Save the Dutch musicians! Or not…

When I think of my favorite Dutch musicians/bands, I think of the likes of Ayreon, Golden Earring, Eddie Van Halen, Candy Dulfer, Within Temptation, and Ayreon (because one does not simply mention the Almighty Ayreon just once). Do you know what all these Dutch musicians have in common? None of them have the audacity to sing in Dutch. Not that it’s a bad thing to sing in your native language, but personally speaking, I’d say that there are far prettier languages than Dutch. I’ll take English or Spanish or Italian over our rough language any day, thank you very much. As much love as I have for my roots, I can’t deny that we have a language that uses violent throat clearings as a means to say hello. The reason I smile all the time is because every verbal exchange in my country reminds me of that hilarious sketch by Denis Leary about a guy with a voice box trying to place an order at a McDonalds Drive-in (offensive link here).

But not everyone is as much a cosmopolitan as Yours Truly, because this week, one of our most famous singers, none other than Frans Bauer, stated in no uncertain terms that he’d support a government decree for a Dutch music quota on the radio. Bauer, the living mascot for the plain and simple Dutch(wo)man since time immemorial, wants to emulate the French model where it is mandatory for radio stations to play French songs at least 40% of the time. According to Bauer, such a quota would help Dutch artists who dabble in what we call the Levenslied, an overly sentimental genre characterized by sassy topics, simple lyrics and dreadful synthesizer melodies. It’s a musical travesty entirely held together by both clichés and the tone-deafness of its lower class audience. All this is a little bit too convenient for Frans Bauer, who himself is the ungodly creator of many, far too many awful Levensliederen. Do we really want this man to play Big Brother and tell us that listening to foreign music is a Thoughtcrime?

Frans Bauer2
Behold the terrifying face of 21st century musical totalitarianism! Source.

Rubbish, I say! The last time I heard about governments forcing certain kinds of art on the plebeians is when the Soviet Union banned all forms of art that did not glorify the proletariat’s struggle towards socialist progress. I’ve heard of a lot of quota in my life, and never has it been about something positive. It’s always about how much pollution a country can produce, how much tickets police officers have to administer every month, or how many times a technician at a nuclear power plant can screw up and bring the entire nation on the edge of a nuclear holocaust. Whenever a quota is involved, you know that things have gone bad. “Quota is the first sign of defeat” should be lesson #1 in every self-improvement or business seminar.

Let me be clear [previous words need to be read in Obama’s voice], if your musical niche needs government intervention in order to survive, then your musical niche is not worth it. Natural selection, bitches! Only the fit get to prosper and breed, or breed and prosper, or whatever they want, because they are the winners! Supporting weakness is some serious slave morality bullshit, and I’ll have none of it. I think it’s high time that we stop looking at art as a sickly child in need of a grown-up to shelter it: it’s time for Art to become self-sustainable.

Having said that, I’ll leave you with a message from a shining pearl of authentic Dutch music: none other than our very own Zanger Rinus. Consider yourself lucky if you haven’t mastered the Dutch language yet. But rest assured that this is vintage and high quality Dutchness, how else could it harvest a mind-boggling six and a half million hits?!

If any of you need me, I’ll be in a corner, drinking myself to death while listening to the crappy recordings from that avant-garde power metal band I used to be in years ago and is now gone and forgotten.

 

Frank Kool
Born and raised in Holland, spent his time procrastinating and studying Psychology and Philosophy. Frank harbors a special interest in weird social phenomena (which are ALL social phenomenon if you think about them long enough).

16 COMMENTS

  1. Haha nice article…I’m sure there are Dutch people that would disagree with you and wave the Dutch flag, patriotism emanating from their whole being. I don’t know if I agree or disagree with the quota, in Canada I think we have a law that says radio stations have to play at least 20-40% Canadian content, depending on the type of music that the station plays. A lot of Canadians make shitty music, like the horrendous and dreadful Nickelback, Simple Plan and Carly Rae Jepsen. Some of you may like them, I’m not sure why, but you are entitled to your wrong opinion ;P. Thinking of artists like this make me want the quota to become nonexistent. But then again, there are so many amazing Canadian artists out there as well. My all time favourite artist, the Weeknd, happens to be Canadian.

    Like you said, what if the people like only like listening to only 10% Dutch music? Why should someone force music that people don’t like into the radio in favour of music that people actually do like? I guess it’s about perserving the Canadian, Dutch, French, whatever, music scene, which I understand. Although you want to invite different cultures into your country, your country still needs to be Dutch/Canadian/French/whatever. All that’s to say that I still don’t know if I agree or not haha.

    Side note, and you may hate me for this, even I hate me for this, but I like the song ‘Alles Alles Alles in Een’. Its’ so catchy. When I was in Amsterdam and me and my international friends would hear the song in some small super Dutch bar/club, we’d sing along and start dancing 🙂

    • Oh and another thing, mainstream radio plays garbage music anyway, regardless of the nationailty of the singer, so I usually avoid it when I can. I prefer trolling youtube for music, which is a great way to discover music, for me anyway.

    • Don’t tell anyone, but Carly Rae Jepsen is my guilty musical pleasure. I don’t care how awful ‘Call Me Maybe’ is, that song is catchy as hell! 😛

    • The controversial 30% CanCon rule came into affect in 1971 for good reasons, really…Canada has a tenth of the population of our neighbour to the south, and our sparse population has always been a bummer for the English-Canadian musician trying to promote his or her product…the competition from America is just too overwhelming.

      Throughout the 1960s, if one wanted to be a success, you had to leave the country (Paul Anka, the Diamonds, Robert Goulet, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Zal Yanofsky of the Lovin’ Spoonful, Denny Doherty of the Mamas and the Papas, the Band, etc.). Canadian radio stations refused to play local artists until they got the seal of approval from American radio. Í have collected lots of Canadian music that was ignored by local radio and it’s just as good as anything produced in America…

      The CanCon rule has worked…but it does have detractors such as Bryan Adams. I don’t know…would Gino Vanelli be so popular here in the Netherlands (and have a house here) if he couldn’t get played in Canada? I somewhat doubt it.

      But I don’t know why Frans Bauer thinks there is a problem…I hear crap like his all over the place…Dutch language acts are incredibly popular here…and they even have their own TV station to promote themselves. I really don’t think force-feeding more of that slop is going to gain them more fans…and it’s not like they’re competing with a Dutch-speaking country next door! Sounds incredibly self-serving to me…

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