Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich and Roll

"Girlfriend came out at just the right historic moment...riding the tidal wave kicked up by Nirvana's Nevermind and helping to fill the void that had been created by the instant obsolescence of the music of the '80's..." - excerpt from liner notes in just-released 2-CD edition of Matthew Sweet's 1991 album Girlfriend

The bloody battle begun just months earlier was finally coming to an end. Trapped in their reinforced bunker nestled deep underground, a handful of big-haired pop stars (including Whitney Houston, Cyndi Lauper and A-Ha) paced their cramped quarters, cyanide tablets at the ready lest they should fall into the hands of Colonel Cobain and his ragtag army of flannel-flying punk liberationists. The sonic bombardments continued apace from above, creating an instant obsolescence of all 80's music. Vince Neal, croutched in a dark room below, was preparing to die from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, agonizing over the distress and betrayal of seeing Decade of Decadance, the Motley Crue quickie greatest-hits collection released earlier that year, failing to reach the dramatic heights in sales of Nevermind. Meanwhile, reinforcements from Seattle marched on: Mudhoney continued their destructive carnage southward (towards Los Angeles), single-handedly overtaking the Coconut Teaszer, while the more unconventional advance attacks of The Butthole Surfers drew in from the southeast. As the Mighty Pop Empire lay in ruins, a severed hand fitted into a single white glove--torn, somewhat hidden by fallen debris and charred almost beyond recognition--was the last remaining symbol of a once formidable influence over a generation. As Emperor Mellencamp signed the Treaty of Surrender, Matthew Sweet and his band took advantage of this unique surge of freedom--a tidal wave, if you will--to perform Divine Intervention, followed by the original demo of Winona, to mark the slow passing of wartime into a newfound spirit of peace, prosperity and neo-primitive Maori tattoo markings going mainstream on biceps across the land.

1 comment:

willem said...


Strangely, I got to know Sweet through a review of this album and its high placing in a music magazine yearend list, without ever hearing it. I bought Altered Beast when it came out, liked it quite a lot, but somehow never bothered to check his discography 'backward'. I just might get this reissue - if only for that gorgeous cover, but mostly to hear what I might've missed back then, in that era of war...