The Politics of Music & the Music of Politics.
Track №1: “The Turbulent 90s”.
Note from the Narrator: this post is a perfect example of dangerous and misleading Russian propaganda and should be read with a tin foil hat on. It demonizes the glorious years of the first Russian president Boris Yeltsin who will be remembered forever. Glory to democracy! Glory to the ultraliberal heroes!
Comment from Captain Obviov: many things obvious to Russians are often seen as some sort of 'KGB propaganda' by Westerners. They don't trust those Russians who challenge their knowledge of 'what Russia is' and tend to believe Russia's yes men instead, who are experts in caressing Westerners' confirmation bias and ushanka syndrome.
The weather in Moscow now is what I call sprinter (SPRing + wINTER), or wring (Winter + spRING). It’s raining cats and dogs, and snowing bears and wolves at the same damn time. Suddenly I decided to listen to “Weather Experience” by the Prodigy. This tack brought memories of my school days… I started listening to the Prodigy in 1998 when I was in the 9th grade from The Fat of the Land. Then there was Music for the Jilted Generation. And it was a real Experience. I was standing in the school gym and I heard something playing. And it was _something_! Poisonous, mean, wicked, radioactive, aggressive rhythms from the boombox blew me away. It was what I was looking for – this stuff perfectly fitted my teen depression.
The Doors period in my life at that time was coming to an end, my beautiful friend… it was my ‘father’s music’ and I needed something of my own. My father’s generation had the Beatles (he learned English in order to understand what they were singing about). We had the Prodigy. [And Nirvana – another superpopular group in Russia in the 90s. Teens were wearing hats with either the Prodigy or Nirvana logo. So the Prodigy was my “Nirvana” in all meanings of this word.] The Prodigy were the Beatles of my generation. The latter sang “help, I need somebody” and the former used a sample with such words as “I don’t need nobody”. Spot the difference. Our parents called the Prodigy ‘rubbish’ and ‘non-music’. And they were right. Those who live at the giant scrapyard which used to be their country deserve corresponding music. The ‘no future’ sentiment of punk reincarnated in ‘electropunk’ of the Prodigy.
We were the first post-Soviet generation. We were the first generation of ‘democratic Russia’. We were as cosmopolitan and globalized as it can get. We were… Who were we? I’m not quite sure. But there is one definition. We were generation P (where ‘P’ is for ‘Prodigy’), the jilted generation: we had “total lack of respect for the law“, we were up to “no good“. We had only “one love” – the music which was our only friend (until the end). Little help from our ‘friends’ was there as well, of course: drinking Baltika №3 beer and Ochakovo gin and tonic in plastic bottles and smoking cigs, and – in high (sic!) school – weed from ex-Soviet southern republics… The narcotic suite was the soundtrack to our existence. It helped to ease the unbearable lightness of our being. While (post-)Soviet elites were selling Russia wholesale and monetizing their power, our fathers had no time to raise us up. They were too busy making money, becoming gangsters and businessmen (these two were
almost equal), working as illegal taxi drivers and/or searching for any available jobs, drinking their fails away and ‘celebrating’ their imaginary success while our families were falling apart just like our ‘independent’ country.
A friend of mine who is a bit older than me told me that he lost most of his neighbourhood friends. First they became yellow like the Simpsons. Then they died. Heroin was their heroine [cheap calembour]. They wanted to be cool just like Vincent Vega, so they died just like Vincent Vega. They shot H but H is a sniper – H shoots to kill. They didn’t make it to see the rise of the green monster called ‘krokodil‘ (crocodile).
What’s usually ‘lost in translation’, is that Boris Yeltsin to millions of ordinary Russians is a symbol of this time. Of course, he was only the tip of the post-Soviet Russian iceberg which resembled Titanic in the shape.
Let’s fast-forward to now. It’s time for me to check out The Day Is My Enemy. 😎
To be continued…