Let’s Talk about Signature Sounds

Considering what’s about to come out in a little while here, I didn’t necessarily want to drill down this particular shaft right now, but the timing is what it is, and, you’ve probably seen and heard the new Maison Book Girl, right?

Man, the reacts to this sucker sure were positive! For instance:

I’m not calling out our Papermaiden here — she’s just an example. The reality is that people in the altisphere were all like FUCK YEAH MAISON BOOK GIRL yesterday and are probably still giving each other high-fives across time and space. And I’m glad that you guys like it, and MBG is doing well.

But holy crap, “rooms” is every other Maison Book Girl song, which is itself every other Maison Book Girl song; there is truly only one Maison Book Girl song, and it exists in an extradimensional vacuum, emanating aspects of itself into material reality every so often to create the appearance that there has been a new Maison Book Girl song, but in fact it is only another manifestation — an avatar, if you will — of Maison Book Girl Song.

“Oh but Maniac,” you say for the thirtieth time since I first began to express public frustration with this project, “you just have to listen to their album/s, for therein you will be impressed with the genius!”

But I have, friend! I have listened now to every release of Maison Book Girl. I have enjoyed probably all of it, because the fact remains that Maison Book Girl is pleasant to listen to! However, it is also true that, certain flourishes aside, every Maison Book Girl song is a reflected aspect of Maison Book Girl Song.

Now that I have been awakened as to this reality, I can never go back. I have left the cave. I see the world for what it is.

Okay, that’s a little over the top, but you get the point. I do think that every Maison Book Girl song is basically every other Maison Book Girl song, and it’s easy to get lost in that because there’s a difference between, well, them and the likes of *cough*PassCode*cough* other idol groups musical acts that basically do the same thing over and over again.

But am I being unkind? Unfair? Misdirected? After all, Bad Religion is probably my favorite band of any kind ever, and they’re at the point where they’re pretty much just re-writing things they did 30 years ago, re-recycling riffs and phrases and themes, but it doesn’t matter because you have always been able to tell a Bad Religion song from a mile away because they have a sound. Also, they’re not far from a fifth decade, which is terrifying.

Anyway, the point is, it’s not bad on its face to have a distinctly You way for your music to sound. Another example (I’m listening to them right now!) is Tool; I can almost always pick out a song produced by Nelly; I once turned off the car radio 10 seconds into a new song because I couldn’t hear another note from the Black Eyed Peas. I, like you, have tastes and preferences, and I listen to a lot of junk because that’s how it works, and as such form fairly concrete opinions.

Like: Maison Book Girl’s music sounds very nice, but it also all sounds like the same thing. And then I stop myself, because am I being unfair, because I clearly don’t have anything against signature sounds but do seem to have something against Maison Book Girl. I’ve even prevaricated on this position in the past, trying perhaps too hard to be accommodating — all of you guys can’t be wrong! I just can’t get around Total Move Duplication.

And then I think about idol in general, which is a field rife with copycats and rip-offs and lowest common denominator songwriting because so often the people are the product, and I think about the shining lights (at least, the ones that I consider shining lights), the Yanakoto Sotto Mutes and Dots and BRGH/There There Theres, the ones who have pretty distinct sonic signatures but could at worst be called derivative as opposed to duplicative, and I wonder if it really is just me, like if the uniqueness of Maison Book Girl’s sound throws me off, or if this is even really the question to discuss as opposed to “say, why aren’t more idols legitimately really good?”

Anyway, thought I’d throw that one out there. Maybe you guys can even talk about it on the podcast!

2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk about Signature Sounds

  1. I like MBG a lot, but I get where your coming from Maniac. Think of the songs as facets of a musical gem. One whole but looked at from different angles. Or I could be talking bollocks 🙂

    • I’m hearing from folks coming at it from just about every side imaginable on this one, and I think that just about everything that everybody says is a good point. Your gem analogy is a good one and lines up with what some other folks have said, that the reward is to immerse yourself and start to pick out the real points of interest.

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