Five Bands I Should Like, but I Don’t. At All.By Joe Daly
April 26, 2010
De gustibus non est disputandum.
Even before I became a Latin major in college (another in a long and colorful string of jackass moves by yours truly), I knew what this sentence meant. It basically means “there’s no accounting for taste.”
From my earliest age, music has been manna for my soul. It has been one of the primary platforms where I relate to the world (and to myself). From my first album (Glen Campbell, “Wichita Lineman”), to my first concert (Aerosmith, 1984, Worcester, MA), through tens of thousands of LPs, cassettes, cds, MP3s, concerts, shows, festivals, mix tapes, radio stations, etc., right up to the last time I played guitar (twenty minutes ago), music has accompanied me in virtually all endeavors, big and small. As I compose this article, I am listening to the album “Wrecking Ball,” by Dead Confederate.
For every trip I’ve taken, there has been a corresponding mix. Every relationship, an artist. I have go-to albums for every mood, and to this day few things excite me more than making a mix for a friend. My tastes, like Tiger Woods’ girlfriends, are all over the place.
Just like some people have a workout regimen or a dietary regimen, I have a music regimen. It is the method through which I absorb music. And now, in this very piece, I shall reveal it to the world! How stoked are you? (You should know that right now, I’m picturing that television special from a few years back where the magician in the wrestling mask exposes the trickery behind the illusions of other magicians. Only unlike him, I don’t have two scantily clad identical twins here to help me unveil my music regimen. I do have two dogs though. They’ll have to do.)
First are the magazines- I read Classic Rock (for the in-depth artist biographies), MOJO (each issue features one artist, current or classic, along with other well-categorized reviews of new artists and reissues), UNCUT (same as MOJO, with a ridiculous amount of albums reviewed), Revolver (for metal), Q (great UK industry-centric mag, which unlike our Rolling Stone, does not put reality TV stars on the cover). I also read Hammer (a metal mag suitable for a 13 year old, which some have alleged to be an accurate assessment of my emotional age), and SPIN (I have written for them on occasion, and SPIN is the best American mag in the bunch because it covers more up-and-coming artists than any other mainstream magazine).
I buy these in one fell swoop at a newsstand and dedicate a couple weeks to reading them. To be sure, they are dense with musical minutiae. We’re looking at a couple thousand album reviews, plus all the biographies, updates, albums revisited, etc. As I go through each one, I circle anything that interests me (album, song, or artist) and fold the page at the top. After a couple weeks, I have a stack of dog-eared magazines, which I heave over to iTunes and pull up the music on all the folded pages. The iTunes album previews help me see just how close the reviewer was to describing the actual music. When I hear a new band that I like (or an old band I’ve missed), I download the song or album, and then put the new music into mixes. The mixes accompany me on drives and runs for the next couple of months until I repeat the process.
Then there are the live shows I attend, the recommendations from friends, the concert DVDs, YouTube clips posted on Facebook, and music television dealios that cross my path on a regular basis. All are great sources through which I find new music.
Because I’m a guitar player, and often too impatient to sit down and learn the newer stuff, I revisit lots of guitar-heavy rock when I’m sitting around the house playing. Most of my classic rock listening is done with a guitar on my lap.
So what works for me, musically? Almost everything. Well, I should say that good songs work for me, regardless of the genre. My first true love is the sound of loud, crunchy guitars. Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Metallica, The Stone Roses, and Clutch capture this sound perfectly for me. I also love many sub-genres of punk and metal. Really good hip hop blows my mind, and I will always be a sucker for a pretty folk song. I admit to enjoying catchy pop songs with lots of hooks, and I also listen to old school country, reggae, blues, and some house and techno. When you love music, a good song finds you and kisses you right on the soul.
What does my soul like kissing? While there are no right answers, music that really inspires me tends to make me want to screw, dance, cry or punch someone. There it is. While music certainly evokes many other emotions in me, those are the four parent categories. Does this make me a musical neanderthal? Probably. But I’m OK with that.
With all this legwork under my belt, there are some well-respected artists I just don’t get. I don’t relate to them even though rock critics, friends, and advertisers tell me that I should. I have tried to intellectualize how and why this is, but as many have said, “writing about music is like dancing to architecture.” I cannot explain fundamentally why these artists don’t spark my pilot light. For some reason, accomplished and beloved as they may be, I find that I don’t relate to their music on any meaningful level.
When caught up in a discussion about such an artist with a fan, I am invariably called a hater, a contrarian, an idiot, or some other name that the other person needs me to be in order for their identity and ego to remain intact. But these people miss the point- I’m not denigrating their icons, nor am I suggesting that the artists suck on any level. I readily acknowledge that these artists are important on a personal and social level to legions of music fans across time and space. I just don’t dig it.
Make no mistake- I admit that I’m a music snob, and I happily embrace the role of hater for loads of music out there (I’m talking to you, Scott Stapp and Lady Gaga). But there are a lot of artists whose talent I can acknowledge without relating to their work. To that end, where I don’t care for an otherwise legendary artist, it is not my character defect that these artists do nothing for me. Apologizing for not liking these artists would be like apologizing to the girl at Coldstone Creamery for not liking her strawberry swirl. It ain’t personal, baby.
If these bands mean something to you, I respect that and am not trying to convince anyone that they are anything but great. These are simply the opinions and experiences of yours truly. Please forward all complaints to Brad Listi.
With that being said, and with my crash helmet on, here are five artists/bands whose music is beloved by most, but who make me want to listen to something else:
Let’s just get this out of the way first. More than any other band that I don’t like, I have invested more time trying to convince myself that I am missing something with The Beatles. This is the only artist that makes me think I might have a problem for not digging their sound. But try as I have, I just can’t make the connection.
I started working in a warehouse when I was 14, where we would basically unload huge eighteen wheelers full of Levi’s jeans, and spend hours mindlessly sorting them in cold, subterranean storage rooms. It was only through classic rock that we did not all go mad. Alternating between Boston’s WAAF and cassettes we’d bring in, The Beatles were on steady rotation. I just never found myself getting excited when they came on- I found that I didn’t even really focus on the music when I’d hear them. At least not like I did when someone played The Who, Zeppelin, The Stones, The Doors, or other bands from that general era. My friend Rich was one of those Beatles fans who wore the John Lennon pins and who would occasionally stop unpacking pants to cry a little bit because a Beatles song was so pretty. He was the first person I encountered to become truly enraged with my refusal/inability to embrace The Beatles.
I admit that there were times that I simply adopted the persona of “The Guy Who Doesn’t Like the Beatles.” I wasn’t interested in liking them and I enjoyed telling Beatles fans that I found their passion meaningless. But then I grew up and realized that was just my ego at work and that to deny such a titanic and influential body of music did not make me punk rock, it made me dim-witted. I understood that I needed to give the Beatles an honest-to-goodness chance, and I surely did. I listened to all the classic albums- Rubber Soul, Revolver, The White Album, Sgt. Pepper, etc. I read a ton about the Beatles so I could place their music in context. I talked to friends about what their music meant to them and why. But to this day, I still don’t perk up when I hear their music.
I acknowledge that they were great lyricists. I readily admit that they broke ground and paved the way for much of today’s music, reaching into virtually all modern genres. I do not suggest that their music is in any way bad. It is certainly melodic, creative, and I love the blues base beneath so much of it.
Still, I just can’t get there from here. I do like the song “Revolution,” as well as a couple other of their tunes. But as a whole, I cannot say that there’s much about The Beatles that does anything for me. And before you try to pin me down, yes I understand that many of the music that I do like is influenced by and/or direct rip-offs of The Beatles (much in the way that they were influenced by and are a direct rip off of Muddy Waters and other American blues artists).
Instead I like: Oasis, The Stone Roses, The Jam
I just don’t get these guys at all. More than any artist on this list, Rush does nothing for me. It might have something to do with Geddy Lee’s voice and his semi-intelligible lyrics. I understand that these guys are to prog-rock what Sabbath is to metal. But that and a token will get me on the subway.
Neil Peart is pretty amazing. I love seeing his solos on YouTube, with his four thousand piece drum set. I’ve also read quite a bit about Rush and how they came to record the music that has made them legends. Rush is one of those bands that the hardcore music snobs that I know seem to universally embrace. In fact, some of these people would give me a harder time about not liking Rush than not liking the Beatles. But nothing about Rush inspires me. Maybe it’s the profligate use of laser-like sound effects (like rocking out to a video game), or maybe it’s simply the whole Canadian thing. I just don’t get it.
Instead I like: Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Dead Confederate
The Velvet Underground
I begin yawning as soon as I hear someone even mention this band. Look, I get it- experimental, the whole New York thing, Warhol, Nico, art married with music… Maybe it’s just the seriouser-than-thou posturing of Lou Reed that turns me off. I will say that artists (and people) who take themselves too seriously enjoy precious little time in the sunshine of my love. But the de-tuned, lumbering beats and spacy “melodies” of the VU don’t really speak to me, although like The Beatles, there are a couple their songs that I don’t mind.
But here’s the thing with “experimental” music. By definition, an experiment anticipates failure. Often it is only through a combination of repeated failures that the experiment can be truly successful. This is pretty much how I view the VU- a body of work that continually fails to affect me, with a few successes mixed in to show that the experiment works.
Instead I like: R.E.M., Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Hip hop is not an area of expertise for me. In fact, I know precious little about the whole hierarchy of rap and hip hop sub-genres, the subtleties of sampling, the East Coast v. West Coast thing, etc. But I do enjoy the thump of a good bass line, and bizarrely, when I’m playing drums at home, I often play along to hip hop/rap. Perhaps because it’s easy, but I like to think it’s because I like the way the grooves roll.
With all the reading I do about music, I am mildly surprised that Jay-Z is not on Mount Rushmore. I recall reading about his “retirement” in Rolling Stone (canceled my subscription when they put the werewolf teenybopper heartthrob from Twilight on the cover), and it being positioned as if the world needed to take a day off to absorb the shock. Friends told me he was the ultimate MC and the greatest rapper ever. I decided to investigate.
I found him to be just OK. Were it not for the high pitched crack in his voice, I would be hard pressed to pick him out of an auditory hip hop lineup. In fact, the only times I found his music to be at all interesting was when it was mashed in with another great album. A friend gave me a cd called “Jay-diohead,” which is a mash up of Jay-Z and Radiohead. Now this I liked. At least a couple songs. But standing alone, I find nothing groundbreaking or exciting about Jay-Z or his music.
Instead I like: Public Enemy, Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., Beastie Boys, Quarashi
I could break down a catalog of reasons why I don’t care for Dave Matthews. His voice stands first and foremost. It is completely affected- sounds nothing like the way he talks. I know, Jeff Buckley didn’t talk with a falsetto and his music was still great. But it’s different with Dave Matthews- he makes his voice almost cartoony. Which makes a lot of the lyrics sound unintelligible, and that becomes a barrier that I have to then overcome if I’m going to relate.
I agree that his band is phenomenal and he has created a sound that is truly his own. But try as I have to listen to his music and hear what so many people love so much, I have come up empty. His flavorless jams sound as interchangeable to me as a handful of pennies. When I hear Dave Matthews come on, time slows to a crawl as I bathe in exquisite agony, waiting for it to end. He is perhaps the only artist on this list for whom my dislike is active.
Instead I like: Wilco, Clutch, The Rugburns, The Red Hot Chili Peppers
There it is. Talk amongst yourselves.
I can’t stand the Beatles. Hot damn, I hate that band. Rush, too, although disliking Rush seems more popular than liking them, if you know what I mean. Jay-Z? Silly, silly man…I listen to his music and it kinda makes me giggle…I want to ask him, “Really? Really, dude? Are you sure that’s how you want your rhymes to go?” I would, however, swap your Velvet Underground (like them) for Led Zeppelin (loathe them). As for the Dave…I have no feelings, one way or the other. A bit like toast: it’s bread, and it’s there, sometimes, and not there, other times, and I never seek it out, but at least nibble a slice when it comes with brunch.
