I know how easy it is to listen to a band, cast off a comment such as, “they suck,” and then go on your way, never acknowledging that, though a piece of work is not to your taste, blood, sweat and integrity was still involved.
I am calling BULLSHIT on Motel Raphael, not because they are merely not to my personal taste, but because these pop stars have a slew of offenses behind them and I cannot sit idly back in silence as the question is asked: “Motel Raphael: next great Montreal Band?” (To be fair, it was The Westmount Examiner who asked the question…)
While listening to one of Motel Raphael’s little ditties, with lyrics like how the boy’s “hot chocolate is getting cold, and this sleeping bag will fit us both,” (how droll), my friend moaned, “Why does this shit always make it to the top?”
I answered him philosophically: “Because SHIT FLOATS.” Think about it.
That Motel Raphael soared to such popularity might not even be their responsibility, when you look at our need, as humans, to consume McDonalds, to embrace zero-talent actors like Kristin Stewart, to promote “literary” horrors like Shades of Grey, to shop at Forever 21 even though we know the clothes are made in sweat-shops by small children…
There is also the historical significance behind a name like Motel Raphael.
(CJAD 800 called the Motel Raphael “…one of Montreal’s worst eyesores.” So maybe the band was appropriately named after all.) The name comes from the run-down crackhead hangout in N.D.G. that, after a fire nearly destroyed it, now lies abandoned.
Maybe it’s all one big metaphore. Maybe the fires of artistic growth will burn at (the band) Motel Raphael until we all leave them the fuck alone and stop paying attention to their plaintive-kitten-meowlings of “I’m a cute girl, so love me, I’m begging you,” ballads. Then, after being abandoned, thankfully, for some years, they will emerge as mature and innovative musicians.
Hey, I can dream.
It was Motel Raphael’s interview with NOISY that got me fired up, to be honest. (Not that I really take NOISY seriously; usually their pieces consist of who wears what on Instagram, and what Lil’ Wayne or Lil’ Kim or Lil’ Somebody-or-Other is up to in County.)
NOISY would get that intimate interview with Motel Raphael and call them, “heavily talented femme fatales,” to boot.
When Motel Raphael confesses that their inspirations were the harmonies of The Dixie Chicks and Taylor Swift, I shrugged. To be expected.
But when they began speaking of being a female in the music industry, and that their feminist tactics consisted of saying to their male backing musicians, “Eyes here, buddy. We’re in charge here. We run the show,” I paused, lost in thought.
Not only is such a comment sexist, it’s also downright insulting to the musicians who are clearly a HUGE part of this group. If Motel Raphael’s musical stylings are as juvenile as their lyric writing, I would have to say, NO, ladies, you do NOT run the show. The musicians who play the majority of your MUSIC run the show.
“People just aren’t used to girls carrying amps.” Is another gem I thought I’d share.
Really? I carry my own shit all the time. Not because I’m a girl, but because I’m not a LITTLE BABY.
I’m certain Joan Jett carried her own fuckin shit. I’m sure PJ Harvey (they laughingly cited her as an influence to their second album, Cable TV) carries her own shit. I’m sure Taylor Swift…probably has a lot of men to carry her shit.
Of what they call “finding their place,” in what is not a “boys club,” they say, “…it’s a nice blend of us being discriminated against but also intimidating the opposite sex.”
You know, I want to suspect this is just a case of a young girl speaking out excitedly, without the proper knowledge or experience to back it up. But females turning around and using intimidation, when intimidation has been used on us for so long is not a solution; it is, to cite the tired cliché, fighting fire with fire.
Intimidation and manipulation will certainly get you what you want, though. The fact that I even know the name of Motel Raphael is evidence enough of that.
(Side note: There are now two schools of music. One is The Social Networkers, a.k.a. How Justin Bieber Found Fame, and then there are the Musicians: The ones who actually train themselves, via hard work, to play an instrument. Then they play said instrument. Social Networking is not a major factor in their artistic creativity.)
Using intimidation on male musicians who you assume are staring at your breasts, merely because you possess breasts, is moronic.
And so completes my curiosity with Motel Raphael.
There will be many who simply don’t care, and there will be the diehard fans who will be blasting Motel Raphael from their Ipods as they go spend another hundred of daddy’s money at Forever 21, before grabbing a whopper at the BK Lounge with their lady friends. Hell, they might even open the doors themselves, before reminding men, “Hey, buddy. Eyes up here. We’re in charge here.”