Thursday, 27 September 2012

One World

“We could have been a world 
We could have been one 
We could have been everybody trying to get along 
We could have been a world 
We could have been one 
We could have been everybody drawn together

You could have been listening, you could have been here 
You could have been giving and you could have cared”

One World – The Feelers

Yesterday I was scrolling the Twitter feed and came across a photo which was taken at JB Hi Fi. It was of an album by The Feelers and captioned “They’re NZ’s Nickelback!” I’m not quite sure whether this was meant to be a compliment or not but it got me thinking about the way we look at our Kiwi bands.

Whenever a new band comes out they’re often compared to overseas act. Jamie McDell is New Zealand’s Taylor Swift. The Make Believe is New Zealand’s answer to Blink 182. Clap Clap Riot have been compared to The Kinks and The Hives. I’m at odds over whether this is a bad thing or not. On one hand, it’s nice to know New Zealand have the talent to be compared with such bad acts. On the other hand, why must New Zealanders be something which already exists in music industry?

Although I’m no musician, I’m going to take a guess and say it would depend what musician you are compared to which makes the difference. I don’t think The Feelers will be feeling particularly pleased with JB Hi Fi comparing them to Nickelback given Nickelback’s reputation in music. But being compared to Taylor Swift, one of the biggest female recording artists at the moment? That must be a cool feeling and a sweet compliment. But are Kiwi musicians stuck in this rut of being constantly compared to someone overseas?

Maybe it has to do with the domination of American and British music. It seems they just get there first. Or is it these artists who are being compared with are success and for the New Zealand musician who just wants to succeed they should embody what is the trend overseas? And, if that’s the case, then can New Zealand musicians be better than their international comparisons? I muse over this and throw out these questions because we are happy to celebrate New Zealand culture and music. But if we walk around saying The Feelers are the Kiwi Nickelback, then we are really just celebrating Nickelback’s music. Are you fine with that? 

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