Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekend Listomania (Special Not Their Finest Hour Audio/Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental Christine Keeler surrogate Fah Lo Suee and I are off to somewhere where...quite frankly I haven't got a joke, given the gravity of the unfolding situation in Japan.

On the other hand, of course, the upside to what's going on over there is that none of the people in the Tokyo area are going to have to pay their utility bills for a while.

Okay, I'm ashamed of that one. Sorry.

Anyway, that being the case, and because things are going to be mercifully quiet around here for a couple of days, here's a fun little project to help you fill any empty areas in your lives:

Song or Album That You Really Dislike By a Group or Artist You Otherwise Really Like!!!

No arbitrary rules that I can think of, you're welcome very much, and yes, we've probably done something similar at some point. Hey -- you try cranking these things out without repeating yourself occasionally. In any rate, outraged snark never goes out of style.

And my totally top of my head Top Five is:

5. The Rolling Stones -- Voodoo Lounge.



No mp3, for the simple reason that this is the only Stones album on which there's not a single song interesting enough to induce me to listen to it again.

4. Bruce Springsteen -- Outlaw Pete



I still think this works only as a joke, but apparently the faux spaghetti western vibe is meant unironically. I should add that when I saw Springsteen do it live at the Meadowlands, the crowd went absolutely bonkers. Still scratching my head over that, actually.

3. Bob Dylan -- The Boxer



Dylan's so incredibly prolific that it's inevitable there's a lot of dross in his catalog, but this Paul Simon cover -- done as a duet between his early folk and Nashville Skyline crooner voices, and perhaps meant as a goof -- is about as unlistenable as it gets

2. The Hollies -- Blowin' in the Wind



And speaking of Dylan, this is the album that motivated Graham Nash to quit the band. Let's just say I agreed with him. God, that's just hideous.

And the Numero Uno WTF??? music from people who really should have known better just has to be...

1. Marah -- Float Away With the Friday Night Gods




In 1999, Marah put out Kids in Philly, which sounded like Bruce Springsteen fronting The Replacements in a performance of Exile on Main Street, and which completely changed my life. Inexplicably, they followed it up with this utterly generic crappy Brit Pop, which I remember listening to, incredulous, for purposes of review and being somewhere beyond appalled at its generic crappiness. As I wrote at the time about the title track above -- Bruce Springsteen is supposed to be in there somewhere doing something, but if you can hear him through the trendy production murk you're a better person than I am.

Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?

44 comments:

steve simels said...

BTW, in case anybody was wondering -- "Dancing With Mr. D.," the clue I posted downstairs -- is actually a pretty good song. Well, okay, it's a great riff and a great groove, and I can personally attest that it's fun to play live. That said, thematically it was beyond obvious for the Stones to be doing something like it in 1973; at the very least, it was a case of having gone too often to that particular well. IMHO.

NYMary said...

Not that this will be news to anyone--and the book will go a long way toward describing the "why" behind it--but like a lot of Shoes' fans, Silhouette just leaves me scratching my head.

(NB. I think this is the best song on the record. But still.)

Sinfonian said...

For me, it's Billy Joel's An Innocent Man. I might be the only person in the world who feels that way, but God, how I hate "Tell Her About It," "Longest Time," and all that faux-'50s crap. The title track, IMO, is the only song on the album worthwhile. But, as always, YMMV.

Gummo said...

Iggy Pop's New Values is an amazing, underrated album. Or it would be if not for the presence on side 2 of "African Man," a stupid racist piece of garbage that maybe was meant as a joke but -- bleah.

And I defy even the most dedicated Deadhead to sit down and snap their fingers to the interminable dirge that is the "Blues for Allah" suite. Oh my.

And I hate to speak ill of the deceased, but George Harrison -- "This Guitar Can't Keep From Crying" -- really? I mean, really?

Faze said...

A lot of insecure artists deliberately record crap to test your love. That's what Dylan claims he was doing in "Self Portrait", which included that staggeringly bad "Boxer". This Listomania might have been restricted to bad songs or albums later followed by songs or albums you liked. So much bad work by major artists like the Stones was just part of a general stall from which they never pulled out. A better example might be "Satanic Majesty". That sure sounded like the Stones were down for the count, but "Beggars Banquet" and all that followed was (as we all know) a stunning revival.

