But in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:
Post-Beatles Album, Song or Video That Best Exemplifies the Phrase 'Wretched Excess'!!!
Self-explanatory, I think, so no arbitrary rules of any kind this time. Except whatever you pick has to appear on a commercially released CD or video. A bootleg of Phish playing Wagner's complete Ring Cycle might be over the top, but it's not something that was deliberately inflicted on a mass audience.
In any case, my top of my head Top Seven would be...
7. Smashing Pumpkins -- Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
Ah, the triumphant return to these pages of Billy Corgan and his pretentious cueball noggin. Hey -- what can you say about this album except that although it's shorter than Sandinista! it has fewer laughs.
6. Bonnie Tyler -- Total Eclipse of the Heart
Actually, you could just print out the entire Jim Steinman song catalog and stick a pin in it at random to find an equally worthy candidate. This one's pretty hard to top, however.
5. Led Zeppelin -- Moby Dick
The most painful drum solo in history, for my money, and depending on how Bonzo was feeling, among the longest (a version I saw at Madison Square Garden in the early 70s clocked in at 17 minutes, if I recall correctly.)
4. Iron Butterfly -- In a Gadda da Vida
A painfully obvious choice, I know, but everything about this song just screams ridiculous-on-steroids. And this is the short version.
3. Coldplay -- Viva La Vida
Okay, shooting ducks in a barrel, but between the preening self-importance and the big bogus dramatic moment when the kettle drum enters, you would need (per Oscar Wilde) a heart of stone not to laugh.
2. Gwen Stefani -- Wind It Up
This one still makes my jaw drop, frankly. Honorable mention: The Janet Jackson "Rhythm Nation," video, which in terms of costumed Nazi extras, at least, is almost as ridiculous.
And the numero uno most excessively wretched pop music artifact in the history of the universe, I think we'll all be on the same page with this one, obviously is --
1. Richard Harris -- MacArthur Park
As a friend said after hearing this wafting from a car radio one summer afternoon..."Oh no --- NOT THE CAKE!!!!!"
Awrighty, then -- what would your choices be?
[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: best use of outdoor locations in a non-documentary film -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, I'd be profoundly grateful if you could go over there and leave a comment, thus allaying management's fears that my gargantuan post-AIG freelance rate is unjustified. Thanks!]