Fails Of The Week: BBC 6 Listeners, Whitney Houston, Rolling Stone And MGMT
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.
Photo illustrations by John Seaborn Gray
Let's Face It, Kids: Democracy Does Not Work: Ever been to a bar with one of those Internet-capable jukeboxes where people could download nearly anything they wanted to listen to? If so, then you know what always winds up getting played on those jukeboxes: All the same crap you'd hear if you turned on the radio. These idiots you're for some reason legally prevented from murdering have been presented with the freedom to explore, the freedom to share lesser known acts with the other drinkers, and have chosen to give those freedoms the middle finger and play Puddle of god damn Mudd (who are at House of Blues Sunday if you'd care to judge for yourself). Well, a similar principle went into BBC 6's recent poll for "Best Guitar Player of the Last 30 Years," a time period which has included not just Van Halen and Dream Theater, but also Robert Randolph, the Reverend Horton Heat and Queens of the Stone Age. None of those guys even placed, because the yahoos who took the time to vote have never heard of them. They have, however, heard of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, an act who, 16 years ago, released exactly one album worth listening to from start to finish and have spent the rest of the time spewing California-fellating pop vomit so bad it actually makes us dislike funk. So that's the story of how John Frusciante won the award for "Guitarist of the Last 30 Years According to People Who Don't Particularly Care About Music." You guys are just wasting your freedom, you know that, don't you?
Getting Older Is a Bitch (and So Is Crack): Aging is rough on everybody. Even Roger Daltrey can't hit that high "YEEEAAAHHHHH!" in "Won't Get Fooled Again" anymore, and Led Zeppelin has finally had to tune their instruments down as low as Black Sabbath to match Robert Plant's lowering vocal register. There's really not much one can do to reverse the process, but you know what probably doesn't help? Smoking tons and tons of crack.
As you can see in this video, poor Whitney Houston is lucky to even catch a glimmer of her former vocal ability, and what effort she does put forth quickly wears her out. Her story is one of the saddest in all of music; she was huge back in the day, on top of the world, and then she got completely ruined by fame and the guy who sang the theme song for Ghostbusters II. Sad as it may be, Whitney is no longer too hot to handle nor too cold to hold.
Now you know why so many singers shoot up; it's easier on the vocals than smoking, and dying at 27 helps with the whole aging thing.
Four Reasons to Stop Reading Rolling Stone: ...and all four reasons are right there on the cover and go by the name Black Eyed Peas. "40 Reasons to Get Excited About Music" is a great concept for an article, but to immediately hamstring this idea by expecting people to believe that the Black Eyed Peas are one of those reasons is just lunacy.
The Black Eyed Peas belong on a list of "40 Reasons to Pour Drain Cleaner In Both Ears, Just to Be Safe" and the list would just be songs they've released. We don't even care what the other 39 reasons on this list are; just by having the Black Eyed Peas on there, Rolling Stone has rendered it entirely irrelevant. They're so bad, we won't even eat at the completely unrelated Black Eyed Pea restaurant anymore.
Getting excited to hear music by the Black Eyed Peas is like happily marking off the days until you're executed in the same way William Wallace was. That Rolling Stone thinks they're somehow connected to the rebirth of rock and roll, as opposed to what's slowly choking it to death, just shows you that Rolling Stone is run by demons who are intentionally trying to poison your culture, as we have suspected all along.
MGMT: "Sorry Our New Album Sucks": But they're not, not really. MGMT's new album, Congratulations, was obviously made to drive away as many fans as possible. Nirvana did a similar thing with In Utero, turning out an album full of intentionally dissonant, weird material to attempt to shrug off their status as one of the hugest acts of their generation.
Problem is, Nirvana were always a fairly artsy rock act, so when they tried to be difficult, it just made their material better. MGMT were an act known for their fun, party-friendly dance-rock that one could jam to while having a good time. Releasing an album of spacey surf-rock with no clear radio singles is pretty much the opposite of the whole point of the band. Even though, despite their best efforts, Congratulations isn't completely terrible, but it's still not much fun, and sorry, but we can't be blamed for hoping for a fun summer album from MGMT.
Besides, we're just sick to death of bands who get big and then suddenly decide they never wanted popularity. Well then what the hell were you performing for? If you don't want people to like your music, just don't release any. There's no need to make intentionally bad music; we have more than enough of that already. We understand not wanting your three huge singles to follow you around like Jacob Marley all your life, so here's an idea: Try to outdo them.
It might not work, but at least you'd have the self-satisfaction of knowing you never gave up and took out your anger on the very people who made you rich and famous in the first place.
Win of the Week: The new LCD Soundsystem album is streaming on their Web site, and unlike MGMT, the Soundsystem have no problem continuing to release party-worthy, ass-shaking music.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.