stooges outpunk any of the early 2000s garage rock revival “The” bands (Whites Stripes, Hives, Strokes, Vines, etc.).

I’m not a huge fan of the genre proliferation that’s prevalent in music journalism.  I like when a genre communicates something substantive about the music (“punk” has specific connotations that “rock” does not), but I hate when genre becomes a barrier to entry or is  simply a rebranding of something older.  Do seapunk fans have a right to be mad at Rihanna?  Is drill music anything other than the gangster rap coming out of Chicago in 2012?  I once saw a passionate argument that Purity Ring was SO OBVIOUSLY a part of the probably-doesn’t-exist witch house scene.  This has always happened to a degree, but the Internet seems to have accelerated our tendency to divide musically.  It allows for micro-genres to develop united by blog posts, forum communities, and SoundCloud uploads.

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