Friday, October 03, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special There is No God! Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental batman Hop-Sing and I are off to Alaska, where we'll join Governor Sarah Palin at the Wassilla Public Library for her annual browse of some interesting magazines and periodicals.

In any case, since this will be followed by the traditional Moose Roast and Octoberfest, posting by moi will necessarily be somewhat fitful for a few days.

But until then, as always, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:

The Post-Elvis Pop/Rock Band or Solo Act With a Major Career Whose Popularity Most Remains Mystifying Because They Self-Evidently Suck!!!

No special rules or exceptions here; obviously this is subjective on some level, but in this case all the examples are actually scientifically provable as far as suckitude goes.

Programming note: For those who were wondering, we will return to our ongoing project to work Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Corgan's pretentious cue-ball noggin into every Listomania from now till the end of recorded time with next week's entry.

Okay, that said, my top of my head Top Eight would be:

8. Coldplay

As I said the other day -- are they U2 without the warmth? Spandau Ballet without the sense of humor? Who knows and who cares...if ever a multi-platinum band sucked, it's these guys, and frankly Gwynneth Paltrow should be ashamed of herself for mingling her DNA with that appalling singer.

7. Fall Out Boy

God, these guys are full of themselves. And "This Aint a Scene, It's an Arms Race" is one of the lamest lyric metaphors ever. David Byrne really needs to smack these putzes upside their heads.

6. Celine Dion

Seriously -- I can't even begin to fathom why millions of people actually listen to her CDs for pleasure. Is earnest sexlessness really that much fun? Honest, I just don't fricking get it...

5. Justin Timberlake

For some reason -- that he's funny in movies, or something -- it's now considered plausible in certain circles to defend this nit as an interesting all-around entertainer, like he's the Sammy Davis Jr of his generation, except whiter and with two eyes. I can only conclude it's some kind of weird Gen-Y kitsch thing, like the Tony Bennett on MTV Mania of the 90s.

4. Sean Combs (or whatever his name is at the moment)

A credit to his wallet? Perhaps. But as far as music goes, he deserves a special circle in Hell for that appalling remake of "Every Breath You Take" alone.

3. Oasis

Do they have even a remotely listenable singer? Is there a single interesting instrumentalist in the band? Have they ever written even a moderately memorable song? The answer to all of those is "Fuck no," IMHO.

2. Madonna

"Last night I dreamt of some bagels..." The great singer/songwriter/guitarist Peter Blegvad said it best of Ms. Ciccone: "A teaspoon of talent."

And the number one "why the fuck are they huge?" act , it's so obvious it's unarguable so don't even bother to suggest somebody else or I swear to god I'll mess you up, is ---

1. Gloria Estefan

Keith Richards nailed her in an interview some years back: "A Holiday Inn lounge act that got lucky."

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania (theme: cool gangster flicks) is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could go over there and leave a comment, an angel get its wings.]


TJWood said...

Didn't think you'd miss Coldplay, but a little surprised not to see Bowie on your list. There are so many easy targets to choose from, so let the fun begin. Here's five, in random order of worthiness:

1. Styx
2. Nickelback
3. Michael Bolton
4. Avril Lavigne
5. for a brief period in the '70's anyway, Uriah Heep

But I expect to see some worthier choices from fellow bloggers.

steve simels said...

I figured I'd leave off the Bowie bashing for once.

Brooklyn Girl said...


Dave said...

I totally agree about six of your picks, but two of them are easy:

Gloria Estefan has a beautiful voice and a nice personality. Her band is good, too. I don't think she's ever been a rock act. She got lucky with a couple of fluke singles.

Justin Timberlake I'd equate with Janet Jackson. He's made some fabulous albums, which are essentially producer vehicles. And he can dance. And unlike JJ, his CDs aren't pretentious.

Anonymous said...

phil collins

Gummo said...

Barbra Streisand! -- her voice, which is supposed to be the greatest gift since gold, frankincense and myrrh, is like nails on a chalkboard, and ever since I was a child, I cannot stand to listen to her.

Huey Lewis & the News -- retro-smug corporate pop -- ugh.

Kenny G -- 'nuff said.

