I was trying to describe the excellent new album by The Men, Open Your Heart, to a friend the other day.
"It's sort of post-punky, with some elements of alt-country, but there's also this hardcore element," I stammered. I realized I was kind of being kind of an idiot: Open Your Heart is a rock album, plain and simple, not too far removed from the kind of big-hearted, melodically inclined stuff that The Foo Fighters do.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those guys who thinks genres or honest descriptions are useless, but I do think that half the time we answer the question "What does that sound like?" with too much cred-scrounging, overwrought pretension.
The answer to the question shouldn't always be "rock 'n' roll," or punk rock, or avant-electro-core with touches of EDM and black metal atmospherics, for that matter. I'm all for music that can't be easily categorized -- it can be the best thing ever -- but sometimes it can be nice to cut straight to the core of -- to paraphrase Raymond Carver -- what the hell we're talking about when we talk about music.