Carl’s music posts have been great. I simply want to add this—

So I have always been shallow. Perhaps I have been looking for love in a trifle. It is one of the reasons why I have always liked the band NRBQ. I love a trifle in a band like NRBQ.

A friend of mine says that NRBQ sound like a bunch of fat old guys playing music in a garage (not that there is anything wrong with that), but he says the same thing about the Grateful Dead too. This makes me think that if he can’t make a distinction between NRBQ and the Dead then maybe this guy doesn’t know much of anything. I suspect this is the case. However to give an account of his taste, it may be a mixture of too many drugs and trying too hard to be hip on his part. He is a fan of New Zealand bands, which not to blame Kiwi rockers, but my friend’s taste always seemed insufferably hip. Of course, you all can educate me on New Zealander bands.

I will admit that NRBQ is a little corny. Okay maybe they can be a lot corny. Yet, their version of rewrite retro R&B and ol’ time rock ‘n roll presented a sober but still drunken version of music when compared to the serious music of the Replacements and REM. Back in the ‘80s the Replacements and REM (and U2 too) were the bands whom one should take seriously. NRBQ is no Sha Na Na. They are not a novelty act. Instead they are excellent musicians who play well what they play well, even if what they play happens to be somewhat retro rock and pop. They are (or were) not a novelty knock-off. Yet compared to what was considered serious in the ‘80s, NRBQ was considered nonsense back then.

Now I know that this comparison of the Replacements and NRBQ will cause all sorts of controversy, but it was true back in the day. But instead of criticize the Replacements, I would rather rip on U2 instead, even if that is too easy. (I am sorry Carl, but I can’t think of a more full of s**t and pretentious band than U2, and Bono’s recent work for AIDS and starvation and what not just makes me want to hate on such humanitarian posing in spite of all the real good that he actually does. I loved U2’s music back then, but came to find them irritating, especially in regard their all-too overt but apparent political activism.)

NRBQ as a band sang their own songs from the late ‘60s to the late ‘90s—songs that were sincere to the forms of good rock/pop songs. They never wrote songs saving the world or raising political or social consciousness. They never pretended to be more in terms of pushing the boundaries of modern music; however, they were such excellent musicians that they could still write good songs that could excite any wanna be guitarist, piano player—let alone song writer. Their music and lyrics still spoke to the true longing of perennial teenagers—like Ridin’ In My Car.

Perennial teenagers need to grow up, no doubt. But does growing up mean taking as one’s own struggles far removed from one’s own experience of trying to make it in this world of modern America? I am all in favor of learning about Solidaronsc. This is one of the most important movements of modern Europe. But NRBQ sang about (in an amusing way) unwanted pregnancies, girlfriends too young, and the thrill of love at the drive-in. Sentimental and superficial to be sure, but something that should not be disregarded, and it is true to any young man (or woman) in America.

Perhaps my friend who thought that NRBQ represented fat white guy garagedom has a thing against fat old guys or even worse he has a problem with garage bands. It is true that he has a taste for prog rock. He was always the guy who liked Pink Floyd’s Umma Gumma , and he took to Radiohead before the rest of us. NRBQ is not hip, but this does not diminish their excellence.

For all their faults, I take NRBQ in their sincere attempt to continue a style and mode of classic pop/rock American music without being tongue-in-cheek. They may be no REM or Radiohead, but they may be a soft-version and pretty-good Replacements.
I’ll write on the excellence of the Replacements later. The Replacements maye be better than NRBQ. but for different reasons.

But for now I Want You To Feel Good To o . If that doesn’t work try Ridin’ in My Car .

Update: These links don’t work. We’ll try this.

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