Scratch and Dent Sale: Forget Brilliant Shoot for Useful

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Let's be honest: Most records are painfully self-aware pieces of trash. They're uninspired, navel-gazing, banal, cliche-ridden, ego-stroking buckets of awful. Yes, occasionally you run across a record that is utterly brilliant. But most sound mediocre-to-good-enough for a few days until our eye catches a shiny object across the room and -- whoosh! -- there goes another disc into the wasteland of our cherished CD collections.

As for the topics covered on most records, you could throw darts at a board cut into three areas: 1) Love; 2) Allegedly Political; and 3) Obtuse Journal Entry/Who The Fuck Knows. And that about covers the average distribution of pithy subjects. (By the way, I am including myself in this unfair generalization. I have most definitely contributed my fair share to the shit heap.)

Look, I'm not just being mean-spirited here. I've been on a practicality kick lately. Think of this as an unsolicited call to action. I think we, as musicians and songwriters, can do a better job. Or, if not better job, at least a more useful one.

Does the world really need another record covering the utter sameness of your (or my) interior psychological landscape? At what point does "universality" get trumped by "give me something I can actually use"? I wish someone, anyone, would write and record a CD like this:

Useful Songs For Life's Tough Times Track list:

1) Whoops! You're Pregnant! 2) You're Fired -- Merry Christmas 3) Bad News: It's [Insert Awful Disease] 4) She Doesn't Love You. She Loves Your Sister. 5) I Just Puked In Your Bed -- Sorry 'Bout That. 6) About That Rash... 7) The Depression Test 8) McCain Won. We're Moving To Europe. 9) Honestly? Yes. You Are Ugly. 10) First Time In Prison: A Beginner's Guide

It's time to be of direct service. Grab a hammer... Go build us a useful record.

-- John Common

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.