I second BG's choice of Kiss. Arrogance crossed with lameness.

Britney Spears -- once she lost her jailbait appeal (which I never got anyway, I don't find ignorant trash attractive), there was nothing left.

Frankly, I have no problem with Gloria Estefan.

Sal Nunziato said...

First I'd like to say--I have never understood Bowie-bashing. Not enough room here for my defense...just saying.

My choice for suckiest big time star EVAH--Mary J. Blige! Respected across the globe as one of the greatest R&B singers, she is perpetually flat and horrible. Has anyone really paid attention? Aretha, Gladys, Irma...would never have been caught dead singing as poorly as Mary J. Dreck. She couldn't carry a tune if it had handles. Really the worst ever and people LOVE her. Why God why?

steve simels said...

I ditto Sal on Mary J.

Didn't Chris Rock cite her as basically the greatest thing since sliced bread in his latest HBO special last weekend?

I remember thinking -- wha????????????

TMink said...

Chicago? Have you heard their first four albums? Dude, they rock hard and consistently have the most interesting horn arrangements on any rock music. Now if you are talking about "If You Leave Me Now" and that sort of treacle, right on!

It is funny, I have none of the featured artists music, and I concur with Steve about their triumph of something over substance, but I am most happy about having none of their music!

My mom was HUGE snob, and I have eschewed snobbery with one exception: music. I do not tolerate shitty music. Not having any of the artists makes me feel superior! Ashamed to say it, but there it is.

Maybe that is why I was so offended by including Chicago among the dross.


Anonymous said...

sorry trey, Chicago is BORING...

Anonymous said...


FeralLiberal said...

Any number of inexplicably popular '80s Hair Bands.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Man! I pity the bands that get on Simels’s last nerve – even Mencken would be cheered by those skewerings. My own problem in naming names is that even the suckiest bands have more talent than I do (and I curse the gods that made this so). But I have to say Come Sail Away by Styx seems pretty unforgivable. There’s this inoffensive keyboard intro and then it’s just “Gawd! What IS that voice and why is it amplified?” Maybe Styx did something else of merit but I could never bring myself to listen after hearing Come Sail Away.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Ozzy and Black Sabbath (but I hate metal in general)

Harry Chapin


Anonymous said...

joan baez
judy collins
john mayer
spice girls
ted nugent

Anonymous said...

Richard Marx
Phil Collins
ditto on Chicago ech!

Harry Chapin? c'mon...

Anonymous said...

Limiting it to "mega" acts only:

- Garth Brooks
- Dave Matthews Band

Not unlike a certain Alaskan governor, whatever appeals to the multitudes escapes me.

MBowen said...

Crosby, Stills, and Nash: fit only for occasional back-up vocals for Neil Young; otherwise fit only for guitar roadies for Neil Young.

Radiohead: Yeah, I'd be miserable too if I had that eye thing going on, but still, I wouldn't take it out on the rest of the world.

The Grateful Dead: I don't care how many drugs you take, if you can't play "Not Fade Away", you suck.

Pavement: The only band whose entire career came with ironic air-quotes.

Wilco: Every time I listen to these guys, I forget that they're playing 2 minutes later.

Phish: See Wilco.

Donovan: Yeah, in his heyday he had a couple of cute hit singles, but if you're looking for intelligence or depth, you're better off with Herman's Hermits.

Peter, Paul & Mary: The original Monkees, with lousier songwriters.

Henry Rollins: His adolescent attempts at profundity weren't that interesting in 1982. They're a lot less interesting 26 years later.

Jeff Buckley: A sly one - he pretends to be singing to all the vulnerable girls in the audience, but he's actually leaving with the Eurotrash model with the big bag of coke.

Devendra Banhart: The Incredible String Band sucked the first time around.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Janet Jackson.

Anonymous said...

The Boston Red Sox!


steve simels said...

Well, it's official -- mbowen is way more cynical than I've ever dreamed of being.

Dude, seriously I kind of agree with most of your assessments, but Jeff Buckley -- sheesh, you have a heart of stone.

LP Steve said...

