Dear Mastodon, I expected more of you…

Dear Mastodon, I expected more of you…

Dear Mastodon,

I’m sorry to have to write this. Because I honestly thought you were different. You were the example of the mainstream embracing something alternative without compromising. You are a  fiercely progressive band who have relentlessly evolved from one album to the next. You became a gateway to more difficult music for many and helped legitimise the popular revival of progressive music. You released some challenging albums to both commercial and critical acclaim.

It was awesome to see band who represented challenging music doing so well and opening so many doors for other artists. I might never have been able to see bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan play venues like The Barrowlands had you not taken them on tour with you. Taking a band like Dillinger as main support on the tour for your most accessible album to date speaks volumes about Mastodon.

And then you released the video for “The Motherload”.

I understand that in your position decisions about video production may well lie more with management, the label and video producers/directors. Nonetheless, I find it a shame to see the Mastodon name associated with a video which has the primary focus of showcasing scantily clad young women shaking their posteriors. Often filmed in extreme slow motion. It looks more like a lazy and predictable modern r&B video than anything else.

So to be clear, the best way to display your progressive music is with ideas that are anything but progressive and indulge some incredibly unimaginative at best, and at worst pretty derogatory? These are ideas that have nothing to do with the kind of philosophies I also associated with Mastodon. Or indeed the kind of philosophies I often associate with alternative music and counter-culture in general: equality, imagination, creativity, inclusiveness.

None of that is represented in “The Motherload”. An all male, fully clothed rock band are performed in front of by a selection of women drawing direct attention to parts of their body in a sexual manner without any representation of character or any kind of meaningful context.

But then again, you are a BIG band now. Maybe you’re not part of “my kind of thing” any-more. I might just need to accept that. You’re a part of the big industry machine that makes marketing decisions like this. I guess it’s the nature of the beast.

But if that is the case then you’re now a band that is part of a culture I cannot, and more to the point refuse, to reconcile myself with.

To be blunt, I’m disappointed.

I’m sure this sentiment will have me labelled as a bleeding heart woolly liberal who places too much importance on political correctness. And here is my response to that:

To conclude, I still believe that you are better than this Mastodon. Please show that in future.

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