FAIL: The Temptations, Roger Waters, Fred Schneider
If you're reading this, you're either on the Internet, or else you've mastered multi-dimensional thought-projection processes that would make Michio Kaku cry like a little girl. We'll assume the former, and just in case you don't already know, the Internet has decided that the word "failure" is too long by three letters. You are now only allowed to say that a failure is, in fact, a "fail," or else you have your Internet license revoked. All caught up? Great! Here are this week's most monumental fails from within the music community.
The Temptations - Yes, The Temptations - Are Using Auto-Tune: The Temptations just released their new album Still Here, and for those of you wondering how they're holding up, the answer is: Badly. First off, for some reason they've elected to have their album produced as if it were a Jodeci LP from 1989. If you're around 30 years of age, you'll recognize that electronic R&B whistle that became such a cliché Bone Thugs-N-Harmony finally started incurring fines for overuse. So the production style is terrible, but at least there's no Auto-Tune, right? Oh Lord, do we ever wish we had better news for you. The Temptations do, in fact, use Auto-Tune on one song, the abominable "First Kiss." Rocks Off has so much respect for the Motown greats, but we can't pretend this didn't just happen. Auto-Tune is meant to correct pitch problems in mediocre vocalists, so that they go from sounding like an off-key human being to a note-perfect robot. The Temptations don't need it; even after all these years, they can still sing their asses off, so there was no other reason to include it except for the fact that some studio jerk-off told them "Hey, it's what the kids are doing" and kept after them until they capitulated and agreed to use it on one song. Possibly as an act of defiance, they used it on the song that may have the worst lyrics on the entire album. The lyrics come across like your granddad bugging some pretty girl in a bar and offering her a night out with an old-fashioned gentleman. He's trying to recapture his youth, and she's wondering what it is about her that always attracts the geriatrics and vowing to go get a makeover first thing in the morning. The whole thing is monumentally unpleasant, and when the next track "Shawtyismygirlooyeah" started up, FotW kind of wanted to die. You can listen here, if you're trying to work up the nerve to drown yourself.
Roger Waters (Sort Of) Defaces Elliot Smith's (Sort Of) Memorial: Ever read a story that made you wish a meteor would streak down from the sky and incinerate everyone involved? Well, here we go! This week, Roger Waters began promoting his nostalgia tour for well-to-do Baby Boomers wealthy enough to lay down a car-note payment on tickets to a show wherein they will witness an old man fail to sing musty hits from the days when he was in a completely different vocal register. This is a very popular thing among Boomers, so in order to promote his upcoming "The Wall Live" tour, he combined two of the Boomer generation's favorite things: Viral marketing and guerilla street art. Sure, ask your parents, they love that shit. Anyway, Waters paid well-known L.A. street artists to go around tagging the city with a stencil of a soldier holding a child and an anti-war quote from Dwight Eisenhower. Really, it doesn't seem like the kind of sentiment Elliot Smith would have minded, but that didn't stop his fans from throwing a cacophony of tantrums once they discovered that one of the many places Waters' army of graffiti goons had tagged was the wall on Sunset next to a restaurant called Malo that has become an unofficial memorial wall for fans to scrawl words in honor of Smith - sort of a Wailing Wall where people mourn the guy who scored Good Will Hunting. Waters apologized, and let everybody know he was unaware of the wall's significance, had nothing to do with its selection as a target in the first place, and even had his minions use a kind of wheat paste instead of paint to make all of the tagging more temporary. Don't expect any of that to matter to Smith's fans, though, who have been painting Waters as some kind of evil corporate Antichrist all week. We suppose we shouldn't be surprised that fans of Elliot Smith's would react with melodramatic hyper-emotion, but really, all this amounts to is some old guy painting a temporary anti-war slogan/viral ad over an impromptu monument to a less old but much deader guy. Nobody should care about this. We're sorry we made you read about it just now. Honestly, if Smith's fans want to find a more useful whipping boy for their anger, they should go after whoever painted that goddamn UPN logo on their wall. Now THAT is tacky.
Fred Schneider Cannot Compete With... The B-52's?: Here's one that's pretty funny, but really quite unsurprising, when you think about it. Unlike Rocks Off, B-52's lead singer Fred Schneider had no luck with the popular karaoke video game Rock Band. Apparently, he tried it out recently and got booed off the virtual stage while attempting to sing his own band's hit song, "Love Shack." Cute, but really think back: Fred Schneider has never been able to sing. As far as we know, he's never even tried. His vocal style is to simply yell the lyrics out with his own unique, sassy inflection, and kudos to him for making it work for so long. In Fred's defense, we're going to guess he was just fine emulating his own vocal parts in "Love Shack," but when it came time to actually sing the hook, Schneider undoubtedly had reinforced what he's known all along: He's no Kate Pierson, who the B-52's stuck in the mix whenever they needed actual singing done. We would suggest that if Schneider tries Rock Band again that he sticks to artists more suited to his shouty, atonal vocal style, like The Ramones or maybe The Hold Steady. Win of the Week: Both Primus and The White Stripes are getting back together. Oh hell yes.
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