There are a few things in life that I dislike with a passion. For example, right-wing theories - for their since-I'm-on-the-winning-side-screw-those-who-aren't arrogance. Also, people who take advantage of the nuggets of power that has come to their hands to prove they're someone, cause they make the world a very sad place. Lately, I think a new category has been added: those who are thought to be artists when what they do doesn't come from their heart... because... because...
There were a lot of reasons that made me dislike The Thrills. First of all the person giving me the cd stating that they are going to be the new hype. Then, there was this "The". And also that "Thrills". Apart from the fact that it seems made-up - chosen by a board of outstanding marketing experts after they have thoroughly studied the relevant marketing researches - it also made me wonder: who on earth do they think they are?
And things only got worse. The cd looks like a lot of money has been spend to produce it. A whole lot of money. Their site looks like that too: well-designed (the happy medium between shophisticated and simple), with perfect photos (some even from the time The Thrills were little kids growing up together) and words just as perfectly chosen: not too easy -so that they don't underestimate your intellegence- but not too hard either -so that, in the unfortunate case that you're not an intellect you don't feel bad and want to leave. The words tell exciting stories of how The Thrills came about - for example, of how they lied to their parents about having a contract and being about to get rich when they weren't. Well, I think it's about time I started lying to my parents too, for it seems that it works.
It wasn't long until record labels discovered The Thrills. A battle followed the discovery: impressed by their talent (the musical one, mum, or the other?) they all wanted to have them. In the end Virgin won (the reason of course was that the boys where impressed by the effort of the people working there to release good music that makes people happier) who put them on a plane to the New World.. where they could concentrate on composing the next masterpiece, which then said label would proudly present the world..
"Enough!" I hear you cry. "Are they really that bad?" Well - no, they aren't. I'd actually say they're quite good - certainly not as good as everyone claims they are, but good enough - if they weren't so annoying.
I have to admit they're good at choosing their influences (The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Mamas and the Papas, Byrds, Neil Young and a bit of Beck and Grandaddy thrown in for good measure); and at not copying them, too. Instead they mix them up to produce a sound destined to win a lot of people's hears. A bit too many people's hearts, I'd say, but I would be digressing when I should be talking about why The Thrills aren't all that bad. A conclusion to which I come when listening to 'One Horse Town' and the single 'Big Sur'. The first one, it might have a stupid title but it also has a nice instrumentation and a really pop melody. As or the second, it has all the right things - it's catchy, bouncy, nostalgic in a slightly vague manner and of course summery - but it has a few wrong ones, too: it's too American, commercial, and of course summery.
Listening to the rest of the record, however, I start to get bored and annoyed. Because the a-la Beach Boys vocals might be cute, but they seem too decorative (and of course it wasn't the way they sang that made The Beach Boys great, eh?). The sound of The Thrills may be fairly interesting and original but it also is rather congested, a little full of itself and tiring if taken in big doses - and here it is. As for the songs, they might not be bad at all but they're not too outstanding, either. And most of all - most of all - it all sounds so very lacking in essence: songs written for the shake of style in the very best of cases. (Wouldn't it be cool if we had a band and played the most trendy music in the world and no one could resist our charm? How about trying to see how well we can do it?). Because who can mean lyrics like these:
You're burning my ears with your
travelling tales, but my in laws
they're trying to tie a young boy down
Well I never should have settled down
Hanging around in a one horse town
When everyone started sleeping around.
Or rather, what is there in them that one could mean? And in the worst of cases - which seems to be the most likely one to me, too - there songs are written for the shake of success and all that it brings. I have tried, but I haven't succeeded in seeing The Thrills as something other than a product made to be sold.
I think the reason I dislike those who are thought to be artists when what they do doesn't come from their heart with a passion is that they make me cynical.