Saleem and Caleb and Baltimore
I'm pretty sure this is awful but it's interesting - - http://www.myspace.com/calebandsaleem
The song Baltimore is especially...weak. I don't know... I feel like when people talk about Baltimore they seem to think that it's much harder than they think it is. Most of the people that write and perform these songs of hardship or "Baltimorean" songs, live in the most easy-going neighborhoods available and more than likely grew up in the county. It's all a giant contrast.
The things I don't like about art - especially Baltimore art - all resonate from Baltimore itself. It's as though the impoverished ideas that surrounds the city and the fake oppressiveness that it's inhabitants seem to claim by living in one of it's semi-refined Burroughs are reason enough for the art. In my opinion it isn't.
But that's the entire point. The people writing the songs and making the art... they don't have a story. There is some young talent still sucking on the tit of love, possible poverty, and some rehashing of an old genre like Reggae or Alt-county but there isn't a story, there isn't an adventure... there's just this vapid stale body breathing out and slopping on canvas these tales about what they think might be...if I had to define it - I would call it impotent expressionless weak willed art.
Maybe I'm being harsh. If you have the back bone to put something out there... anything... you are already twice the person I am... but that doesn't mean I can't call you out on your motives or your lack there of. I can scream fraud -
The artist's greatest accomplishment should be his or her own discovery of life followed by the telling of it in some form or another. Great art is created by great experiences. (Unless you are Emily Dickinson or WCW... in which case you are just a freak.)
There is some talent in the area don't get me wrong - but the people that excel at taking art to another level (Dove, Deacon, Wye Oak...etc...) somehow separate themselves from the bloated mystery and muse that is Baltimore. Why dangle the facade of this city is that though it sparkles on the water for which to catch some metaphorical fish.
I have my own love with this city. I have loved it my entire life. But...It has faded the longer I have stayed here. The churn and burn of neighborhoods, businesses, and policy makes the average Baltimorean feel ignored and sans tribe. This feeling is pretty recent since I have gotten older - but it's been sticking to me more and more. Nothing really seems new any more.