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?
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.