Friday, July 9, 2010

Crowded House “Chocolate Cake”

I guess I know how America feels about an American criticizing America, while in another country. America answered that question when the Dixie Chicks criticized President Bush, while in Europe. Cue the firestorm. Followed by the commercial abandonment of their records.

What about the reverse situation? A non-American comes to America, and criticizes it. Does it merit a firestorm? A commercial abandonment?

How much room does an outsider have, to criticize? And how smart is it to do so?

I guess my two-part questions gets two different answers.

Probably the only way to get an objective view of yourself, is to hear how other people view you. It doesn’t make every description of you automatically correct. But it’s nearly impossible to be objective about yourself.

Describe yourself.

Are the things you just said, things you realized about yourself, or were they things that you realized because someone else described you that way?

So it’s kind of incumbent upon us, as Americans, to listen to how an outsider who comes to America, views America.

On the other hand, it’s probably commercial suicide for a non-American artist to do so.

Because as catchy as “Chocolate Cake” is, and as accurate as it may or may not be about American consumerism, it’s hard to imagine the average American citizen swallowing this bitter slice of satire.

Actually, it’s not hard to imagine. Here are the facts. Although “Woodface” is consistently pegged as Crowded House’s best, most critically acclaimed album, with “Chocolate Cake” as the first single the record made no particular impact in the U.S. when it came out in 1991. But it IS the record that broke the band in Europe.

So the answer to the two-part question, rests in which question you’d rather answer.

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