Wednesday, April 21, 2004


Various corners of the blogosphere are atwitter by a recent list of "The 50 Worst Songs Ever" a list topped by Jefferson Starship's "We Built this City." Since I am, apparently, one who would rather comment on Western pop music than on pressing issues of the day, I offer the following for your consideration and criticism:


Most of these are well-known bands that have achieved considerable commercial success and/or cult followings. And yet, with exceptions to be noted below, whenever one of their songs comes on the radio, I invariably end up switching the station long before the song ends.

Any and all ex-Beatles. Just because you were part of one of the most influential rock-and-roll bands in history doesn’t mean that you can or should try to go it alone. Paul, John, George, and especially Ringo (along with his all-star band) should have moved on to other pursuits (I would say the same thing about ex-members of the Rolling Stones, but besides Mick Jagger’s laughable solo stuff, I don’t even know of any other attempts of other band members to even try to go solo).

The Grateful Dead. A dedicated posse of dead-heads, funky ties, dancing bears, and a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor do not a good rock band make (possible exceptions: “A touch of gray” and “Fire on the mountain” but do these two marginal songs really earn the band the accolades it has received over the years?). Moreover, I’d bet good money that among the millions of Americans who mourned the passing of Jerry Garcia, more than half would be hard pressed to name or recognize a single Grateful Dead tune.

The Who (exception: “Behind blue eyes”). The band never did anything for me except make me want to listen to something else.

Elvis Costello. A perennial favorite of the “serious” music fan or critic, the man would be completely forgotten had he not stolen the name of a more famous (and worthy) rock musician. (Exceptions: “Allison,” “Watching the Detectives”; both came out decades ago). Not liking Elvis Costello (or his Attractions) probably makes me one of the unsophisticated masses who do not appreciate soulful song-writing but I’ll just have to learn to live with that.

Dave Matthews Band: See “Elvis Costello” (and he doesn’t even have a memorable name).

Van Morrison. I actually quite admire Van the Man as a songwriter. But, like Bob Dylan, his songs work far better when someone else sings them. I’ve heard that in concert Morrison has been known to insist that his audience not song along with his songs, a fact that probably speaks volumes about his pretentiousness.

The Doors. Nothing to say here. Move along.

Van Hagar (not to be confused with David Lee Roth-era Van Halen). While the original Van Halen may have been somewhat silly at times, once screamin’ Dave was booted out, things really went downhill.

The Clash (exception: “Should I stay or should I go"). Another one of those bands that serious music fans are supposed to like and appreciate because they were “influential.” Perhaps they were, but they also were, for the most part, un-listenable.

Kenny G/Yanni/John Tesh. You mean they’re not the same person/band?

There’s probably more, but that is enough for now. Talk amongst yourselves.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?