Bands and artists I should like, but I don’t.Posted: July 30, 2013 Filed under: "It Seems To Me" | Tags: music 7 Comments
I tumbled onto this great discussion at Rock and Roll Tribe. Stan Schweiger’s columns are always worth a read, and this one is no exception: “Bands That I Should Love. But I Don’t.”
There is a group of bands that I should just out and out love, but for whatever reason, they have never risen to the lofty heights. Not that their stuff ain’t all that, because many time it is It is not that I don’t like them, but they remain “just friends.”
You knew I was going to jump on to this one with both feet. It’s hard for me to think of a band or an artist whose songs, ALL their songs, I categorically dislike. Even the dreaded Styx have one good one, anyway. There are a few artists and bands that initially left me cold, but that I’ve grown to like quite a lot: Talking Heads and Prince are two examples. Likewise, there are bands I was crazy for when they burst on the scene, but over the years we drifted apart: The Doors, The Eagles, and Lynyrd Skynyrd spring to mind.
So I had to think long and hard to come up with artists and bands who I categorically Do Not Get, Even Though They Broke New Ground. I don’t hate these performers: I just have little patience for them.
Blood, Sweat, and Tears: As a high-school band geek in the ’70s, it was required that we all liked the horny bands. Chicago is the one everyone thinks of: I liked them just fine until about 1976, when their songs took a disturbing detour in the direction of Manilow Village. Tower Of Power are the cream of this particular genre. But Blood, Sweat, and Tears are the worst. All their songs, “I Can’t Quit Her,” “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” “Spinning Wheel,” “And When I Die,” “Hi De Ho,” “Lucretia McEvil,” sound way too forced and are too cute by half. And David Clayton-Thomas has this bull-moose-in-heat voice that makes Meat Loaf sound like Robin Gibb. Speaking of whom:
The Bee Gees: Yes, I know they’re Geniuses Whose Music Defined A Generation. They still sound like The Singing Mice. As I observed once, falsetto is like horseradish: a little bit goes a long long way. All their best songs have been done better by others: “I Started A Joke” by The Wallflowers, “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You” by Moxy Früvous, “More Than A Woman” by Tavares, “To Love Somebody” by The Flying Burrito Brothers and later by Blue Rodeo. Did you know Otis Redding wrote “To Love Somebody”? Bet he was sorry he gave that one up. (ADD ON EDIT: My bad. Otis Redding did NOT write “To Love Somebody,” Barry and Robin wrote it, in hopes of getting Otis to record it.)
The Sex Pistols: Yeah, yeah, set the template for punk. They’re still unlistenable. Someone once said they’re like The Ramones’ dim-witted cousin that you have to be nice to because he’s related. The Clash and The Jam and Buzzcocks deserve the punk template mantle.
Alabama: I know they’re a mainstay of new country music, which is like being the smartest kids riding the short bus. They did more to emasculate country music in the ’70s and ’80s than anyone besides Kenny Rogers.
Dave Matthews Band: Idoan geddit, and I never will geddit.
Toby Keith, Mariah Carey, George Michael: Further elaboration would be unnecessary.
How about you? Any bands or artists that are supposed to be your fave raves, who just aren’t?
Oooh – great question! I agree with you that there are very few acts that I can’t find at least one song to like (including the whole corporate rock REOJourneyStyxForeignerWagon tribe). I also share your thoughts to a T on the Eagles, Doors, and Sex Pistols. I’m not convinced that anyone should like Mariah Carey or Alabama. ;-}
So, to lay my soul bare and risk the scorn of the interwebz here are five of mine.
1. U2 – Early stuff isn’t bad, but somehow I just never got it. Good politics, boring music.
2. Sting – I still enjoy some Police tracks, but his solo stuff is smug beyond enduring. Also one of the worst live shows I ever saw.
3. Radiohead – LIked the first two albums but don’t care if I ever hear them again. After that, it’s all one big WTF for me.
4. Fleet Foxes – Indie darlings who reinvented folk? Not so much. Precious, fragmented and overrated.
5. Mumford & Sons – Sorry, but I think they’ve recorded one song with a WHOLE bunch of titles. I liked it the first time.
There you have it…
Robert, I’m with you 100% on Fleet Foxes. I appreciate Radiohead but I don’t necessarily like them. U2, it seems, are riding on their reputation: they haven’t really had any new ideas for years.
I have to confess, though, I like Journey quite a lot.
I used to really enjoy Journey. I had a roommate in college who pretty much poisoned them for me, along with the other few bands I smushed into that unfortunate label. The power of external forces! (I can’t listen to Tom Petty because a friend got assaulted during one of his shows. Not Tom’s fault, but there you have it.)
Yup, I agree. I still hold a categorical disdain for “Southern rock,” e.g., Skynyrd-Allmans-Marshall Tucker-Molly Hatchet-et al, because of a dimwitted roommate who played them and NOTHING ELSE. I’ve come to appreciate the Allmans a bit more though.
PINK FLOYD – They usually show up in the “People who bought this, also bought this…” category for me. I love British rock and pop. I’m a big fan of The Beatles, The Who, Queen, XTC, The Smiths, The The and many more. I’m usually drawn by pop, metaphor, psychedelic-style, progressive stuff but PF just leaves me a little cold. I don’t get it. Flying Pig, shave your eyebrows, walking Nazi hammers. What?
LED ZEPPELIN – Similar to the Pink Floyd answer. I play guitar and I’ve played Zeppelin covers before in bands. I’ve heard the radio-friendly songs. This should tell you something: I’ve been playing guitar on and off since the late 80s and I’ve never bothered to learn “STAIRWAY”.
THE ROLLING STONES – I apologize to my wife, my brother, God and Obama. This, actually, is the same as the others but to a lesser degree. When I was a child, I loved Brown Sugar, Get Off Of My Cloud and, again, have covered Honkey Tonk Woman so many times. I can honestly say that I haven’t listened to a complete Stones album all the way through. (except for maybe when my wife puts one in the CD player during a road-trip, but we all know that you have to make concessions when on the road with small children going to see family, right?).
PEARL JAM – Meh. This goes into that category for me as well. IMO, the music isn’t memorable to me or exceptional in any way. Pearl Jam has a giant following (a la Grateful Dead) that is more of a deterrent for me. Think “Kiss Army” or Dave Matthew’s Band fans. For whatever reason, millions of rabid fans make me think that it’s no so exceptional.
Pearl Jam has two or three songs that I think are exceptional. But, then again, so does Kenny Loggins. Hardly enough to award them “icon” status.