The thing I like most about music, in general, is that even more than books, most of us have a “should” and “shouldn’t” list. The guilty pleasures, secret anthems, and hated songs that top everyone else’s chart. Alongside my “should’ve read” and “should dislike but think is wonderful despite being drivel” reading list, my list of music with which I have a complicated relationship is long, long, long.
Glad I’m not alone! Glad you mentioned guilty pleasures, as well. It would be fun to do a whole piece on guilty musical pleasures! First thing I thought of was this moment a few years ago, when my buddy and I were driving along and the song “Everywhere,” by Michelle Branch came on the radio. Neither of us said anything for a minute as I drove and he looked out the window. Then I hesitantly turned up the volume juuuuuust a bit. He looked over at me, and I began bracing for the worst, when he said as seriously as a heart attack, “Dude, I’m so glad you turned that up. I really, really like that song.”
I’ve been seeing someone about two months now and we’re making hot and heavy inroads toward sharing music…but…on our third date, he plugged his iPod into the car stereo and started flipping around playlists, couldn’t pick anything and hit “shuffle”, then got all shy, flipped to soft jazz, and declared we were “not yet at the total random stage”. What if a song came on that prompted me to judge?
Very cute. And, very true! Not that I would indeed “judge” but that music creates an impression that’s tough to shake.
That’s hilarious! Yeah, some songs rightfully earn immediate judgment, depending on the listener. My ex-girlfriend purchased hellacious amounts of disco (which I use to describe any dance music at all, such as Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, etc.). So having my entire library on my iPod, occasionally someone will scan through the iPod and shoot me a sideways glance before asking how much I’m enjoying the dance remix of “Toxic.” Explaining the situation makes me sound even more guilty. My favorite response in this situation is to not even look at the person, while saying “shut up.”
When cornered, you can always blame your iPod on someone else, haha. Like, a massive playlist I downloaded while working online one night. I got so excited about a story coming together, I gapped out and stopped paying attention to what was playing…that is, until I suddenly shook it off, listened up, and was like, “What the…?! What’d that guy just say?”
Turns out I had Lil’ Wayne on repeat, shouting about picking up the effing world and dropping it on your effing head. Yikes! My kitten was cowering all small and puffy, like she wanted to solve the mystery of why I was allowing this voice to shout such awful things over and over and over and where was this mean, loud guy’s voice coming from anyway?
Horrible and strangely awesome. Lil’ Wayne: topping my list of “shouldn’ts but do” since February 2010.
The Beatles are most important for their implications, not the music itself. That is, they were important because of what their music and image was by 60s standards, not ours.
Though, in my opinion, the music is good. Catchy. Viral, even. And wildly diverse. Arguably perfect pop on any number of levels. A soundtrack for Western Civilization for 50 years. Which is pretty goddamn impressive. I mean, they’re a cultural beacon for a huge portion of the world.
As for Oasis as “instead.” Mmm. Hmmm…well, I’m sure that one Gallagher brother would stand behind your decision 100%.
Honestly, though, I love the Beatles. Your indifference stings. I will wound you back as follows:
I feel nothing at all for Jimi Hendrix. Not a thing. My heart is stony, my soul utterly immune to his music. Has been that way since high school. Academically, I understand his importance. I can see why someone WOULD like him. Me? I could care less. Just no interest at all.
On the upside, I agree about Rush.
@Becky- Jimi Hendrix! This whole thread is wounding me. Hahahaha. I’m with you on the Beatles.
While we’re clearing the air, I also feel nothing in particular for Soundgarden. And my enjoyment of Pink Floyd comes and goes, but aside from the occasional nostalgic fit, my overwhelming opinion of them is, “Meh.”
Great. You’ve wounded Brandy too. Does your vitriol know no end?
Funny about Pink Floyd. I was listening to them two nights ago through big spaced out Bose headphones. I thought, “these guys are great. Why don’t I listen to them more?” Then I started listening to them the next day and thought, “oh yeah,” before putting something else on.
Yeah. I don’t know. I was into them more consistently when I was more consistently stoned.
I’ve found that my interest in The Doors has similarly cooled, likely for the same reason.
My interest in the Doors waxes and wanes – usually depending on how much time I’m forced to spend around hardcore Doors fans. There more I have to listen to them yapper on about them – Morrisson, specifically; Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore always seem to get short shrift when it comes to the drooling accolades – the less inclined I am to put on a Doors album.
Case in point: I was at a party last October where this drunk girl was going on and on about how she’d fucked Jim Morrisson in a previous life. I haven’t felt the urge to play their music since.
I was nuts for Morrison in middle and high school. I have The Doors movie on VHS (only and still), I had the “American Poet” poster in my room, all that stuff. Uberfan. Total teenage idol worship. Really embarrassing shit. Especially since he was a whole other generation’s idol.
If you could find any of my old notebooks from then…scrawled Doors lyrics over and over instead of an original thought…
Maybe I burned out on The Doors early. Either that or it reminds me of being a idol-worshipping teenager. Which is sort of an awkward thing to revisit. Maybe it’s not him. Maybe it’s me.
Though I definitely overestimated his lyrical abilities back then . That has turned out to be a bit of a disappointment when I’ve tried to rekindle my appreciation.
He’s really not the greatest writer. He’s just really, really fuckin’ high all the time.
“Liar” and “Higher?” I think Ed Sullivan was trying to do him a favor. P.U.
Wait a minute…did he even write that song?
Anyway. My point stands.
Word. The Doors were my first musical obsession. Starting with the first time I read “No One Here Gets out Alive,” I was off and running. Became an absolute Doors maniac and for years, listened to only them. Then like you, I burned out at some point. I think I moved on to The Who and never looked back.
I did read something a year or so ago that revisited Jim’s last days in Paris, and which seemed to answer a lot of the mysteries that shrouded his death. Amazing stuff and it caused me to remember just how spectacular Jim’s story is.
Also know loads of people who can’t stomach The Doors at all. I still think John Densmore and Robby Krieger never got the due they earned.
There. We agree on them, too. Love ’em. Pete Townshend is my guy.
Speaking personally, I always thought Morrison was utter shit as a poet. And not the greatest lyricist, either – too inclined to let the words of his influences stand in the place of originality. I find myself at times wishing I could strip the lyrics and just listed to the music.
But when they were on, they were FUCKING on.
Well said. I think that he was almost too smart for his own good. Somehow his lyrics translated well musically, but on the page, not so much. Maybe he had to keep it simpler to fit his words in the context of music? Even his lyrics are pretty complex and intense tho.
Great voice, and very cool that they recorded most of their albums without a bass player. I think L.A. Woman was the first album with a bassist.
I was thinking on my drive home, the one band that doesn’t get enough credit for its stellar lyrics is Counting Crows.
I understand how potentially dangerous it is for me to say positive things about Counting Crows in the company of self-declared music snobs, but I stand by my assertion. Say what you will about Adam Duritz’ funny hair and arguably grating voice, but his lyrics border on the literary often. They’re not my favorite band on the whole, but I am rarely disappointed–with the exception of the “sha na nas” and “uh huhs.”
“Stepped out the front door like a ghost into a fog…” etc. Is usually what I cite as my favorite opening line of any song ever.
Not sure if you’ve heard of him, but The Tallest Man on Earth has some pretty cool lyrics. And I greatly enjoy his music too, which doesn’t hurt.
I can’t believe you up and wounded me like that! Ouch… Jimi had a great soul. And I LOVE that he played Sgt. Pepper only three days after it was released, before some of the Beatles and a gang of rock royalty on his final UK show before heading for the States. Bad ass.
I’m so sorry.
If it’s any consolation, please know that I am withholding my feelings about Radiohead in an effort to protect you.
Incidentally, I once saw Dave Matthews at the airport in Atlanta. He was wearing a lime-green polo with something spilled on the front. It was in his slightly pudgy days. He was chased down by a fan lady who was pushing a stroller, and he stood there talking to her and playing peek-a-boo with her baby and taking pictures for at least 10 minutes. I was too mortified to interrupt, but I stood there, watching this exchange.
I decided that, regardless of the legions of frat boys who so infamously hijacked his music, he is obviously a really nice guy.
When Under the Table and Dreaming came out, there was absolutely nothing like it on the radio. I loved DMB for a long time, mostly, I think, for the elaborate instrumentation and complex arrangements…the lyrics are decent, too…then he was suddenly being associated with this preppy douchebag demographic and I became embarrassed to admit how much I liked him.
I am reclaiming him now. Filing him alongside Rufus Wainwright and Paul McCartney under “SuperBusyAwesomeness”
Ohhhno. I adore the Beatles. I agree with you on Dave Matthews though. Bad 80s music is my guilty pleasure (I’ve danced around in short clothes more than once to 99 Red Balloons). I think you need to burn me some music. One album I’ve been sending everyone lately is ‘Ghost Dance’ by The Pine Hill Haints.
There’s something about bad 80’s music that screams “AWESOME.” I have a cover of “99 Red Balloons” on my iPod, although I don’t recall dancing to it in skimpy clothing.
The Pine Hill Haints? Hmmm… I can see I’m going to have to break out a pad to start noting the recommendations we’re going to see in this thread. 🙂
I’m sure you’re going to get a lot of suggestions.
And PINK FLOYD–you haters. 🙂 There has to be a tort that covers this…. Hahahaha. I took a break from studying for finals only to be traumatized!
No, I like Pink Floyd! But then my enthusiasm wanes. It’s weird.
I hear that Roger Waters is going to put on The Wall again, live. Full on super fancy techno groovy special effects thingie. Now that will be something to see!
What? Hey! Come on!
It’s the BRMC thing, isn’t it?
JD, I’m not surprized that our music research regimens mirror each other, save for a few different music mags and the fact that I use Rhapsody as my go-to library. In your honor I even fired up Dead Confederate and streamed Wrecking Ball as I read your piece. As for your conclussions, I’m 4/5 with you. Six months ago we would have matched 100% but that’s when I re-visited Dave Matthews. A good friend in Chicago leads a killer DMB cover band (Trippin’ Billies) and seeing them play live inspired me to take a second look. Then I saw a 5-part rockumentary on the making of DMB’s latest album (“Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King”) and was blown away; Dave says it’s their best album. I agree that Dave’s lyrics take on an interesting texture live, but let me humbly request that you check out the track “Funny the Way It Is” and see what it does for you. Great piece….keep writing my friend.
Brah, no surprises on the parallel tastes. I would figure that if we parted ways on one of these artists, it would be Jay-Z. You never backed down from some jumpy hip hop- I always envied that.
Whenever I think about the DMB, I recall the story from a few years back when their tour bus was in Chicago and stopped on the metal grates of the Kinzie Street bridge, and emptied the septic tank, covering a tour boat sailing underneath the bridge with the shit of Dave Matthews. Classic!
You know me well; I’ve never turned down an invitation to karaoke a bit of Salt-n-Pepa but I’ve never understood the rap piety status of JZ. Question, what bands do your dogs like?
Cabo, the golden, likes Norah Jones, Belle and Sebastian, and Teenage Fanclub
Lola, the coyote, likes Los Lobos, Skynyrd, and Brujeria.
I had to interrupt my reading to quote this paragraph:
“When caught up in a discussion about such an artist with a fan, I am invariably called a hater, a contrarian, an idiot, or some other name that the other person needs me to be in order for their identity and ego to remain intact. But these people miss the point- I’m not denigrating their icons, nor am I suggesting that the artists suck on any level I readily acknowledge that these artists are important on a personal and social level to legions of music fans across time and space. I just don’t dig it.”
This screamed out at me. I feel like I could insert many potential topics in place of music, ie. politics, food, clothing….. This sentence managed to put me into some sort of zen state that I’ve been lacking.
