Question Of The Week: Into The Darkness?
A genius may annoy u at first, but their awesomeness will conquer u even if it takes years. Like, think Copernicus, Van Gogh, Richard Branson … that type of defiant wizard of goofy brilliance. And perhaps to that list we must add Justin Hawkins and his band The Darkness. Those guys are weird,
flaming flamboyant, borderline slavish for attention, and totally awesome at killer jamz! So let’s talk about the Suffolk four, their elusive appeal, and similarly polarizing metal acts in today’s MS Question Of The Week!
Fearless. Controversial. Half-baked. We give it to you straight every Friday afternoon. Straight down the crack of our striped spandex unitard! Here’s this week’s question:
Inspired by metalhood’s acceptance of singular geniuses that might rub you the wrong way at first, we asked our staff the following question:
Do u love that foofy rock band THE DARKNESS?
Read the MS Staff’s totally naked answers then reply nudely below!
No. But my dislike for them is nothing compared to my unbridled hatred for Manowar, and this will likely never change. Because they are awful.
Good question. I have no fucking clue, so I am giving them a listen as I type. First impression is that they’re damn catchy, and they don’t appear to be any more gimmicky than the “serious” ’80s glam bands. I’ve got nothing against the vocals at all; nothing attracts me to a band more than a vocalist with some character, even if they sound fruity as fuck (hello Protest The Hero?).
As a die-hard Queen fan since long before I heard my first blastbeat, I was primed to at least appreciate The Darkness. I remember walking around the neighborhood in 2003, jamming their debut Permission to Land. While the anti-hipster metal critic irony alert rang hard at first, any accusations of falseness are dead in the water when you realize how dumb it would be to take The Darkness’s obvious influences at face value (e.g. are you really going to tell me Queen’s sincerity about dragon attacks and getting saved by Flash make them a better band? Or that AC/DC should be applauded for never running out of idiotic double-entendres?). The Darkness guys write over-the-top music, dress over-the-top, and perform over-the-top. They’re doing this kinda shit the only way it can be done, and they don’t demand that I take them seriously to enjoy them — in fact, quite the opposite. So while I never really think to listen to them, I will admit that “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” was the second song I added to my playlist of Audacious Choruses (first is MIKA’s “Grace Kelly”). And that’s enough for me.
No, sir. No I do not. Sure, I had a brief fling with them in college, back when “I Believe in a Thing Called Love Or Fucking Whatever” was huge. And like most flings during one’s senior year of college, it starts out kind of fun then, as the weeks go on, gets less fun. Next thing you know you call her someone else’s name when she’s going down on you and she kicks you out of bed but you’re too drunk to walk home so you wind up asleep on her couch. Where was I? Oh yeah, being pissy: The Darkness aren’t funny enough to excuse what they do and they aren’t good enough to excuse not being funny. One would hope for them to go the way of Bobby McFerrin, but no. Here we are a decade later talking about them. So I worry. And I most certainly cannot be happy. I no longer believe in a thing called love. Some will say it’s hyperbole to imply that The Darkness destroyed my sense of intimacy. I disagree.
Can’t say I love or hate The Darkness. Their singles were fine — never got into their records. I will say this: Those squares — or in 21st century dialect, “indie rock fans” — who use The Darkness as an “excuse” to “rock out” are truly awful. Reminds of my of my college days in Austin, when The Sword, another band jocked by simps who describe death metal vocals as “cookie monster” with a straight face, were local darlings and people came up to me and said “Dude, I’m excited for The Sword gig tonight, it’s gonna be so heavy!” By that point, I’d already moved on to blacker, deathier, skronkier, weirder pastures. You ain’t impressing me.
Yes oh god yes I love The Darkness! But it took time: My love for their first record wasn’t immediate, and had to be kept guarded for a pair of reasons. One, any listener usually requires more than one great album from a band in order to go full bonerz for them; two, though Justin Hawkins and crew seemed like awesome party animals from outer space, I wasn’t ready to trust that either. (Sometimes people do random stuff to get traction.) And so it wasn’t until last year’s Hot Cakes that The Darkness really earned my trust and boner. The album follows a dud sophomore outing in 2005, a break-up, side projects, and Hawkins’ (gulp) sobriety — yet it’s a masterpiece, a Jellyfish-ian odyssey, an classic of knowing camp and proud pathos worthy of Queen, Bob Welch, and Prince. More important, its message is the liberty of awesomeness, the futility of hate, the chillness of Sergeant D, and the party-til-u-love-everybody vibes of um Anso DF. Meanwhile, other respectable hard rock acts just bend our bonerz with their macho, aggro shit. Live naked, dream gay, love The Darkness!
Geez okay Anso, we all promise to “dream gay” whatever that means. But first let’s each answer this QOTW below! What say u about Justin & The Darknesses? Yay or nay or we’ll see?