Friday, July 31, 2020

Weekend Listomania: Special "Nobody's Perfect" Edition

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental Pandemic Princess Fah Lo Suee and I are off to the president's Mar-a-Lagofuckyourself resort to shoot several holes of golf while unmasked. Could be a hot one!

That being the case here's a fun project to help us all wile away the idle hours until our return -- assuming we're not hospitalized -- on Monday:


No arbitrary rules whatsoever, you're welcome very much, but if you nominate Rod Stewart, who went Full Bullshit in the mid-70s and never came back, I will come to your house and smack you silly.

And my totally Top of My Head Top Five is:

5. The Ramones

Yes, they're the greatest, but not to put too fine a point on it, literally everything on that psychedelic covers album they made... utterly awful. Both conceptually and in execution. And they made several other dog albums.

4. Billy Joel

I became a sort of Born Again Billy Joel fan after seeing one of his Madison Square Garden shows a few years ago. That said...

...if you didn't want to hunt him down and kill him after the first time you heard this song, there's no hope for you.

3. Stevie Nicks

Great with Fleetwood Mac, considerably less so on her own.

Just like a white winged dove my aunt Fanny, babe.

2. Patti Smith

I have loved this woman since before she made her first indie single back in 1973, but boy can she be pretentious sometimes. And in the case of this little ditty from her second major label album --

--- in need of somebody to say to her, uh Patti -- what the hell are you thinking?

And the number one great artist with an unfortunately high percentage of bovine fecal matter is:

1. Joni Mitchell

Let's just say that Joni's good stuff is out of this world, but that a lot of the self-important humorless crap she's been responsible for over the years is frankly impossible to ignore.

Seriously, you would need a heart of stone not to laugh at the unintentional silliness of the above.

Alrighty then -- who would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!


geor3ge said...

I keep thinking Dylan's "Murder Most Foul" is what Joel was trying to say in "We Didn't Start" only he never had the lyrical sophistication.

steve simels said...

Geor3ge — that hadn’t occurred to me and you’re absolutely right.

The Kenosha Kid said...

King Crimson - there is a pony under there, I swear

The Fifth Dimension - Marilyn McCoo could really sing!

ABBA - because shut up that's why

Mark said...

In order to achieve a high level of bullshit, you have to work hard, you have to be wildly popular, you have to spell artist as a-r-t-i-s-t-e, and you have to have a long career. You absolutely nailed it with Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Patti Smith, and Billy Joel, but these folks took themselves seriously, and sometimes fans did as well. And still I have a grudging respect for Joel and Smith. I would feel the same about Joni Mitchell, but every woman with a guitar at my college wanted to be Joni Mitchell, while I wanted them to be Dorothy Moscovitz or Tracy Nelson. It's bad enough to suffer for your art. But to suffer for the art of others?

The Ramones? Who took them seriously? You have to work harder than they did to be rebels from Forest Hills! And that was part of their shtick.

To me, the decline of Jefferson Airplane into later iterations is infinitely richer in BS than any of these artists.

Alzo said...

As has been noted many times, "We built this city on rock and roll" is the most pretentious bullshit ever.

THAT Patti Smith song is a superb number if you subtract the lyric (yeah, yeah, I know it's about outsiders- but, still). Reminds me of the times I had to mollify people about rockers using the swastika mearly for shock value-- not worth the aggravation.

Anonymous said...

I thought you would be going for more of a guilty pleasure vibe. the joni rationale could be applied to literally every artist forever.

edward said...

Just for the double layer of irony, I'll add anything Spinal Tap did after the Black Album. Once you become what you are making fun of you are wallowing in it.

John F said...

As much as I love them, R.E.M. seems to fit. Their bullshit goes in a couple problematic directions: 1) self-consciously goofy "fun" (e.g., 'Stand' and 'Shiny Happy People' - both of which I can sort-of like, at the right moment); and worse 2) self-conscious "message" songs (e.g., 'World Leader Pretend' and 'The Wrong Child' off of Green, my least favorite of their early career albums). Strangely enough, one of their best songs ('It's the End of the World as We Know It') has a bit of both goofy and message to it. I guess I'm willing to ignore some failed experiments to get to the successes.

U2 clearly also has some issues here, too - although it's their "important message" bit that becomes problematic - I can't think of a single song where they were self-consciously goofy...

GLLinMO said...

I assume we all know of the great late Lester Bangs quote regarding messages....

- gotta nominate Green Day. I don't mind a message, but at some point it approaches hypocrisy.

Not saying shut up. But open up.

Phil Cheese said...

I absolutely love The Moody Blues but they sure could smother their songs in conceptual goo at times with lines like "with the power of 10,000 butterfly sneezes" and "I never thought I'd live to be a million."

big bad wolf said...


excellent list.

i assume the marvelous ms. smith was influenced by the Mailer essay that even when they made me read it in college in the late 70s i was appalled by.

the world moves on and i grow old, but one of the most mystifying things about the rearranging pop.rock canon to me has been the overpraise of stevie nicks. her solo albums, so i read here and there, were powerful statements. i think not.


pete said...

People are gonna have their noses open about this but ... Warren Zevon.

I mean. "Accidentally like a martyr"? Really? Each of his albums contains AT LEAST one overwritten howler like this.

Gummo said...

Anybody who doesn't love that Ramones covers album takes themselves WAY too seriously.

Alby said...

Billy Joel committed many sins worse than "We Didn't Start the Fire," which I took to be a novelty song in the vein of "Life Is a Rock But the Radio Rolled Me."

niko said...

This is rock n roll folks, pretentiousness is part of the landscape.
You can talk about most of prog rock but I just say "Their Satanic Majesty's Request"