I wouldn't write off that Hollies album altogether. Their version of the then-rarely heard "The Hour that my Ship Comes In" always brightens my mood.

And what's that picture shown with the "Boxer" clip? Is it random people, sort of to match the seemingly random harmonies Dylan is singing in that song?

Sal Nunziato said...

I am with you on Voodoo Lounge, though I must defend "Love Is Strong," especially the unreleased Keith sung version. Great from head to toe.

Is Neil Young 1981-1988 too easy?

I'll vote for David Bowie's "Never Let Me Down." NO record which includes a duet with Mickey Rourke should ever get a 3-star Rolling Stone review.

Anonymous said...

A sadly-departed former co-worker of mine had the somewhat endearing distinction of being the sole defender of records Everybody Else on Earth agreed that sucked. "Dirty Work" by The Stones. "Dylan and The Dead." Miss you, babe, but yeeesh...
Albums? Joe Ely's misbegotten synth-pop move "Hi-Res." Pretty much all Iggy/Lou Reed past 1982 or so. Do I need even mention the horror that is 80s McCartney?
- bill buckner

Gummo said...

Faze said...
A lot of insecure artists deliberately record crap to test your love.


Sorry, I don't buy that at all. When you consider all the time and effort and money it takes to record an album, I don't believe anyone intentionally records crap. Especially if you're insecure, the last thing you want to do is expend blood, sweat and tears for months only to hear the result mocked & derided.

David said...

Elvis Costello's "Goodbye Cruel World," combining the production excesses of Imperial Bedroom--redoubled; low morale within the Attractions; and a particularly uninspired bunch of songs added up to Elvis's only unqualified stinker.

steve simels said...

David: Two words

"Almost Blue."

Worst attempted country album ever.

Faze said...

Gummo -- What you say is true. I can't imagine being so blase about one's recording career as to purposely release crap. But what else can explain, say, "Two Virgins"? "Metal Machine Music"? "Nebraska?" "Clambake?"

David said...

Steve, I wasn't as irked by Almost Blue as you were, clearly....but are you going to let that "Nebraska" remark pass?

P. Drāno said...

Sometimes people get committed to an idea and don't realize how bad it is until well past the final bail-out date. Particularly if other people are involved.

Gummo said...

Faze --

From everything I've read, John Lennon really believed in the awful shit he released with Yoko. I've never found a word to indicate otherwise.

And as for Metal Machine Music, I heard something recently that shed some light on that -- it was a mid-60s recording from The Dream Syndicate, the avant garde NYC music group John Cale was a part of -- it sounded EXACTLY like Metal Machine Music and it was perfectly serious. So MMM may not have been tongue-in-cheek at all, but a tribute to the NYC avant garde music scene.

Gummo said...

And for the record, I loved Imperial Bedroom. And liked Almost Blue.

*shrugs*

Sal Nunziato said...

Yeah, I'm on board with Almost Blue.

"Nebraska?" Really? In my Top 3 Bruce records.

J. Loslo said...

The Byrds have a version of "Lay Lady Lay" that is absolutely awful.

dave™© said...

I'm pretty sure "The Boxer" was Dylan's own inside joke, and on top of everything, Chris Guest stole the set-up for "Positively Wall Street" in the NatLamp show "Lemmings."

As for the song I really dislike... I'll probably get a lot of flack for this, but I'd have to choose "The River" by Springsteen. I can never get past the line "Then I got Mary pregnant" without bursting into incredulous laughter.

Brooklyn Girl said...

I hate "Their Satanic Majesties Request" ... yes, I know it has a few good songs, but psychedelia and the Stones just don't mix.

I also hated the Elvis Costello-Burt Bacharach collaboration. One listen was more than enough.

And Brian Wilson's long-awaited "Smile" didn't make me ... smile.

Brooklyn Girl said...

SINFONIAN???? HEY THERE! :-)

pete said...

Yes, the recent "Smile" was a head-scratcher in a category by itself: greatest piece of drugged-out kitsch?

And speaking of the sad deflation that was the last two Byrds albums, what about Love after Forever Changes?

But Dylan really is the champ. For my money nothing after Infidels is worth a repeated listen, although if Lennon hadn't been murdered (murdered, not assassinated) he might have matched Bob crap for crap.