Now back to the music.
I agree with you on the Beatles. I’m not a fan, although, I do dig a lot of their music that was reproduced by other artists. Which I find a bit odd. But somehow the Beatles not performed by the Beatles works for me.
VU, Rush, Jay-z…..I can’t even name a song by any of these guys, so I would say they do not kiss my soul.
Dave Mathews. I’ll tap my foot to a few of his songs, but I’m not letting him kiss my soul.
>.I agree with you on the Beatles. I’m not a fan, although, I do dig a lot of their music that was reproduced by other artists. Which I find a bit odd. But somehow the Beatles not performed by the Beatles works for me. <<
Yes! That’s it! You’ve summed it perfectly- for reasons as illusory as cold fusion, Beatles by non-Beatles can sound really, really good.
Now I’m resentful towards you for saying what I meant better than I did. 🙂
Aw, and just when I found my zen, the resentfulness comes out.
Did you somehow make my Pandora begin to play the Beatles? Seriously, Oh Darling began playing a few seconds after reading your comment.
Remember that one time at that bar in Boston? I thought you and Bill were going to come to blows! Beatles vs. Led Zeppelin. Congratulations on that take down!
For me – Led Zeppelin blows, as does Dave Mathews. Rush – no. I’m pretty sure there are about 100,000 rock nerds who just adore these guys, and everyone else is firmly in the WTF corner. I couldn’t tell a Jay-Z from a J-Lo. Music is just so visceral. I suppose it’s that way for everyone. Who wants to work to like something?
There truly is no accounting for taste. Glen Campbell? 😉
P.S. I’m really loving the new Peter Wolf. It’s like “Sleepless” part deux.
Terri Gross just interviewed Peter Wolf last week (I think it was new), and I was reminded of just how money he is. Now there’s a guy who just sticks to what works for him- doesn’t change things to get commercial, but he allows his style to organically evolve. Seeing him live at Schuba’s is a personal concert highlight.
P.S.S. “When you love music, a good song finds you and kisses you right on the soul.” <— love that.
Dude, I can’t believe you tackled this topic! I love it though. And I love that fact that people will hate you for what you say about their “favorite” music.
I think you know where I stand on music. Although, I will admit there are some pop tunes with the hook that treat me like a fish on the line. Can’t get that hook out of my head sometimes and for some reason I like it. It’s like a reese’s peanut butter cup to me.
And I agree on some points below.
1. I am with with you on 4.5 out of 5. I like the old Rush. Not all of it, but a decent amount. The new stuff makes me fall asleep and want to drive an ice pick into my ear canals.
2. I too like Oasis, but not the Beatles. How weird.
3. DMB, I would like him to be on a boat in the Chicago River and have his tour bus drive over the bridge and unload the crapper on him and his voice.
4. Rolling Stone – Did I ever tell you why I will not buy that anymore? Has nothing to do with the fact that Heidi and Spencer can make their cover. It all started with one of their best guitar player rankings. Let’s just say that Jack White (Jimmy Page cover boy and all around hack) was rated as number 1. That did it for me.
5. Great article dude. Keep writing.
Yeah man, Rolling Stone ranking guitar players is like Rachel Ray ranking best ab workouts.
Rolling Stone has this little cadre of artists who can do no wrong. To wit: Kings of Leon, Jack White and any of his projects, Eric Clapton and The Strokes. Any of these artists could record a belch into a soup can and get at least four stars and a review that describes them as “vital,” “important,” and/or “relevant.”
>>The new stuff makes me fall asleep and want to drive an ice pick into my ear canals.<<
And from an old school shredder and luthier as yourself, that speaks volumes!!
Yeah dude, I like to rip it up every once and a while. (Tried to knock a wall down in my house on Saturday with my Marshall and rebuilt Kramer – now a Frankenstrat look-a-like.)
You do realize that you are going to get a lot of posts on this right? And I’m coming back to read them. You picked music to write about and people are ferocious when it comes to saying anything bad or critical of “their” band.
And why do you hate Canada so much?
I like ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and sometimes ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’ and that’s about it. Much more into the Stones and Zep.
“might have something to do with Geddy Lee’s voice?” Yeah I hear that. Blarrgh.
Tom, of those three songs, I don’t mind the first, but the other two don’t really do it. I remember being back in grade school, seeing a school chorus sing “Strawberry Fields,” and having a crush on one of the girls singing it. So for a couple weeks, it held a fleeting place in my 12 year old heart. But that was about it.
Amen on Geddy Lee! I should qualify though, that I enjoyed his collaboration with Bob and Doug McKenzie on the song “Take Off!” So in that special and limited jokey context, I could briefly stomach his ear-splitting whine. Sorry, I’m gagging again…
As far as your comments concerning The Velvet Underground, all music is experimental. So your argument for not liking them because you think they’re an experimental band is baseless. I don’t care if you like them or not but if you’re going to call yourself a writer and a guitarist, then come up with something better than that. Especially if that experiment turned out to influence every single band in every single rock genre other than Heavy Metal. Oh wait, they influenced those guys too.
Your other arguments further show that you’ve probably never listened to them more than a few times. They rarely, if ever, de-tune their guitars. Ok, maybe for some strange solos but that was mostly John Cale’s doing early on. Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison wrote very straight forward rock songs influenced by R&B and Country.
As for taking themselves too seriously, I can’t even think of a song that takes it self too seriously. In fact most of their songs poke fun at the scene they were part of and the people that were in it. Lou Reed may not be that likable but don’t just hate VU because he’s turned into a the epitome of a swarthy pretentious little New York bastard.
It’s supposed to be about the music, right? So what the hell are you talking about?
Yes! I was waiting for a real fan to come out. Look, as I explained, I don’t relate to their sound. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters to me.
I disagree that all music is experimental. Much is formulaic. And I think that’s OK too, if the artist takes the formula and expands on it. But no, not all music is experimental.
>>Lou Reed may not be that likable but don’t just hate VU because he’s turned into a the epitome of a swarthy pretentious little New York bastard. <<
You definitely hit on something there for me. OK- give me a VU playlist and I’ll give them another listen. Assume that I’ve been exposed to their most popular stuff, so point me in another direction and I’ll give them another shot. I can’t promise anything.
And I call myself a writer because I write, and I call myself a guitar player because I play guitar. What I enjoy reading, writing, playing, and listening to has no bearing on those truths.
Well aren’t you diplomatic?
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH JOE DALY? 😉
The real Joe Daly is still full of sarcasm, outrage and snarky comments- he’s just trying something new for awhile.
After 20 years or so of feeling utterly ambivalent about the Beatles, I’ve lately found myself starting to enjoy their music, though it’s strictly a small doses thing. Putting on Rubber Soul or Revolver for a spin usually takes care of my Beatles listening needs for at least a month.
I continue to remain ambivalent about Rush. I saw Jay-Z perform once or twice at the nightclub I worked at in New Orleans. Never cared much for his music but his live performance was stellar. His fans, however, were deeply annoying, and while this is a shallow thing to say, obnoxious fans can kill my interest in an artist much faster than any flaws in the music.
Which was kind of the issue with DMB, now that I think about it. Like Becky, I’m finding a resurgence in my appreciation, which had faded after the music had been coopted by the Abercrombie & Fitch-wearing set.
The artist who I do not get, not one single iota?
I guess that’s one of the awesome things about the classics- if they truly are timeless, then maybe the time will come when you start listening to a band you never liked. Certainly the case with Metallica for me.
It must have been a trip seeing Jay-Z live. That would be something I think I’d like to see- especially in a nightclub.
>>His fans, however, were deeply annoying, and while this is a shallow thing to say, obnoxious fans can kill my interest in an artist much faster than any flaws in the music. <<
Sad but true! But I find that when this is the case for me, I just don’t tell anybody I’m listening to them.
Heh. Like everyone who came of age musically from 1991-1993, I had a copy of Metallica’s “black” album. But that’s the only one I’ve ever really cared for, and I haven’t listened to it in six or seven years, and feel no urge to. Haven’t even uploaded it to my iTunes.
Jay-Z live WAS interesting, not the least of which was because he had actual backing musicians on stage with him. Most of the hip-hop acts who performed usually did so to a backing track, and little else–some of them *coughSnoopDoggcoughcough* even using a prerecorded backing vocal. It was interesting to see hip-hop performed with live instrumentation.
When it comes to the offputting fans, it’s only artists I’m on the fence about that does it; if I’m already invested in something, I’ll listen to whatever I want to, and not give a crap what other people think. But take someone like the Strokes, for instace: when they first started getting big I was passingly interested, and decided to see them live (upside to working in a nightclub: lots of free shows). The crowd was comprised entirely of hipster douchebags, and it really, REALLY put me off to them.
Forgot to mention on my previous comment. I’ve just gotten into BRMC in the last month or so, and cannot believe I haven’t been listening to them for longer. I made a point to pick up a copy of their new one during my Record Shop Day expeditions the other week.
Have you ever been to Graceland?
Because if not, that’s why you don’t like Elvis. Just saying.
Me? I love the man. Couldn’t say why. I’ve tried to articulate it before with questionable results. It’s a mixture of nostalgia for a 50s/60s stereotype and amazement at his cultural influence and staying power. And probably also a fascination with his mega-crazy, mega-huge, mega-southern personality/persona.
It’s tough to separate the man from the music from the legend from the history from the legacy from the cult of personality. My appreciation for Elvis Presley is wrapped up in all of those things together. He had a pretty great voice, too. I tend to get into voices.
I just think he’s great. And not too bad to look at, most of the time.
I’m an Elvis guy, mainly because of what he represented. He had great songwriters and a killer band. I can’t imagine anyone really relating to Elvis, although his songs (written by others), were easy on the ears and had a little something for everyone.
Becky’s dead on- tough to separate the legend from the music.
I don’t know. I sort of relate, but not directly as a result of the music. After I visited Graceland, I became moderately obsessed and read a bunch of books about Elvis, including the one Priscilla wrote. His story is pretty sad, actually. And not just in the standard, “that’s-too-bad-that-he-died-on-the-crapper” way. Like, he turns out to be quite likable. Kind of an antihero.
Consensus seems to be that he was an uncommonly sensitive, really old-fashioned guy. Messed up by his own fame and, like any proper rock star, he drugged himself to death to escape the ruin he made of his life and how far he got from his ideal for himself, despite his outward success. Especially interesting is how much loyalty and respect and love he seemed to inspire in people close to him, even in spite of his 10,000 pounds of crazy. Really a very, very interesting person, just in general, and certainly as far as cultural icons go.
Gotta weigh in here on Elvis. I adore Elvis. He had great songwriters, yes, but he made those songs his own with his voice. Becky, I completely agree with you on the above. He seemed to be eaten alive by his own fame (maybe like Judy Garland, or other actors in the all-powerful studio era) and having been to Graceland twice myself, I found it interesting and a little sad. He had no real blueprint for handling the level of fame, adoration and wealth he achieved, and ultimately, no one to trust to help him.
Anyone who doubts his stage presence and magnetisim needs to watch footage of his early days on the festival circuit and the ’68 Comeback Special.
We had an Elvis impersonator at our wedding. Yes, we got hitched in Vegas, and yes, there was a fun, kitsch factor to having Elvis at our Vegas wedding, but it came from a place of true admiration of him. Our Elvis impersonator was pretty good – we selected “It’s Now or Never” for after the walk down the aisle; “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” for the middle of the ceremony; and “Viva Las Vegas” (of course!) immediately after the ceremony.
Cheryl, I raise my fist in TCB solidarity.
Let the haters hate. It’s too late for them to do anything about it. He’s Elvis. Uh huh.
The kitsch quality of Elvis nostalgia has largely consumed the memory of his actual talent in much the way his skyrocketing fame consumed the man, I’d say.
You’re the only one talking about his kitsch and how that’s all you can see and how much you hate it.
