Friday, December 02, 2005

Battle of the Bands

A friend of mine who shall remain nameless, came up with this story, which I thought was absolutely brilliant. I had to share this with all (both?) of you:

I am interested in the success of bands like Nickelback, and others like them regardless of genre. Not in the way the millions of people who inexplicably purchased their albums are interested; presumably they appreciate the music. No, it is a wonder of biology that a human can squat over a cd and leave a steaming pile of turdsong; I am interested in how bands, Nickelback for example, achieved fame crafting such shit songs. Not since Train’s 2001 single, “Drops of Jupiter”, has a song caused me to wince to the degree Nickelback’s latest fingernails-across-a-chalkboard, guy-snagging-his-balls-on-top-of-a-chainlink-fence effort, “Photograph”, does. Very nearly was I the first person in history to throw up through his ears after hearing that melodramatic, turgid mess[1].

Equally nauseating is the gravitas with which this soulless band announced that they are straight up hard rock, not post-grunge. Wow. Thanks for the clarification guys. How stupid of me to overlook the fact that there are many kinds of dogshit. I certainly do not wish to diminish your effort by assuming you simply add lyrics created from the Magnetic Poetry Word Magnet set on the studio fridge, to the generic guitar chord scheme you used for all previous songs and share with 3 Doors Down.

Never having been a musician, I have no appreciation for the creative process involved with making music. Obviously the music produced by Nickelback and the rest of Satan’s house bands – Creed and the aforementioned 3 Doors Down (with apologies to all death metal bands out there, the Dark Prince more effectively possesses your soul if you listen to this crap, than if you listen to songs singing his praise) - comes by way of much blood, sweat and tears, and not squeezed from the giant pus-filled pimple found on the ass of their respective record companies. Of course, I could be completely wrong about the process. It may be as simple as the long black fingernail of His Dark Majesty scraping this song smegma from the foreskin of his festering cock.

So, with the creative input from Hell’s recording industry firmly established, we should examine how this music actually gets to our ears…

The Clear Channel Communications empire – with over 1,200 “listening outposts” in 247 of the 250 largest US markets – currently orbits the earth in their Death Star, destroying entire radio markets with their powerful song-repeating beam. Effectively, this beam - capable of shooting over a wide area, say the United States, a concentrated stream of mind-numbing songs, repeated hourly – saps an individual’s willpower to discover new music. For those of you who doubt the weapon’s effectiveness, I present the Billboard Top 10 Albums (week of November 26, 2005):

1. Kenny Chesney, Road & The Radio: Gay cowboy music. Every genre has its pop music and country is no different.

2. Various Artists, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ [original soundtrack]: Is anyone else bothered by the fact that 50 Cent looks like he plucks his eyebrows?

3. Various Artists, Now, vol. 20: This series’ popularity is baffling. Franz Ferdinand fan absentmindedly picks up the disc, probably horrified to see one of their songs included, then decides it must not be so bad since they included The Pussycat Dolls.

4. Neil Diamond, 12 Songs: Really no complaints here. Not a devoted fan but I give credit to anyone who is still popular after nearly 40 years in the business.

5. Nickelback, All The Right Reasons: Ah yes. Why we are here. I have yet to meet anyone who has admitted owning this disc. I’m sure rockin’ out the fuckin’ house as only “Gimme My” Nickelback can or, slutting around your bedroom pretending to be Britney Spears’ (or worse, Janet Jackson the Floppy Meatbag) is exciting, but if you are reduced to smuggling those respective CDs into your home like they are copies of “Little Boy Blew [Me]” or “Prison Rape: A Photographic History” then you probably shouldn’t waste your money.

6. Black Eyed Peas, Monkey Business: Classic case of a band who use to make good music until they taste enormous success and the dull hand of the record company executive vanilla-izes their creativity. Whitey strikes again.

7. Floetry, Flo’Ology: Have not yet heard this album, but their past work earns them a free pass.

8. Santana, All That I Am: “Now Sucks Due To My Temporary Insanity During Which I Agreed To Collaborate with The Crown Prince of Bland Music, Rob Thomas” is probably how the full title of Santana’s latest should read. Don’t get me wrong, Santana is a very talented musician, but Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty?! I have not seen a more unfortunate pairing since Alois Hitler and Klara Pƶlzl (and if you cannot figure out what they produced, please step in front of the next bus).

9. Destiny’s Child, #1’s: They are certainly atop one of my lists.

10. Kelly Clarkson, Breakaway: I won’t deny her ability to sing, but if songs of this sort by artists of this ilk were released without the massive support of record companies’ publicity departments would anyone ever notice? Many artists like this succeed because they are rammed down our throats, rather than on pure merit.

There are a few other notables in the Top 25 – Mariah Carey at #15 (so terrible that she was actually paid $23 million to NOT make music); Ashlee Simpson at #16 (do I really need to comment on this?); and the aforementioned Pussycat Dolls at #21 (Do we really need another group of pretty girls pretending to sing crap music? Didn’t N’Sync fill that role?).

Yet, after all that, I know this rant is an exercise in futility. Next month there will be another gob of thick mucous sliding down the Billboard chart; American Idol will continue churning out warm bodies for network holiday specials and anthologies filled with songs already covered 5,768 times; and Nickelback will release their next hit, “Try To Ignore The Fact That This Song Sounds Exactly Like The Others, Only Worse (If Such A Thing Is Possible)”.


[1] Fear of legal action due to unauthorized reprinting of lyrics prevents me from listing a sample. That and fear of my legs involuntarily kicking my own ass.


Rev. Smokin Steve said...

Los... I hate it when you mince words. I didn't get to experience how you truly feel in this post. Now stop holding back your emotions and tell us what you really think.

Jeff said...

Jeez, where to start?

1. Truly interested in the success of Nickelback (etc.)? Study marketing in b-school.

2. "Nickelback" is a terrible name for this band. It should be "Thousandback," because that's what it'll take for me to buy any of their CDs.

3. The words from "Drops of Jupiter" curiously fit into the music from "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," and vice-versa.

4. Kenny Chesney = gay cowboy music: thanks for the disturbing image of George Michael wearing chaps and spurs.

5. Pussycat Dolls are why God invented the "mute" button on the remote. Seriously, they'll be back to their Las Vegas burlesque act within 2 years.

6. Rob Thomas is the Crown Prince of Bland Music? Meet King Mark McGrath.

7. Kelly Clarkson: destined for career-saving Playboy appearance within 5 years.

8. Mariah Carey has worn much more revealing clothes ever since "Glitter." Coincidence? Who cares.

9. If you think Nickelback's songs all sound the same, you haven't heard Boston or Everclear (the band, not the grain alcohol, though both cause blindness and liver damage).