Sinatra: The True Alternative
I'm really into "alternative" music these days, man. I mean stuff that's politically incorrect -- music that would shock the younger generations. Pantera? Nah. Marilyn Manson? Ho-hum. Nine Inch Nails? Been there. Nirvana? Done that. Pearl Jam? Big yawn. These days, when some 17-year-old punk rocker from Bush or Green Day screams the "F" word into a microphone, expecting a big reaction, my eyelids grow heavy with sleep. And when Marilyn Manson glorifies childhood sexual abuse, I, like any responsible adult, wish that someone would spank Mr. Manson with a porcupine to teach him some manners -- but I don't get flustered by his brand of commercial opportunism. And when Trent Reznor of NIN rants on about "doing it like an animal," I chuckle at his lack of sexual sophistication -- what a rookie! Like many jaded members of my generation, I've grown bored with the juvenile excesses of rock. I've graduated to the hard stuff. Today, when I want to hear music that's really alternative, I go for the main vein -- Frank Sinatra.Frank Sinatra is hopelessly alternative by today's lights. His songs drip with romance, sensuality and sentiment -- days of wine & roses, soft summer nights, and limo rides with big city girls who live up the stairs, wearing spike heels with all that perfumed hair. Trent Reznor is a clueless oaf by comparison. Frank isn't afraid to be corny -- a line which no modern rocker would dare to cross. He sings mushy paeans to empty ballparks and big, trashy cities like New York and Chicago. He croons a syrupy song called "I Love My Wife" and he means it, even if he did divorce a few of 'em. No modern rocker has had the courage to be this sappy since Kiss wrote "Beth" and "Detroit, Rock City" in the '70s.A little more of Sinatra's brand of rebellion against the shallow soul of rock & roll and I might just start listening to other "alternative" dudes, like Perry Como, Nat King Cole, and Mel Torme. And for you Riot Grrrls out there, check out Dinah Shore sometime -- she's freaky in a way that Courtney Love or Alanis Morrissette could never begin to imagine. But no one would accuse Frank of being politically correct. On one of his songs, he vows that his son will never be a "sissy" or get bossed around by some "fat-bottomed bully" at school, singing with real venom. And he refers to women as "tramps," "broads" and "dames." He's an unabashed materialist who'll steal if it meets his ends. And he's proud to be a drunk, "a bum" and "a swine" who likes to smoke and gamble. He's an O.G. with a gangsta' hat, and if someone yelled the "F" word at one of his concerts -- well, they'd probably catch a ride down the Brooklyn Bridge escalator in concrete galoshes... He's a sexist pig who doesn't like unescorted ladies wandering around the casino, "blowing on some other guy's dice."Wow. No wonder his generation was so screwed up. By comparison, Marilyn Manson is a conformist twit, pandering to MTV Nation.Frank can't sing worth a damn either. He brays like some kind of schmuck from Hoboken, New Jersey. Which he is. But that's what this ex-rocker likes about him -- his smoky voice resonates class and simple truths. He's a hopeless, romantic rebel who did it his way while the rest of the musical world went the way of yadda-yadda-yadda... Here's to ya, Frankie.