Cheryl and Joe and I seem to be pretty well beyond it.
Lighten up, man. Here. Take this. I googled it just for you.
I have been to Graceland. I went with my ex-girlfriend and her family in spring of 2005. I put on a polite face, but in truth I found it horrific. Like some sort of exercise in necrotic fetishism. Gaudy, and utterly tasteless. A lingering, and creepy, tribute to the lifestyle of excess that ultimately killed him.
>>Like some sort of exercise in necrotic fetishism. Gaudy, and utterly tasteless.<<
OK, now I’m confused. I thought you didn’t like Elvis. Wait- are you saying this is a bad thing?
Wow, Matt. Don’t hold back. That’s an awful lot of vitriol to aim at something that’s essentially harmless. You make it sound personal.
When it comes to celebrity excess, I think Graceland–and Elvis for that matter–is actually quite low on the scale. I mean, compared to most celebrity residences, Graceland is tiny. And he wasn’t exactly a sex, drugs, and rock and roll type. His addictions were primarily private, and centered on a self-perpetuating cycle of insomnia, maybe brought on by some kind of depression. I mean, this isn’t Motley Crue we’re talking about. His brand of addiction can be found in any given middle class household right at this very moment.
>>Like some sort of exercise in necrotic fetishism. Gaudy, and utterly tasteless.<<
LOL, Matt! Have you seen an episode (any episode) of MTV cribs? Seriously, Graceland looks like a quaint cottage, in comparison. Besides, it was decorated in the early 70’s. Wasn’t everything gaudy and utterly tasteless then? What’s the point of being a rock god if you can’t put green shag carpet on the ceiling for godssakes!
A friend of mine went to Graceland a few years ago and he said there was a blind woman working there. When he got to the Jungle Room, he leaned over and whispered to her, “You’re the luckiest person in this room.”
And Blue Christmas is my least favorite song ever written in the history of ever.
My two additional pennies on the King…
What Cheryl said.
The 70s. Elvis had shag on the ceiling and the whole world could count the wrinkles on Robert Plant’s penis, THROUGH his jeans.
I mean. Let’s not discriminate here. Everyone was tacky. EVERYONE.
I am with you on Elvis, Matt. I’ve been to Memphis multiple times and refuse to go to Graceland. My most egregious error yet, was doing Memphis radio to promote a show I was doing… and I made the mistake of mentioning that little fact on the air. The DJ and I had a pretty intense discussion about it and I held my ground. The phone lines lit up with people who haaaaaated me for it though.
As for DMB, I’ve equated becoming a non-smoker to liking Dave Matthews. I see the attraction and the theory is sound, but everyone else that does is it is pretty much a douche.
Oh, man. I’d love to hear a recording of that interview.
“From my earliest age, music has been manna for my soul.” Yes! Me, too. And that includes when I went through my Poison/Bon Jovi phase as much as it includes my much more sophisticated and obviously brilliant choice in music these days. (And if you get me drunk enough, I might still be apt to belt out a warbly version of “Livin’ on a Prayer.”)
“From my earliest age, music has been manna for my soul.” How beautifully, perfectly succinct.
I admit it: I got to the part where you said you didn’t like the Beatles and my first emotional reaction was offended. But then I was all, meh. ‘Cause I hate Sonic Youth. Like punching kitties hate. Vitriol. And I know on some level that for some reason I’m supposed to love them. People I love and who’s opinions matter a great deal to me love Sonic Youth, so I should, too! But I don’t. I really, really, really opposite of love them.
I do however love this post. 😀
Shit. While the manna line referenced above is good and all, I meant to copy this line for the beautiful/succinct comment:
While there are no right answers, music that really inspires me tends to make me want to screw, dance, cry or punch someone. There it is.
>>‘Cause I hate Sonic Youth. Like punching kitties hate. Vitriol.<<
This is so awesome I’d like to buy it an ice cream. I don’t have a strong opinion of Sonic Youth either way, but you clearly know where I’m coming from with the whole “I just don’t like your critically-acclaimed group!”
Thank you for bearing with me after The Beatles. Like you, so many people whom I respect as people and music fans adore The Beatles- I just can’t get there. I probably over-stated that I’m not knocking any of these bands, or trying to change anyone’s opinions of them, but merely describing my experience. Still, no matter how many ways you can try to say it, for some people, even the absence of adoration of their band is a supreme offense.
Thanks for the comments!!
Yeah, I saw Sonic Youth live in Chicago. Got free tix from a friend. I felt kind of guilty for taking the tickets because they just don’t do anything for me. I thought I would see them live and see if it changed my mind. It didn’t.
As the theme of Joe’s post goes, I felt like I *should* like them.
They didn’t make me want to punch kittens; I just kind of wanted to go to sleep.
Sonic Youth are one of those bands that I take on an album-to-album basis. For me, Daydream Nation and Experimental Jet-set, Trash & No Star are perfect gems, but things like Murray Street? Not so much.
I will say that there phenomenal the two times I saw them live.
Ack! “They were.”
Great stuff JD…I am on your side for the Beatles ( sounding like to a string of empty bean cans pulled after a mini ! or should I upgrade my music system? ) and pretty much the others also…Gotta tell ya I saw DMB in Amsterdam last Summer and the Music rocked although the Heineken may have helped that .Glad you mentioned his voice…it does get at me from time to time….Cath up again soon and thanks for your thoughts. jk
Thanks for the comments, Jim. Yeah, I’ve heard that DMB live is a spectacle. No doubt seeing him in Amsterdam was a trip within a trip!
Remember seeing The Black Crowes open up for Aerosmith in Stockholm? Now that was a show!
Take good care, amigo!
I wonder–are you more bothered by the relative ubiquity of these bands or actually by their music? I’m not sure what “not getting it” means. It seems as though you may be approaching the music of some of these acts with predetermined expectations.
You don’t get Jay-Z? Are you that white?!
Nevertheless, a fun read.
>>I wonder–are you more bothered by the relative ubiquity of these bands or actually by their music? <>You don’t get Jay-Z? Are you that white?!<<
Hah! Thanks for the laugh! I never thought about it, but all my friends who obsess over Jay-Z are white. I must be super, super white, bordering on milky…
Thanks for the comments!
I shall refrain from entering the how-can-you-not-like-the-Beatles chorus — my thoughts on that topic are explored in my novel, actually — but I will say this: Dave Matthews has no business on this list. If this list were the original Dream Team, Dave Matthews is Christian Laettner.
I read this right before going into yoga class, and it completely distracted me from my practice. Which is awesome. This line is fantastic:
>>If this list were the original Dream Team, Dave Matthews is Christian Laettner.<<
So, without any further ado, I’d like to invite you to play a round of “Complete That Metaphor!” with me. I’m interested in your musical equivalents of the following:
I know there were others on the original Dream Team, but five should be good.
And yes, Latin. Where classes begin at 8 a.m. and there are like four people in the class. Three of whom always did the homework.
So glad you got my joke! I’m always hesitant to make sports references, because you never know if people will understand them.
OK, been thinking about this for awhile now:
No explanation necessary. You don’t like the Beatles. I hated MJ. But both are still the best ever.
2. Barkley/The Stones
At times as good as MJ, and more fun…would be cooler to chill with. Never took themselves too seriously.
3. Bird/Bob Dylan
They both have their fans, but they’re too ugly for me to ever really get into.
4. Magic/The Who
Moments of pure brilliance. Not as good as #1, but close. Too much, Magic bus/Johnson
5. Patrick Ewing / Jimi Hendrix
This was a hard one. Both are freaks of nature…ridiculously long fingers…really really good at one skill (shotblocking/guitar), but at the end of the day, the body of work is not as impressive as the other names on this list…unrealized potential.
Oh my goodness. Way to bring it home! This is awesome!
1. MJ/Beatles- makes perfect sense. No matter what one thinks of either, they’re still regarded as the best, even though they’re gone from the game
2. Barkley/Stones- two fun and irreverent candidates. Both have their share of legal problems as well, and are no stranger to vice. Met Barkley once in a club. Could not have been cooler.
3. Bird/Dylan- seriously, did you come up with these off the top of your head? Because this is dead on.
4. Magic/The Who- did not see this coming, but I agree- when they were good, they elevated the game for everyone. Also, like Magic, Pete has been guilty time and again of speaking for long periods without saying a whole lot. Still, I love The Who. And Magic’s OK in my book as well.
5. Patrick Ewing/Jimi- I was wondering if you’d go with Jimi. Do you think Patrick dogged it, hence the unrealized potential? Jimi definitely failed to realize his prime. Love that both were known for the long fingers.
Well done and thanks for playing! ::golf clap::
P.S. I’m sort of bummed now that I didn’t mention Drexler or Mullin.
Thanks — it was a fun assignment…more fun that whatever Latin homework you might have been given, back in the day.
I went to Georgetown and was a long-suffering Knicks fan, so I know Ewing well (although he predates my time there). I don’t think he ever got to what people expected of him as the #1 overall pick that they created the lottery for…but it wasn’t his fault. He worked hard every night, every minute of every game…he just wasn’t as good as Dream or MJ (Dream = Coltrane in our little metaphor game). I didn’t appreciate him till he was gone. Bottom line, you’re not winning a ring if Ewing is the best player on your team.
And I’m very pleased with Bird/Dylan. I laughed when I thought of it, in fact…they do kinda look alike…
Drexler is the Beach Boys. For awhile people mentioned him in the same breath with MJ/Beatles, but after Sgt Pepper/whatever MJ’s equivalent would be, no fucking way.
Oh: you know who led the Dream Team in scoring? Barkley. Just like I’m sure Jagger would, in our metaphor game.
Growing up in Massachusetts, I remember Patrick Ewing well when he played in high school. He dominated the sports pages when he was at Cambridge Ringe and Latin. People spoke of his height with great awe, but I don’t remember much chatter about his abilities.
Great call on Clyde the glide- always smiling, easy to get along with- no strong opinions either way.
Barkley led the Dream Team in scoring? No way! That’s poetic. And yes, that would surely be Mick. Too bad Wilt Chamberlain pre-dated The Dream Team!
I vividly remember watching the Dream Team play their first game together. I had a smile the whole time. That was truly a special group of athletes in a very unique point in time. Thanks for the great stroll down memory lane.
“3. Bird/Bob Dylan
They both have their fans, but they’re too ugly for me to ever really get into.”
Oh my GOD! That was awesome.
Yeah, I was stoked Greg came in and finished the Dream Team. I was totally unprepared for how funny his responses were!
You are too kind…was a great assignment, as I said.
Sports/music metaphors always work. Even if someone is far more familiar with one than the other, he can have an inkling of understanding into the other. These were great!
Chris Mullin / Huey Lewis
Clyde Drexler / Lionel Ritchie
Justin: I was approaching it thus: if you start with Jordan/Beatles, you have to stick to coevals, so Huey Lewis and Lionel Ritchie would be the later “Dream Teams” that did not win anything. That said, those are both good choices for those players.
>>Justin: I was approaching it thus: if you start with Jordan/Beatles, you have to stick to coevals, so Huey Lewis and Lionel Ritchie would be the later “Dream Teams” that did not win anything. That said, those are both good choices for those players.<<
My own two cents:
Chris Mullin: The Police- “Oh yeah, that guy! Yeah, he wasn’t bad. Sort of unique look and style. Pretty basic, though. Seems like he played forever though.” Also, his off the court exploits paralleled the in-fighting between The Police.
Clyde Drexler: Eric Clapton- Sort of a watered down version of all the good elements of the starting five. Great role player, phenomenal talent, great to watch, but ultimately there were flashier, more exciting guys to watch.
I don’t listen to any of this kind of music.
I listen to doo-wop from the 50’s and 60’s and to Bob Dylan mostly.
I like listening to silence a whole lot.