And the universal scorn prompted by Metal Machine Music kept me from listening to it at al until Steve put some up here a few months ago. And I liked it.

steves said...

I could say 50 percent of McCartney's post-Beatles output, but that would too easy. Also, Dylan's "Christmas From the Heart" stands out as true senior moment for him--along with Modern Times, IMHO. (But I'm with Sal on "Nebraska"--REALLY?). So, I guess I'll go with Paul Simon's "You're the One," an album that almost no one remembers, and for good reason.


(...and looking over the above, I realize: I really am a fossil, aren't I?)

Billy B said...

I most definitely part company on this one. Voodoo Lounge has some great stuff on it. I listen to it regularly to this day.

Sparks Will Fly, Baby Break It Down, Love Is Strong, You Got me Rocking, I Go Wild, Out of Tears are all great tunes.

Glad to see Power Pop hasn't switched to that crappy mess Black has.

The Kenosha Kid said...

I can't help wondering if Gil Scott-Heron is still proud of putting "The Subject Was Faggots" on Small Talk at 125th and Lennox.

Also, "Let's Dance" by Bowie ended one of the great streaks in the history of recorded music. And I'm not just saying that to annoy Steve. (though partly)

edward said...

Another voice defending Nebraska here.

Goodbye Cruel World has a few songs I wouldn't turn off, but have you ever listened to North more than once?

Speaking of country attempts, Jonathan Goes Country by Mr Richman is a big miss.

Can't say I'm fond of Randy Newman's academy award winning songs and soundtracks, but maybe those are a special catagory.

Patti Smith's Radio Ethiopia is one I'll gladly skip.

Shriner said...

I could probably hoist a list of albums I think are disappointed, but let me focus on songs that stand out as teh suck:

"The Day We Fall In Love" by the Monkees.

The only song from their second album to *not* make it to the TV show.


"More Than Meets The Eye" really makes the Bangles debut album come to an unexpected screeching halt at the end.

"Superman" by Robyn Hitchcock on the Queen Elvis album. Not one of his best albums overall, but this song is like nails on a chalkboard to finish off the album.


And, it's probably cliche, but "Within You, Without You" kills Sgt. Pepper right in the middle...

"Theme from the 3rd Movement of Sinister Footwear" from Zappa's You Are What You Is album. It's not that this instrumental jam sucks any worse that some of Zappa's other noise experiments, it's that it's the *only* track like this on an otherwise excellent double-album full of songs. So it's jarringly out-of-place.

"Still We Remain" on the Romantic's excellent 61/49 album. Yet another example of a closing song that ends an album so badly that it (briefly) makes you forget how good the rest of the album was.



How about reversing the list another week? Singularly great songs from otherwise crappy albums from established artists (to rule out the one-hit wonders...)

Shriner said...

And I'll defend "Painted From Memory" -- it's *exactly* what you think it is -- Elvis singing over Burt Bacharach material.

And for that -- and for the most-beautiful "God Give Me Strength" which transcends almost anything EC has ever been involved with -- it succeeds on it's merits.

Sal Nunziato said...

"You Got Me Rocking" and "Sparks Will Fly," to my ears, are the Stones at their laziest and most embarrassing. Jagger's phrasing alone on "Ahm uh butcha, cutta up meat" on the former, makes my cringe meter sizzle. That said, I agree Billy B, some pretty decent stuff on Voodoo Lounge, those two songs aside.

And Shriner...I am so with you on Elvis & Burt.

dave™© said...

My wife LOVES that Elvis and Burt album. It's what got her into Elvis in the first place!

Noam Sane said...

White Album. Don't get the love for this record. The "Revolution" single is far superior, "Rocky Raccoon," "Don't Pass Me By," the "Honey Pie"s, "Piggies," "Bungalow Bill," oy. Good stuff sprinkled throughout but what you have to wade through to get it...

steves said...

^^^ Whoa! Someone jumped the shark here.

(No offense intended.)

Sinfonian said...

Brooklyn Girl said...
SINFONIAN???? HEY THERE! :-)


It. Is. Alive. I mean, I am alive. :) Saw this posted on Facebook, loved the premise, and had to pop by. (Get it? Pop?)