Out of long habit, whenever I go to a new record store, or one I haven't been to in a while, one of the first things I do is see if they have anything by The Fall. Now I have to be circumspect about that, out of fear passersby will think I'm checking out the works of Fall Out Boy. Just one more reason to despise that little turd of a band.

billy b said...

I actually like Oasis. Yeah, they're assholes and it isn't cool to like them, but that don't confront me none.

I like lots of guitars.

For crappy bands, Stynx is high up on the list - talk about bad singers, DeYoung is at the top of the list.

Anonymous said...

Not a single vote for Jefferson Starship? (And I adore The Airplane).
I have a higher tolerance for 70s pap than I used to - (I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused) - but my disdain for Billy Joel and The Eagles remains inviolable. And Motley Crue remain the Worst Rock Band Ever. -
bill buckner

steve simels said...

Bill Buckner:

I'm an Airplane fan too, and I agree on Starship, who I think I once categorized as the most unconscionable sell-outs in rock history.

But you know, they're pretty much relegated to the dustbin of history, doncha think?

steves said...

Yoko Ono.

'nuff said.

midnight caller said...

Billy Joel. The ultimate hack.
Kenny Chesney. The Jimmy Buffett wannabe.
And while we're at it, Jimmy Buffett.

The Eagles.
John Mellencamp, the greatest diluter of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, next to Billy Joel.

LaVinyl: said...

i read you fer the last 7 years,
gimme 3 minutes to change your life
2008 modern past band
i be the guitarist

steve simels said...

May I just go on record as saying that I don't really get the Billy Joel bashing?

Seriously -- I've never owned one of his albums but there are any number of his songs that when they come on the radio I don't change the station.

Thank you.

Noam Sane said...

Does that include "It's Still Rock & Roll To Me"?

John Mayer. He is the Elton John of the future. Trust me, he'll never go away.

..and the Indigo Girls, pioneers of granola-oriented rock, who are so incredibly tortured by their superior intellect and/or sexual predelictions (which are still useful for marketing, of course!).

A year ago I'd agree with Wilco, but they're starting to wear me down. I think Tweedy is batting around .250, but so's Jason Giambi, you know?

Anonymous said...

I second the motion for:

Styx esp. deyoungs voice

Dave matthews Band - I am so lucky to live here is MA where DMB tribute bands PACK the f--cking bars...


Billy Joel and Tom petty I have a love/hate thing with - every song I LOVE it or HATE it, no middle ground. HATE:

free falling - last chance for maryjane - still rock and roll - only the good -pressure - allentown - OH FORGET IT.

steve simels said...

John Mayer is clearly a hell spawn.

Just saying....I don't know why I didn't include him and that fricking "Your Body is A Wonderland," which is probably in my top five songs that make me want to take a hostage.

Liesl said...

Bob Seger makes my skin crawl.

Steve Miller must have blown someone to get on air.

Buns & Roses.

Jethro Tull (while admittedly not wildly popular) proves that flutes should be banned from rock 'n roll.

I will take Wilco, early-era Billy Joel and CSN&Y? c'mon...Helpless?
I'll take them off your hands.

NYMary said...

Thers assures me, steve, that had you been just a bit younger, you would hate Billy Joel with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns. For him, Piano Man and Scenes from an Italian Restaurant were drunken frat-boy anthems which cause his throat to close to this very day. Of course, he went to Stonybrook, but didn't you, too? So you know the environment and what music like that might accomplish there.

And I will side with billy b, my giant friend, on defending Oasis. They wear their Beatles influence proudly, and the marriage of trip-pop and early 90's alternative sensibility may be a "you had to be there" sort of thing, but I respect Noel Gallagher as a writer, even if I can't understand a damn thing he says.

(And yes, blogger, I am me, and I've been trying to comment on this post for two days, you sack of decroded crap.)

dave™© said...

Hey Steverino - speaking of the Airplane/Starship, thought you might like this shot of Kantner doing his daily hangout at Caffe Trieste in North Beach.

He looks older than YOU!

billy b said...

So anonymouse doesn't like Petty or Johnny Cougar?


While I am a much bigger fan of TP, Mellencamp is an exceptional songwriter with the Americana influences.

All of anonymouse's taste is in his mouth.