When I paint, I play discs of thunderstorms, no music in there like the stuff they play when you are lucky enough to get a massage, just thunderstorms.
Thunderstorms are very soothing to the creative mind.
I wish I had something to say about this music you don’t like,
but I don’t like it either, so
I guess I have nothing to say today.
While I really enjoy silence, I have to say that I think thunderstorms are unoriginal and derivative and I think they ripped their sound off straight from the ocean. That being said, listening to thunderstorms does provoke at least one of my four key musical emotions, so I like them.
See – it’s like we’re musical twins!!
You don’t like the sound of thunderstorms??? I’ll show you derivative, you no-talent ass-clown!!!1
I’m so tired of everyone trying to tell me how vital thunderstorms are. I used to like thunderstorms back when they were in fashion, but I grew out of them one day when I was watching one- lightning struck, and like five seconds later, the thunder came in. Um, can you say “lip sync?” Thunderstorms are the Milli Vanilli of nature.
You’re clearly a snob when comes to appreciating the sounds of nature. Maybe if you weren’t so busy navel gazing with your ocean sounds you would appreciate the awesome power of the rotating supercell. One of these days when you least expect it, an EF5 tornado will play a one-night only show in your town and you will gain new respect for nature’s most powerful wind instrument.
You guys should go on the road!
I can see where thunder sounds like the ocean, but the rain and the wind together with the thunder, that there’s primal !
I mainly like the Beatles when their songs are chosen for movie soundtracks. It’s hard to beat Ferris Bueller singing “Twist and Shout.” Other than I’m sorta like you. They’re great. Meh.
And I used to pretend to like Rush because I was embarrassed not to. Then I grew a pair. I like the first side of 2112 but it’s not like I put it on all the time.
Greg is right about DMB. Not even worthy to be included.
Glad you mentioned The Brian Jonestown Massacre. And of course Radiohead is the best band ever, no?
Excellent article. I like a musician’s take on this. I feel strongly about music, being both a snob toward most current popular music and also having horrible guilty pleasures when it comes to the 80s. But, not being a musician, I usually feel underqualified to write about music.
Okay. I can’t stand it any more. I have to say it. I like Radiohead’s first two albums…The Benz and that other one.
I cannot fucking STAND them any more. College complaint rock. Palani loves them. In loving homage to “High Fidelity,” whenever he puts on Radiohead, I tell him he’s listening to old sad bastard music.
There. I said it. I hate Radiohead.
Combined with the Counting Crows appreciation and Elvis adoration, I’m pretty sure none of you will ever speak to me again, but I can’t live a lie.
I ignored The Bends, but when OK Computer came out, I was hooked. Then I went back to The Bends and loved it. Kid A was an acquired taste, but it didn’t take long. Hail to the Thief was the same. I think Radiohead is attracting a lot of the same backlash as U2- they become college radio darlings, get huge, critics love them, then they release something that sounds nothing like the stuff that made them famous, and it’s on like donkey kong.
I really dig Radiohead, but I get why others don’t.
I saw the Counting Crows live in a small private gig a few years ago. I was really enjoying it until… well, the last fight I got into was at a Counting Crows show and that’s all I’ll say about that. But they sounded great in their first few songs!
I agree with Joe. I can see why someone wouldn’t like Radiohead. Before I listened to them seriously I thought they were a one-hit wonder from the grunge 90s. In fact I arrived at Radiohead backward, coming from Montreal-sounding esoteric ambient and post-rock bands, so to me, in comparison, Radiohead with their normal-length tracks seemed like a made-for-radio band. Which they clearly are not.
I love The Bends all the way through Amnesiac, but the later albums I’ve been slower to appreciate. Mainly because if I’m going to sit down and listen to Radiohead I have four great albums to get through first, and that’s usually enough Radiohead.
Er. Yeah. The *Bends*. Google is good. Google is my friend. Should have looked that up.
I don’t know. I can’t really articulate what it is that bothers me so much about them, but on the whole, I just find them depressing. And for some reason, my brain has them filed under “Coldplay’s snobby hipster cousin.”
That’s funny. I always thought of Coldplay as “The K-Mart brand Radiohead.”
So we’re more or less in agreement.
Not snobby. Just better by many orders of magnitude.
>>I mainly like the Beatles when their songs are chosen for movie soundtracks<>And I used to pretend to like Rush because I was embarrassed not to. Then I grew a pair.<<
Well said, sir.
And so happy to hear someone else give a shout out to the BJM. I got into them after watching the “DiG!” documentary, and the more I listened to the albums, the more I loved what I heard. I finally saw them up at the Echoplex in L.A. a couple years ago, and true to form, they came on an hour late, dragging onto the stage in an obvious opiate euphoria, and then after the first song, Anton started heckling the audience. It was everything I could have hoped for.
And I would respectfully suggest that liking music is the only qualification one needs to write about music. While understanding how songs are constructed and played may give some insight into the complexity of a song, I think the important thing is how the music makes you feel.
80s guilty pleasures rule!
I also came to BJM through DiG! That’s awesome about you seeing them live. I love how Anton denounced the film and said it was all taken out of context and then they were late when you went to see them and he heckled the audience. That’s perfect.
I think my problem with writing about music is I have just enough understanding of the recording process that I want to get serious about it. But I have very little understanding of music theory and so I just come across sounding like I’m trying too hard.
Once I got into this huge debate in a music recording forum about “cold” digital recording a la Pro Tools versus the “warmth” of two-inch tape. I also wrote a hate letter to the editor of Sound and Vision when they published a masturbatory special issue about how awesome vinyl was, how “real” and “vital” it sounded, and then later in the issue they reviewed a USB turntable and commented how faithfully its digital recordings of vinyl source material captured the “analog vibe.” I got all worked up about it and then I realized I’d never been in a recording studio, so I probably shouldn’t be arguing with experts.
Still, capturing the “analog vibe” in a digital file doesn’t make any sense unless you mean, “Yeah, I can hear the scratches and static pops. Awesome.”
Yeah, Anton was every bit the head case that he was in the movie. Between the first two songs of their set, they took close to five minutes to figure something out onstage. Some guy in the audience made the mistake of yelling “play some music!” and it was like the whole audience groaned in anticipation. Anton kept spitting out, “what, did your mommy and daddy in the suburbs give you an allowance to come out tonight?” He wanted security to throw the guy out, and of course, they wouldn’t, and it went on and on between songs. Anton complained longer than he played.
I mentioned to Greg Olear in his piece called “The Line Waver,” about the VH1 show called “Classic Albums.” Given your fascination with production, you would salivate at this show, if you haven’t seen it yet. I have the DVR set to record it, as it comes on at random times, but the four episodes I’ve got queued up to watch are: Pink Floyd- “The Dark Side of the Moon,” Metallica- the black album, Nirvana- “Nevermind,” and Fleetwood Mac- “Rumours.” They bring the band and producers together to talk about how they wrote and recorded all the songs. Then the producer gets behind the board and isolates the different tracks on the songs and tells how and why they were recorded that way. You can find some great clips of the show on YouTube.
(Great post by the way…)
And with this post, you become my favorite Kiwi.
Excellent. I have always wanted to be someone’s favourite kiwi!
i am going to tie you down and make you listen to VU’s Pale Blue Eyes over and over and over again. you will like them when it’s over. then i will release you.
and also, i think i’ll give you some real hip hop. some underground chicago shit. i will infuse you with street cred.
Well, if that’s what it’s going to take, then that’s what it’s going to take.
Ironically, one of my bands (in Chicago) covered Pale Blue Eyes. Our bass player sang it- an obese, bespectacled, sweaty, nerd who looked like Urkel (but taller, fatter, and sweatier). That might have informed some of my opinion.
Underground Chicago shit, eh? Bring it on. I was probably throwing up the horns at metal shows while they were dropping that stuff on the south side. You’ll have to metal though. Real church-burning, corpse-grinding, Satan-worshipping shit. That won’t give you any street cred unless you’re in Norway. Then people will be afraid NOT to buy you drinks.
I mean “you’ll have to listen to metal though.”
Stupid scatterbrainedness… Oh, and “scatterbrainedness?” I just added it to my dictionary.
Hey Joe (not a Blues reference),
I really love this post because, like you, music is a huge part of my life, and has been since I was little, and I, too, have a hugely diverse collection from all over the musical spectrum.
I truly appreciate this post because, having bought the entire Beatles catalogue ($180) to try to brainwash myself into being musically “normal,” and failing, I don’t feel alone in the world anymore. Yeah, sure, I like some songs, but their music doesn’t inspire me. Plus, when I was a kid, I saw Beatlemania, and that killed any honest chance I could ever give them as an adult.
A couple of years ago, I took my then, now ex, wife to see DMB at the Hollywood Bowl (not the reason we split, but maybe contributed?), and she is someone who doesn’t listen to a lot of music, didn’t grow up with it like I did, and wasn’t really interested in it. She really wanted to see them live, and I thought, “Why not?”
From the very first song to the last, to my surprise, she knew almost every single word to every single song. I knew nothing except for some words from Crash Into Me. I realized then, that no one, or very few people, who had any real experience with music could possibly listen to Dave Matthews willingly. Only those who have been brainwashed by commercial radio.
And to add to the list of other generic artists with interchangeable songs:
As for Rush, the only time I really full-on enjoyed their music was as a teenager at a laser show at the Hayden Planetarium in NYC. Yes… I was high.
Thanks, Jordan! Glad I’m not the only one who has tried to guilt himself into liking the Beatles. I remember Beatlemania too- totally forgot about that. I guess that would have a rather drastic effect on one’s views toward the original!
Interesting experience re: DMB. You have earned my unwavering respect for enduring the show. A few people have asked me why DMB is on this list, specifically wondering why I think I should like the band. I think it’s because 1) critics seem to love him; 2) he’s got legions of adoring fans; and 3) I’ve heard it said that he crosses genres (I don’t necessarily agree). But as I’m seeing, loads of devoted DMB fans think I should like him and that I’m a boob for not doing so. I may be a boob, but there are better reasons for that than my views on DMB!
Tooooooootally agree with Jack Johnson! I mean, he’s a surfer and a movie maker who plays guitar on the side. Here in Southern California, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting three people who can also do those three things as well as, if not better than he.
I have the same issue with The Smiths. I can’t stand them. I never bought into their dreary cynicism wrapped up in that neat pop bow. And Morrissey — well, any rock star who makes a point of abstaining from meat, sex, alcohol and drugs has to be annoying to be around. And I hate when people tell me that I have to love them, because I loathe them. It’s really become that intense.
As for your list: Always hated Rush – knew I was supposed to like them but I was firmly placed in the Police camp in terms of power trios. Dave Matthews is completely affected and I find people who wax poetic about the sort of improvisational nature of his music haven’t ever heard Miles Davis or Coltrane — so the fact that there is any improv of any sort (and always just that damn vamp on a single note) is cause for them to be blown away, when in fact it’s just boring. Right with you as well on the Velvet Underground — never got the fuss really. I’ve come around on the Beatles but I appreciate you not liking them so much. It took me ages, and I still can’t really say I listen to them with any regularity. Well done for putting this out there – people are very touchy about their bands. I’m just back from Coachella – and believe me – I took a lot of heat for not going to see Velvet Underground. Oh and Jay Z… he was good in performance – impressive – but I still left his show early!
Fuckin’, I HATE the Smiths!! And Morrissey!! And, dare I say… The Cure?
Back in the ’80s when some parents were criticizing Ozzy Osbourne, saying that his music inspired suicide among young listeners (especially for his song entitle Suicide Solution), it was obvious to me that they never listened to the aforementioned Emo/White Male Angst musical-valium, because every time I heard them, I wanted to hang myself.
Kristen, I love your intensity! Yes, nothing breeds loathing like being told you need to love an artist. Ick.
