Mastodon’s video for “The Motherlode“, which sees the band accompanied by twerking dancers has gathered an awful lot of negative criticism. Dom Lawson didn’t pull any punches writing in The Guardian, calling it misogynistic.
It’s probably ironic or something. Well, no. It’s still sexist. I don’t care how much irony you throw at this. It was sexist when it happened in past videos and it’s still sexist now. The fact that Mastodon are an ostensibly bright bunch and very much not from the heavy metal old school – where, back in the hallowed day, sexism was widely tolerated – is not a sufficient get-out clause by any stretch. Neither is this video excused from being tarred with the sexist brush because a proportion of women immersed in alternative culture have decided that it’s OK.
On the other hand, there is a very different perspectice from one of the dancers in the video, who defends it from the full bingo card’s worth of social justice accusations, uncuding the charge of “cultural appropriation”.
Another is the concern for cultural appropriation. From us and from them. The fear of metal being “tainted”, the fear of the band using a dance form associated with black culture for their own gain. These fears boil down into my one response: we all belong.
Much as I respect Dom Lawson, maybe it isn’t always for white males to decide what’s sexist and racist?
I’ve blogged about the great “Is Rock Dyng” question before, but Dom Lawson weighs in and nails it as he always does. Go and read it now. Dom knows his stuff, and he has the uncanny talent of always being right.
Most of the reviews I write on this site are strongly positive. Part of this is down to a self-imposed rule that I won’t write a negative review where I know the artist. And to tell the truth, records where my reaction is “meh” are harder to review; it’s always easier to say what you like or don’t like about a record that to expand “It’s OK but nothing special” to any length.
But does a site need a few less-than-positive reviews to put the positive ones into context?
I’m thinking of Dom Lawson’s reviews in The Guardian. Almost everything he writes is a solid four stars. I can appreciate the reasons why The Guardian’s only reviewer with a deep love and knowledge of rock and metal shouldn’t be devoting too much of a limited space to second or third rate records. There’s so much good stuff out there which no-one else on the site is likely to review fairly. But since taste is music is deeply subjective, the more you know about a reviewer’s own tastes the more you know how much you can trust their opinions. So perhaps it would be useful to know more about what Dom doesn’t like?
Back to this site. Should I try and write a few more less-than-positive reviews of albums and gigs that I wasn’t that impressed with? Or should I stick to what I actually like?
“There is something distinctly galling about witnessing mainstream media commentators gushing about Glastonbury signifying the beginning of the British summer festival season. For those of us who enjoy music that allows for a touch more aggression and energy than Mumford & Sons, the true start of the summer comes with Download” – Dom Lawson tells it like it is. Never thought I’d read words like that in The Guardian.
For years I’ve complained about The Guardian’s woeful coverage of metal and progressive rock. Major releases are either overlooked entirely, or worse still, given a cursory dismissal by someone with no knowledge or respect for the genre. Dave Simpson’s attempt to review Yes is a prime example. Even their most positive reviews came from the viewpoint of an outsider looking in.
Which is why it’s good to see Dom Lawson, of Metal Hammer and Classic Rock Presents Prog fame reviewing Opeth’s Heritage. It’s not a long, detailed review, but it certainly doesn’t read like Tony Blackburn attempting to review The Fall.
One swallow does not necessarily make a summer, but I hope we get to read more reviews by Dom Lawson in the future.