Let's see ... as The World's Biggest Fan of The Who, I ought to be able to come up with something that fits into this category... lots of folks hate Quadrophenia, even with a gem like "Love, Reign O'er Me," but I really dig that album myself. Oh, wait, how about "You Better You Bet".... that's a real piece of crap. "Your dog keeps licking my nose and chewing up all those letters that say 'you better'".... Geez, that's pitiful. And "Squeeze Box" is good only as a novelty, kind of like "Boris the Spider." Guess they had a tough time bouncing back from Keith's untimely death.

There, I knew I could come up with something. My work here is done. :)

Anonymous said...

I love "Kids in Philly" and "Float Away . . ." - but probably not on the same day.

Blue Ash Fan said...

Steve,

Ditto on "Kids on Philly." Absolutely changed my life. I was absolutely evangelical about it. Made my friends and relatives buy it. When I heard Springsteen was going to be on the follow-up to "Kids," I was beside myself. When the album came out, If Bruce is on there, I sure as hell don't hear him. I played it twice and put it away forever. To this day, I have to be reminded that the album after "Kids" isn't "20,000 Street Under the Sky."

Now, back to the Listomania theme. I would add Southside Johnny's "Trash It Up," the execrable dance music follow-up to "Love Is a Sacrifice." Best remembered as a Frisbee and not an actual record.

steve simels said...

Having listened to that Marah song after a decade of trying to pretend it never existed, I gotta say -- in fairness -- if I didn't know who it was or the context in which it was made, I'd probably go -- actually not a bad song. Like Oasis, but better constructed and sung.

I'm still not nuts about it, and I still think the album's the most unconscionable sellout in rock history after Jefferson Starship, but like I said -- not a bad song.

cthulhu said...

Well, I gotta give Sinfonian a run for the title of "world's biggest fan of the Who", so I nominate..."Helpless Dancer" from Quadrophenia. Pete really should apologize to Roger for that one. But, seen from a distance of 38 years, Quadrophenia is an uneven set anyway - as I mentioned here some weeks ago, the whole of Side 2 is very tough sledding except for "I'm One." The title track from "It's Hard" is pretty bad too (come to think of it, most of that disc is bad).

And although I don't particularly care for the Who's version of "Squeeze Box", Townshend's demo, collected on his first Scoop set, has irresistible verve and charm that never fails to make me smile.

There's a few real stinkers in Richard Thompson's oeuvre, particularly in the Mitchell Froom produced stuff - "Read about Love" or "Baby Talk" anybody?

Peter said...

I agree about Quadrophenia and the White Album, and how about Cahoots by the Band? Or the Last Record Album by Little Feat?

TJWood said...

My choice is with R.E.M.--but not as one would think something from the post-Bill Berry era. I've enjyed those albums (the new one included), difficult as they could be, and I'll even to a point defend "Around The Sun", no matter what Peter Buck has to say about it. The annyoing moment for me is "Bad Day", a sort of dry run for "It's The End of The World.." that wasn't finished and released until they put it on a best-of album in 2003. It's another one of those "My life sucks because the Republican administration is in power" venting moments, it could actually pass an an REM parody if one didn't know any better. Some actually rate it as one of the better moments of the post-Berry era. Not me.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Steve, thanks and i actually WAS wondering about Mr. D -- i like lots about the song, but probably the biggest thing is, the riff is just so perfectly, arrogantly, in your face, slooow and ... insouciant, if that's the word?

Alex said...

Okay, sure, the Dylan "Boxer" is horrible, but it's compellingly horrible, can't-turn-away-from-a-car-wreck horrible.

The Hollies "Blowing in the Wind," however, is so over-the-top awful that it's almost admirable. And then it becomes awful again.

steve simels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

How about that symphonic Tommy extravaganza with the guest vocalists? Just about unlistenable, even with a still relevant (at that time) Rod Stewart and Steve Winwood....

Anonymous said...

I've noticed Rod Stewart has been given something of a pass here. I've always felt that he put out some fantastic stuff early on, Every Picture Tells A Story is pretty much wonderful from beginning to end.

I'm not sure where the shark was jumped exactly but, oh my god has he put out a great deal of atrocious material since some time shortly after that. It became embarrassing to admit that you liked anything he'd ever done.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Rod Stewart doing standards is the pop equivalent of nails on a blackboard.