>>Dave Matthews is completely affected and I find people who wax poetic about the sort of improvisational nature of his music haven’t ever heard Miles Davis or Coltrane — so the fact that there is any improv of any sort (and always just that damn vamp on a single note) is cause for them to be blown away, when in fact it’s just boring. <<
Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my cold black heart.
Jealous of your Coachella adventure! Would be interested in your top three from the weekend.
After being named after the horrendous Beatles tune, ‘Michelle’, I’m with you. I can’t get into them. I refuse to. I feel like Paul McCartney is my godfather or something since he essentially christened me.
I was not named Jude after Hey Jude, but must admit to lovin’ that song. Especially when my students sing ‘Hey Jude’ across the room when wanting my attention…
You will need to capture that for a YouTube moment. I insist!
I mentioned it somewhere else in here, but I do like the way “Hey Jude” is woven into the soundtrack of The Royal Tenenbaums. Certainly one of their prettier songs. The Beatles that is, not The Royal Tenenbaums…
Ooh… that’s a heavy cross to bear. Thankfully your parents weren’t crazy Steely Dan fans though, or you might be named “Kid Charlemagne.” 🙂
HA! My husbands Goddaughter is named Katy after a Steely Dan song.
I love these kind of best bands debates. I’m especially glad to see someone else not getting Rush.
One newish band not mentioned yet that gets the best love-them-or-hate-them award (at least among indie music fans) is Animal Collective. I fall on the hopelessly obsessed side, and feel like they’re one of the most beautiful, creative acts of the last ten years. I even recently had to force myself to remove their tracks from any of my playlists because I was listening to them too much. But some good friends of mine and some critics (Sasha Frere Jones, I’m looking in your direction), just hear grating noise.
>>I even recently had to force myself to remove their tracks from any of my playlists because I was listening to them too much. <<
Now that, my friend, is devotion.
I like Animal Collective because of their atmospheric sound. I have “My Girls” on one of my mixes, and a couple other of their tunes in other mixes. I like Mogwai, so Animal Collective fits in with that. I’m not a big fan of My Morning Jacket though, who always seem to get lumped in with Animal Collective. Have you ever listened to Woodpigeon? If not, check them out. You might enjoy them.
The list of bands you seem to like is more impressive to me than the ones you try to like.
Thanks, David. I readily admit that many of them might not exist (at least in the form that I enjoy) without some of the precursors in my list, but c’est la vie.
I’m heading over to Glasgow in a few weeks and I’m looking forward to finding some new music while I’m there. Stoked!
“But as a whole, I cannot say that there’s much about The Beatles that does anything for me.”
Yep. Right there. That’s when I fell in love with you, Joe Daly.
They just don’t flip my switch. I recognise them as who they were and the influence they were, but they just don’t do anything particular for me musically. With some notable exceptions.
Back in the USSR? Fuck yes.
I think one of the major turning points in my life was when I realised that hey, high school is done, I don’t have to try to justify my tastes in music beyond anything more with ‘Hey buddy, fuck you. I like the way it sounds.’
>>I think one of the major turning points in my life was when I realised that hey, high school is done, I don’t have to try to justify my tastes in music beyond anything more with ‘Hey buddy, fuck you. I like the way it sounds.’<<
Word! Isn’t it bizarre that some people get threatened when you don’t embrace the music that they love? It was brought to my attention that someone posted my article in an alt-country music forum, and someone suggested that because I said I don’t like The Beatles, I should burn my whole music collection. Um… I wonder what he thinks needs to happen to the people who don’t like his sports teams!
As always, you’re bang on. Of course there’s a Beatles song or two that pretty much everyone can like. No one’s deriding their music- as we’re seeing here, you can acknowledge who they are and what they’ve done without relating to their music.
BRMC? Really? I used to see them routinely ten years ago, when I was one of five people in the audience. I liked that they could do, in a way, everything. They could write, they could play; and if they made a mistake in performance — even a slight mistake — they would stop, and, rather than start the song again, they’d offer an apology and move on.
But that perfectionism was, ultimately, the reason I found them so dull. Their first record was lifeless, as most major-label records are. Someone burned a copy of their follow-up and gave it to me, and I listened once and never again.
But you know what? If you like them, far be it for me or anyone else to raise a counterargument. In fact, by now, I try to disengage the second I find myself in a discussion about a preferred band, or a preferred anything else. It’s like trying to dissuade a pilot from flying planes, or a novelist from writing novels.
Having said that, I can’t help but think that in 1962 the Cavern Club in Liverpool would have been one of the most exciting spots on Earth; and I daresay, had you been a Liverpool teenager at the time, you’d have thought the same.
>>Having said that, I can’t help but think that in 1962 the Cavern Club in Liverpool would have been one of the most exciting spots on Earth; and I daresay, had you been a Liverpool teenager at the time, you’d have thought the same.<>But you know what? If you like them, far be it for me or anyone else to raise a counterargument. In fact, by now, I try to disengage the second I find myself in a discussion about a preferred band, or a preferred anything else. It’s like trying to dissuade a pilot from flying planes, or a novelist from writing novels. <<
Rock on, brother.
Well it definitely seems like you’ve stirred up a very interesting conversation here, Joe. Yeah, music is just one of those extremely personal topics where people tend to get very vocal about what they like and don’t like. As for me, I love the Beatles. Not only were they skillfully accomplished songwriters and musicians, but they arrived on the scene at a time when we really needed someone like them to reflect our hopes and angsts in such gorgeously crafted pop songs. Plus, those guys had range. They could go from the grinding, wailing gnarl of a song like “Helter Skelter” to the plaintiff, heartbreaking strains of “Long and Winding Road.”
But hey, we’re all entitled to our opinions. You have yours, and I have mine. And that’s cool. That’s what makes conversations like these more interesting. Plus, I appreciate the fact that you like Radiohead and R.E.M. So you’re not so bad after all, Joe. In addition to our differences we also share some common ground.
Oh, and by the way, while Lenore has you tied up and listening to VU, I’m also going to be playing Rush’s 2112 (yeah, yeah, I know that Rush is probably the #1 band that TNB’ers love to hate, but I just adore those guys). Especially that one song of theirs off 2112, “Passage to Bangkok.” By the time I’m done with you, Joe, you’re gonna wanna roadie for that band.
Heh, heh. Just wait. You’ll see. Your next post will be from Canada where you’ll be on tour with them…
Thanks for the great comments. Agree with your fine description of the Beatles. Another commenter suggested that all music is experimental, and I clarified that I thought a lot of music is formulaic, rather than experimental. But true art can flow when that formula is interpreted into something new, which the Beatles clearly did, taking twelve bar blues deep into psychedelia. It took me a long time to understand that I could respect what they did and what they mean without relating to their music. I am constantly being reminded that life is not an all-or-nothing game.
You’re the first Rush defender! And you’ve scared the bejesus out of me with your eerie premonition about my future as a roadie. “The laser show looked pretty good tonight, eh?”
As music fans, it’s no surprise that we share some (likely) substantial swaths of common ground. That seems to be the case for most music lovers. It’s like a Venn diagram- we each have our circle of music, and typically everyone’s will intersect in at least one point, however small. Most probably have more common ground than they realize.
Thanks again, Rich- well said!
“My tastes, like Tiger Woods’ girlfriends, are all over the place.” Lovely, Joe!
Your description/explanation of music’s importance to you deeply moved me, even though I’m only adjunctly afire with music. Yet it can so influence my emotions that it almost scares me, so I identify with your reactions. Stringed instruments have always held my sway, and I’ve held plenty of them such as Irish harps and classical guitars. But making them sound like they should, even after much practice, has eluded me. (Also, I hate the fingertip callouses they bring.)
I feel you’ve struck a chord (Yes, I’m going to leave that cliche in!) in so many readers’ souls. One of my teaching colleagues asked his students (average age 26) which subject under the humanities rubric affected them daily. The majority of answers were “music”.
Glad you tackled the subject, Joe; it provokes thought on so many levels.
Oh, and I forgive you for not liking the Beatles. 😉
Judy, your patience and forgiveness are most welcome. Music is definitely one of those close-to-home things where logic and reason have scant meaning.
You play classical guitar? Harp, too? Nice! I studied Celtic guitar for awhile in Chicago with the guy from the Drovers and it was really fun. Just playing within a new tuning opens the eyes to a whole new way of looking at songs. I love the way the Celtic tuning has three Ds to mimic the drone of the pipes. Such a great sound.
Great bit about your students, too. Music might just be one of history’s biggest playing fields.
Rock on, Judy!
Although I agree on your confusion regarding the successes of four of the above mentioned artists, I am sad to admit that I have a fond affection for Dave Matthews. (sue me) However, I am more apt to simulate Cabo in her love of Norah Jones. Tell the girls Blonde Dog says aloha!
Thanks! Your DMB affection is entirely offset and absolved by the fact that you’ve seen Slayer live. You’ll always have that as a trump card!
I will pass on Blonde Dog’s fond regards and high paws to my two bros!
Coachella top 3… hmm.
Mutemath — UNBELIEVABLE live performance. The band is intense. This is the band that all the pro musicians in NY are going crazy about and with good reason. They are amazing. Go see them if you can and if you can’t get their 2 CDs… both are killer.
LCD Soundsystem — they delivered BIG — James Murphy is amazing — and there were copious amounts of cowbell. How can you go wrong.
Three Way Tie on the rest:
Frank Turner: He was just so personable. You wanted to invite him to dinner after the show and he really pulled the audience in.
Temper Trap: they sounded great and I would have really loved the show if I hadn’t been surrounded by a group of manic Australians – who were all sporting t-shirts featuring neon penises and the word COCK CHELLA… (I found them to be a distraction)
GORILLAZ – they were fantastic. It was so nice to see Damon Albarn looking so happy.
(but I also really loved Spoon — and Hot Chip and XX (though you do want to kill yourself after the show). La Roux was great (minus the crush around her stage), and Street Sweeper Social Club with Tom Morello was pretty intense as well.
Thanks for the great breakdown! I’m totally checking out the acts I haven’t heard yet. Super bummed I missed Gorillaz. Never seen them live- sounds like a trip!
Glad to hear Street Sweeper Social Club was good. I took them with me to Europe last summer. Ok, I brought their new album with me and listened to it in massive doses while hoofing around Scandinavia. Would be interested in seeing how it translates live.
Off to iTunes now to do a little browsing. Thanks, Kristen!!
MuteMath is amazing live. I’ve been listening to them for a three or four years… Their live show is absolutely sick. They leave it all on stage. Their video for Typical is also pretty impressive.
And anything with Tommy Morello is intense…
>>And anything with Tommy Morello is intense…<<
No kidding. Can you imagine the way he makes breakfast in the morning. Super heavy, balls-to-the-wall, Sandanista-style toast, probably wearing a balaclava and cooking the heaviest plate of scrambled eggs ever.
Dave Matthews or if you’re local, DMB. I’m so with you Joe. Living in Dave Matthews country (Charlottesville, where he got his start), I cringe when I heard Dave Matthews on the radio. They even have a “Daily DMB” here on our best station, 106.1 The Corner. I turn it everyday on the ride home from work.
I remember when I first heard DMB with “What Would You Say?” I think I was in 8th grade. Two friends of mine were going on a hiking trip to Peaks of Otter. My friend Josh got all amped and started singing. And I was like, “What is this shit?”
Dirty hippies and college kids camp out for days here to spend too much money on a DMB ticket. I didn’t get it when I was in eighth grade. I don’t get it now that I’m 28.
The Beatles. After we got married, my wife wanted to walk into our reception with “All You Need is Love.” I said, “Sure, so long as it’s the Nada Surf version” which is what we did.
The Beatles have maybe two songs I can get into and I don’t even like them that much. Otherwise, I could tell you the names of them right now which I can’t.
My friend Josh also loves the Beatles. Apparently there is a pattern. Whatever he likes, I hate. Maybe that’s why our high-school rock band, Anti-Lou, didn’t make it out of the cow pasture.
