Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Derek Lynch vs Crazy Frog

It finally happened: two weeks ago "Crazy Frog" jumped into the Musica Chart. So will the annoying tune, which started life as a tadpolish ringtone before spawning a massive hit, take over Mzansi? Not if music journo Derek Lynch has anything to do with it! Here Derek declares war on the Frog...

I saw it coming, and, while I suppose it was inevitable, I felt a sickening lurch in my stomach when it arrived nonetheless. If I were you I'd switch off the radio, turn off the cathode drip and head off to a nice, quiet, soundproof room for the next couple of months. The "Crazy Frog" has invaded our pleasant land.

These freaks of music sweep across the world like a sonic plague every few years. Who can forget (try as we might) classics like the "Fast Food Song" or even the perennial wedding favourite - "The Macarena" (or the "Margarita", as one tannie once asked me to play during my DJ days). Go back even further and you will find entries such as the "Clap Clap Sound" and the "Birdie Song" rotting away in the Musical Hall of Shame. "Crazy Frog" is doubly bad in that it steals its riff from another novelty record: Harold Faltemeyer’s abysmal "Axel F", which was, in a maddening circularity, the "Crazy Frog" of its time. Groundhog Day, anyone?

The tragedy in this whole thing is this: people are going to actually buy this record. No, really. People are going to fork out serious cash to own the "Crazy Frog". The record has been advertised to death on radio (you even get Schnappi Das Kleine Krokodil as an added bonus track). It's a sure sign that the marketing ponytails from the record company are expecting big chunks of change from this particular nonentity. And who can blame them? We're the fools who will buy it.

So we have "Crazy Frog", we have the new Coldplay, sounding pretty much like the old Coldplay (Mr Martin - you're rich now - time to invest in a new piano sound) and a quick scan around the musical landscape reveals a pretty barren land of one-hit wonders and tried and trusted staples like U2 and Dave Matthews plodding along. In fact, the only really fresh and original international track I can remember hearing in the recent past is a hip-hop track called "1 Thing" by Amarie, and when hip-hop starts sounding good you know you're in trouble.

It was in the heights of my current musical depression that I stumbled across a TV programme on the Go Channel last night. "Gillman, make us famous, dude!" is a 5FM competition for school-aged South African bands and musicians - with the eventual winner getting a slot at this year's Oppikoppi bash. It's a brilliant concept and congrats to 5FM and the sponsor Levi's for showcasing real South African music - a refreshing change from the karaoke calamity that is Idols.

Last night's show featured three bands; punk-ska anklebiters Timmy The Pope, Odious (who sounded like a cross between Nine Inch Nails and Joy Division on helium) and Grounded, who didn't actually perform on the show, but the pimply youth of Fish Hoek assured us that they were indeed the Dog's Privates. Timmy The Pope won last night's round - they had the advantage of having a charmingly cheeky little kilt-wearing geezer on lead vocals. In truth, the bands were not exactly musically brilliant, but hell, they are young, and there is a vibrant talent there that seems to be permeating the local music scene at present.

We have some truly great bands coming through at the moment. Bands like The Parlotones, Running With Scissors and Wickhead are all making the right noises and deserve to reach a wider audience than what they currently do. It can even be argued that the local hip-hop sound is much fresher than its bloated and jaded US counterpart, and international breakthrough must be surely close for some of our local artists.

So at the end of the month, when The Man eventually relinquishes his slimy grip on your hard-earned paycheque and you skip to your local music store to stock up on some fresh sounds to get you through the winter - walk straight past the big "Crazy Frog" display, head for the SA music rack and do the Proudly South African thing and support your local favourite.

And let's make that frog croak once and for all.


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