Rush. The opening scene in SLC Punk pretty much sums them up for me (though I do think their bassist/singer is hella nice on the bass).
With the song “The Trees” playing in the background of the opening scene of SLC Punk, one of the two (Steve-O or Heroin Bob) starts saying there is more to life than listening to Rush and John Denver, or playing Dungeons and Dragons (though apparently D&D didn’t actually exist in ’76). One of the two then places a tape of Generation X playing “Kiss Me Once (Kiss Me Deadly) in the cassette player.
Their lives are changed forever.
My life changed in a similar way when I was about their age except it was with a Dead Kennedys album, Bedtime for Democracy.
And I’ve got to cut this short — not that this is short. I could talk music all day. Back to work.
P.S. Come on Becky, you didn’t listen to Jimi? The Jimi Hendrix Experience is where it’s at!
Thanks for weighing in! I was hoping we’d get some good music debate going on, and we have in spades.
First, I LOVE SLC Punk. I think that’s the only role where I really enjoy a Matthew Lillard performance. I totally forgot about that Rush comment, but as I read it, I remembered it right away. Pretty sure it was Heroin Bob.
>>.“Sure, so long as it’s the Nada Surf version” <<
Love the DKs as well. The first time I heard them, I was surprised how great the actual music was. And Jello’s pure gold. Good solo stuff as well. There’s a really good DK cover album by Alternative Tentacles (Virus 100). If you haven’t heard it, check it out. I think you’ll dig some of the versions.
Watch out for Becky- she’s en fuego in this thread!
Here’s the thing about the Velvet Underground: much like name-dropping Jerry for entrance into the world of stinky-foot noodling, saying you like the Velvets kind of paints you as self-consciously avant, black turtleneck wearing, and annoyingly aware of the charms of Edie Sedgewick. But is that either band’s fault, or should they be admired or loathed based solely on their musical merits? For my money, VU is the first punk outfit. Sure, you can argue that it was the New York Dolls or the Stooges or The Monks or Dizzy Gillespie if you like, and be right to some degree with each, but the Velvets were there first on many counts. If nothing else, you have to appreciate the stones it required to have a female drummer in 1966. Their lyrics are unrelentingly dark and uncompromising, especially in the context of a musical world dominated by the Everly Brothers. But does any of that really matter if the music sucks? Nope. Fortunately, the music is great. While a number of their songs can be deemed “experimental”, they are mainly a straight ahead rock band willing to veer. Ah, man, I could go on forever, but let me end by saying that the Velvets got me through high school. Seriously. So for that reason alone, they are not some credibility-enhancing affectation, but the thumping soundtrack of my late pubescence. Other people have Zep or Pearl Jam or No Doubt or Wu Tang or whoever. For me it was whiny Lou Reed and John Cale’s viola and the insane simplistic genius of Mo Tucker’s drumming that scratched the itch.
Tracklist For a Newly Acquired Appreciation or Further Dismissal:
1. What Goes On
2. Lady Godiva’s Operation
3. Run, Run, Run
4. I Heard Her Call My Name
5. Sister Ray
6. European Son
7. Murder Mystery
8. Venus In Furs
9. Foggy Notion
10. Here She Comes Now
Thanks! Music homework!
I love your approach to the debate of the birth of punk, mainly because you bring it back to Dizzy. Similar argument with the birth of metal- so many worthy candidates, each making a compelling argument. I guess I’ve always subconsciously thought that punk was born with the Stooges, but you obviously make a good argument for the VU. I suppose departing from any of the rock formulas that were cementing at the time was punk rock in and of itself.
My late pubescence was all Quadrophenia. You never forget the band that took you through that period.
I’ll check out your playlist with many thanks!
I’m going to have to read through the comments before I figure out what this argument has become… and I’m sure it’s gone everywhere by now.
I’m with you on the Beatles. Not a fan. I don’t hate them, but I do not crave them. Ever. I respect them, but don’t listen to them.
I have moments with The Velvet Underground, yet totally understand why you do not.
Jay Z and DMB… I like them both well enough, but not enough to defend them. Maybe Dave, just in that he really is a great musician.
But Rush… RUSH. Dear god man, Rush? Of all the horrible, horrible things Canada has sent our way (Nickelback, Bryan Adams, most of Alanis) Rush is the one that I am actually grateful for. Geddy Lee can be grating, yes. But it’s Rush. Fucking Rush. I’m a bit of a fan.
On the same note, I am apparently one of three people on the planet that can’t figure out why everyone is gaga over Radiohead. They do nothing for me at all. Clearly all of this is in the ear of the beholder.
Hating Zeppelin of Floyd on the other hand… that would make me reevaluate our new-found friendship 🙂
Now I’m going to go read the comments and make sure you didn’t in fact disavow Zep after all.
Hrrmmm…Now I’m frantically trying to sweep my Pink Floyd indifference under the rug and proudly displaying my distaste for Radiohead to distract you.
REMEMBER THE NAG CHAMPA, SLADE.
You had it coming.
True, though this is hardly a fair trade.
Admittedly, there is some Floyd I can do without (Small Furry Animals, etc), but for the most part… Turn up Shine On… on the right night, and it’s borderline magical. Indifference is better than outright hate though, so I might be a bit forgiving.
Then again, there’s that Jimi thing. You might just be broken as a human, hahaha.
But we can still be teammates on the Radiohead thing. OK Computer was tolerable, but they otherwise make me want to drive into a guardrail.
Okay, wait. OK Computer is the album that turned me off of them.
We’re fighting again now.
Take your Nag Champa and psychedelia and offend me no more!
You people are smoking crack. OK Computer is amazing. For the song “Lucky” alone it is a masterpiece, but the whole thing is mind-blowing. Then they reinvented themselves with Kid A and Amnesiac, I mean, honestly, I’m going to take my lightsaber to the both of you.
Okay. Try this. If you can say you don’t even like their best song ever, I will lay off the Radiohead thing.
>>You people are smoking crack.<<
Finally. A music debate is never officially legit until this allegation is offered.
Holy shit. I just got RickRolled. Brilliantly played, Rich.
Oh, we’re good on Zep and Floyd. I will never disavow Zep, even after reading “Hammer of the Gods,” which reveals them to be greedy little goats. Still, Zep are one of those bands where I could pretty much put on any album and enjoy it beginning to end. Even the filler songs aren’t too obnoxious. Well, maybe not Coda. No, wait- I would listen to Coda beginning to end.
YOU’RE a Rush guy? It’s like I hardly know you. I figured you’d be the type to slay the memory of Rush and tinkle on the corpse while asking your friends to take a pic with your cell phone. Wow. Hold on- you did say you knew they were Canadian? Wow.
Radiohead is about as ear-of-the-beholder as it gets. They are the cream soda of music. People who like it hoard it by the case, just because none of their roommates will steal any.
I know you’re not defending Jay-Z, but if you had to speak up for a brother, what would you say?
I just had a conversation on a friend’s radio show yesterday about Robert Plant and how Plant was a dick when he met him… said it screwed up his view of the band. To me, I try to keep the people separate from the music when possible. Zep is one of those bands that is sooo much bigger than the sum of its parts.
As for Jay-Z, I am very quick to defend the late 90’s era Jay-Z, from the Reasonable Doubt album up to Life and Times. I’m not quite so quick to defend him now though. The first Blueprint record was a little too poppy and commercial for me, but some more recent stuff, like 99 Problems still makes me smile. I also dig the fact that he wrote DOA about the death of auto-tune. He has a purist element to him that I dig. He’s certainly one of the more talented people in the hip-hop industry.
All of my hip-hop knowledge, and any of my desire to listen to it, comes from my brother, who is in the Wu Tang Clan.
As weird as that sounds, it’s not a joke. It’s a long story really 🙂
Do tell, Slade! I once had to get up and move from a table at a club in Austin because RZA and GZA and their entourage needed a place to sit down. It was at a wrap party for a movie.
That’s the extent of my brush with Wu Tang greatness. A very short story in exchange for your far more interesting one, perhaps? If you tell, I’ll tell you which movie and why I was there (still not very interesting, but it’s all I got… my life is way more boring than yours!)
I say it’s a long story, but I don’t suppose it really is. My brother has been rapping for as long as I can remember. Over the last few years, he developed a relationship with RZA, which always seems strange to me. I grew up a fan, and it’s weird now to hear him say, “I’ll call you right back, RZA’s beeping in.”
They just did a track together for my brother’s new album, though I couldn’t begin to tell you the name of it. It was up on Raekwon’s site a while ago. I suppose I will have to say something now when the album comes out, hahaha.
So, on to your almost certainly more interesting story, yes? I’ve only been to one wrap party, and that was Leaves of Grass. It was being held upstairs from the club I was playing in Shreveport, LA, and I crashed it.
“I try to keep the people separate from the music when possible.”
I try to do the same. I think that’s why I can still listen to U2.
Slade- that story is ridiculously awesome. I might even pick up the new album!
Cheryl- you had to get up and move for those dudes? Serendipitously, I also had to get up and move for a musician in a VIP room one night- Jimmy Page. Talk about being torn. Here I was, cooling with my buddies in this rad section of this Chicago nightclub, and we have to move for Jimmy Page. I decided I was OK with it.
Slade, you need to tell us when your brother’s album is released, and maybe provide a link to the Website? It’s interesting that both of you are performers/artists.
A couple of years ago my husband worked for Troublemaker Studios (Robert Rodriguez) here in Austin, building props. He worked on both Grindhouse installments. If anyone has seen it, my husband made the Gatlin gun leg that Rose McGowan sports at the end of “Planet Terror”; and his work is also in every single car interior shot of of the stunt cars driven by Kurt Russell in “Death Proof”, in which the dashboard, visors, etc. had to be replicated from scratch for close-up shots. (Had to brag on him a little – I can’t help it; I love him.)
The Austin wrap party for Grindhouse was at the Star Bar. We went, along with the rest of the crew. Robert was there, but not Quentin; and this wasn’t the cast party so only a few of the actors were there. RZA and GZA showed up, even though they didn’t work on the soundtracks, they are part of that circle. We weren’t really asked to move, but when they came in and were looking around for seats, my husband and all the members of the crew ushered us all to move and let them sit. They all know knew the rules. There is a kind of unspoken acknowledgment of one’s standing in the heirarchy in the movie business. They were very gracious and thanked us for moving.
To be honest, I have no celebrity radar at all. I could probably be standing in line at the supermarket next to Brad Pitt and it would take me ages to register that was him. My husband was like, “Holy shit, that’s RZA and GZA!” And I was all like, “Really?” Clueless.
Joe, I was fine moving for them, and I would have been totally fine moving for Jimmy Page as well!
Christ, Radiohead are depressing.
I still struggle to understand why anyone would want to listen to music quite that miserable.
They make Joy Division sound like bloody KC and the Sunshine Band.
dear joe daly:
i very much appreciate this piece of writing because i feel the same. when i list off my “top 4 with rotating 5th” to people, they don’t get it because there isn’t really a who or beatles or johnny cash or hank williams or sabbath or grand master flash in there, but all the people i dig were and are heavily influenced by all of those and more. it’s not that i don’t appreciate or acknowledge their influence on what i listen to today, they just don’t hit me all the time.
i also appreciate that you know that there is a feeling that can’t be described when you have an aural connection to an artist.
and i like that you put suggestions as to what you listen to instead of the “legendary” band that you’re supposed to like. while i personally wholly disagree with some of your “yes” music (omfg radiohead?? talk about unintelligible lyrics and WHINING *insert rolly eyes here*) and, like you not “getting” the beatles, i don’t “get” wilco – it just seems passionless and rote – i like that your zen enough not to punch me in the face for it. yet.
this was a refreshing read.
Shannon- glad you have been refreshed. Be sure to towel off though. You don’t want an infection.
Wilco is a worthy American equivalent to Radiohead. Having seen Wilco live a million times, I’ve been able to get past the deliberate obtuseness. But I would never try to talk anyone into liking Wilco.
Now that I mention it, if someone told me they didn’t like a band, I might be surprised or baffled, but I probably wouldn’t try to reason that person into liking them. Face punching would be different.
I won’t try to pry you from your classic rock apostasy, but I will say that for me, a full appreciation of The Beatles required multiple go-rounds with Sgt. Pepper, The White Album and Revolver (possibly while on drugs…) Their mainstream stuff is a bit lame.
Rush…yeah…they had some rocking stuff but lost me a bit when they started composing rock-operas about space fairies and whatever else the fuck they were on about on some of those later albums.
As you admit, hip-hop is not your area of expertise, and I can defend Jay-Z a bit. He was sick as a mix tape artists back in the day and has produced some really solid albums and hits…though some of his stuff does totter on the edge of bubble-gum-pop-shitty shit. He’s earned his dues, though.
Dave Matthews: I thought they were cool until I saw them in concert and realized it was a bunch of 13 year old couples making out with their braces clacking together.
By the way, have you listened to the “new” Jimi Album? Not stellar, but still a lot better than some of the crap coming out these days. Once you hear Jimi play guitar everyone else sounds pretty average. I always like what Bill Hicks had to say about Jimi, when comparing him to Rick Astley: Jimi, a cock like a fucking anaconda swinging in the breeze. Rick: a corn nut for a dick.
On another note, speaking of music snobbery, have you seen this? the pickle that beat nickleback
>>I won’t try to pry you from your classic rock apostasy,<<
Guilty as charged! Although to be fair, I do listen to newer stuff too, like the Allman Brothers and David Bowie. 😉
Have not heard that new Jimi album. I’ll check out the “lost” tracks. I hear they’re OK. LOVE the Bill Hicks quote!
As for the Nickelback thing- that was hilarious. I confess to joining the Facebook page. I remember hearing an interview on NPR a few years ago where a Canadian guy, to prove to his girlfriend that all Nickelback songs sound the same, played their two hits simultaneously. This is both hilarious and depressing, all at the same time:
Damn dude. Brilliant.
I f’ed that link up, it’s this: the pickle that beat nickleback
Like Gloria, I got to the Beatles section and had to pause a bit. I wasn’t offended or angry, maybe just a bit confused. I was indoctrinated by age five and I guess have always assumed they were just a given awesomeness in everyone’s lives. It was as though I know that I don’t know you yet I already know that there’s something just not quite right about you.
About halfway through the comments I got you not getting them. (Not you though, Simon. Our beers at Fenway are off!) I suppose when you’ve lived your entire life with the same brain and the same two ears and are used to the tastes that they have, it can be hard to understand that other people’s organs have different tastes.
Rush and VU I’m not familiar enough with to form an opinion. I’ve probably heard a bit of both, thought, “What the hell is this?” and never listened again. I suppose they deserve a fair shot from me. Then again, it’s rather conceited of me to think they’re out there somewhere waiting for me to give them that fair shot.
Jay-Z: If I can dance to it after a few drinks then it’s okay in my book.
Dave Matthews: I really like him. I veered from really following any new stuff after Crash and recently started again. I think the timing of my initial exposure to the stuff facilitated my fondness. Late high school/early college. I will echo what others here have said in that he puts on a great live show. I saw him at Fenway and it was a great time.
Just to back up some of my peeps, I’m not a fan of Radiohead or Sonic Youth.
>>It was as though I know that I don’t know you yet I already know that there’s something just not quite right about you.<>it’s rather conceited of me to think they’re out there somewhere waiting for me to give them that fair shot.<>I suppose when you’ve lived your entire life with the same brain and the same two ears and are used to the tastes that they have, it can be hard to understand that other people’s organs have different tastes.<<
Well said. That’s why I tried to be careful about not really knocking these bands (except DMB- sorry!), because it’s all purely subjective. Sometimes it’s hard to remind myself that my tastes mean nothing to anyone except me, and from the awesome comments on here, I can see that I’m not alone!
Don’t apologize for knocking DMB. I’ve finally stopped apologizing for liking them. Can’t we all just get along?
What? Fenway beers are off?
Well Simon, to be fair, with the money you save on beer at Fenway, you can probably pay for your airfare to/from California. Them’s some pricey beverages there!
I also wonder if visual associations can help someone like music more, like opening a whole new window to it or something.
If so, if you ever have a chance, see Cirque du Soleil perform Love. It’s all Beatles.
My dad grew out of his hippie ways to become a boring, sit-in-the-Laz-E-Boy-and-watch-sports-all-day lawyer guy. He hates theater, especially musicals and “weirdos” like Cirque du Soleil. He absolutely loved it, couldn’t stop talking about it. Yes, he was a huge Beatles fan to begin with but, who knows, maybe a new point-of-view will bring some new affection.
I would say that visual associations definitely could shift someone’s view of a song/artist. I would definitely see Love if I could. As it were, I just saw Cirque for the first time here in San Diego a couple weeks ago. It was the Kooza show. To your point, I thought the music was freaking fabulous- great band and great singers. I would probably never in a million years listen to that stuff anywhere else, but in that context, it was perfect.
You sound like a Masshole- yes? I’m a Worcesterite. Power to the People!
Actually, I’m a Maineiac, though I’ve lived in Mass. for nearly half my life. Even when the math eventually tips in Mass.’ favor, I’ll refuse to ever consider myself a Masshole. It’s a Maine thing, I guess. We get a bit tired of being thought of as the mentally challenged bastard stepchild of Massachusetts and we get pretty protective of our home state.
Regardless, you’re welcome to join Simon and me when I take him to his first ever baseball game, warm $10 beers and all.
And, thank you. While writing my last post I knew there was a word I was trying to think of that just didn’t want to come out of the recesses of my exhausted brain – “context.” Nappy-nap time for me yet?
Maineiacs are way more fun than Massholes. In my experience, at least. Stoked that you’re taking our Simon to see a game in the oldest ballpark in the country. Wish I could go, but alas, I’m a long way from your time zone these days. Please be sure to take and post many photos.
Does Maine have any famous musical sons or daughters? Wow- I can’t believe I’m coming up empty here. There have got to be loads.
This is awesome. It reminds me of how I feel about Charles Bukowski. The only thing I hate more than reading Charles Bukowski is the company of people who declare their love for Charles Bukowski. And Dave Matthews is just irritating. Period.
I’m laughing out loud. So true about Bukowski. I wouldn’t mind Bukowski lovers if they talked about the writing more, but the ones I know seem singularly obsessed with how great it was that the guy was a train wreck.
I feel that way about Chuck Palahniuk fans. I really enjoy Chuck’s writing, but some of his fans are waaaaay too over the top for me. I used to frequent a CP message board community (on his site, now that I think of it), and it felt like a giant contest to see who could sound more jaded and wrought with angst.
i am hereby proclaiming my LITERARY LOVE for Buk…
he often gets the rap for being gritty and crass and a drunked-up scatalogical mensch but Buk wrote some of the most tender poetry ever…ever in the history of the planet and any poet who has or still does, inhabit this planet…
and look at any of his last lines–just go to any book and flip right to the end of any of his poems and read the last line of any of them…incredible truthisms (yup) and a universal poignancy which highlights our common human vulnerability and/or our quixotic flaws…
gorgeous stuff in my opinion…really beautiful…and hyper-real…
I should clarify- I enjoy reading Buk, it’s just some of his followers that sort of grind my gears.
That being said- I’m going to check out some of the last lines of his poems now.
Have at it. I’m sure there will be drunks pissing on trees there too.
Not liking The Beatles is tantamount to burning a Union Jack and urinating on the Queen!
I never really rated them that much, but recently I watched a whole load of documentaries and listened to all the albums again and changed my mind. Fair enough, there’s a lot of sub-par stuff in there and ultimately music is subjective so it’s not going to be to everyone’s taste. But you have to appreciate what they did for modern rock music, and the fact they acheived everything they did in around seven years. They released, I think, 23 albums in that time. That’s twenty less than Oasis have managed in the last seven years, and none of them were even as good as Revolver…
They’re definitely better than The Stone Roses and The Jam as well, two of the most over rated bands ever to come from Britain.
I’ve almost lost the energy to defend Rush now. There’s alot not to like about Rush, but it seems to be all too easy for people to take a pop at them just because they’re not ‘cool’ and a pretty non-controversial band to not like.
They rarely get the credit they deserve for their musical talent. Peart and Alex Lifeson are exceptional muscians.
Not sure quite how ‘angry’ that comment reads. It’s not meant to be.
Actually, reading this it occured to me that I’m really not that fussed about music. I like it and everything, but other people’s opinions don’t really bother me one way or the other.
I only defended The Beatles out of patriotic duty. I don’t like them as much as I’d like to. Twist and Shout and Helter Skelter are absolutely phenomenal pieces of rock and roll though.
As for Rush, I felt compelled to stand up for the ‘it’s not all drum solos and talking trees’ camp. Because it isn’t. It’s mostly drum solos and talking trees, but there’s nothing wrong with it every now and then…
All this general malaise for The Beatles makes me wonder if timing really is everything. I re-discovered The Beatles at 12. Until then, I had only been familiar with the With the Beatles music, and it wasn’t a challenge. My mother pushed The White Album in my direction and after that everything changed.
So, more or less, music seems to have its greatest impact on us from ages 12 to 19ish. After that, you’re less vulnerable to the pop music’s transformational powers. I think it’s sort of pointless for a grown to try to “get” whichever band. Even if you get it–you learn to live with it–you don’t live for it like a teenager does.
I don’t understand this wave of Rush hatred any more than I understand the revival of “Don’t Stop Believing” as the song that wraps up the night at the bar. I mean, how can you hate Rush? Now, Bachman Turner Overdrive, that’s a band worth hating.
I don’t hate BTO… They’re just takin’ care of business!
I hasten to add that I don’t really like them. Although I kind of like that song, even though I know it’s shite.
Don’t Stop Believing is a great song though. I have quite a large soft spot for late 70s/early 80s power ballards. Again, I know they’re awful, but if Carry on Wayward Son comes on the radio you better believe I’ll be singing along until the very end.
With the Beatles I always preferred their later stuff and dismissed there early stuff. It wasn’t until I really gave it a good listen that I realised how powerful it was. I still much prefer The Stones, although they only made four truly great albums.
Post did not come out angry at all! Although as a citizen of Ireland, I bit my tongue on the Queen comment… lol
No, this is precisely the type of debate that I really enjoy. Funny, but while the Stone Roses first album is on my Desert Island list, I loved hearing you call them overrated. Great legitimate debate in there. Their second album was pretty weak, and after that, adios. Yet they’re still critic and fan darlings, and I read in one poll where they overtook the Beatles in best album category (I don’t know if it was best debut, or something else). But yeah, loads of room to question the adoration afforded them. I just LOVE Squire’s guitar and their long, groovy jams. I was totally bummed the Seahorses didn’t last longer.
>>I felt compelled to stand up for the ‘it’s not all drum solos and talking trees’ camp. Because it isn’t<<
Giggling at the talking trees…
Thanks for weighing in!
I was joking about the Queen, because I thought that would be a good over the top reaction that many people actually do have.
I bought the Stone Roses first album, and all the songs sounded the same to me. I really wanted to like it, but I just got bored after hearing one and a half songs. And then they came out with another album that sounded pretty much the same before Ian brown embarked on a solo career that somehow managed to sound pretty the same as The Stone Roses.
However, I’m not going to dispute their importance in paving the way for a slew of Manchester based bands in the early 90s. Oasis were my favourite band for a long time, although now not so much. They really lost it, but it’s nice to go back occasionally and remind myself how spectacularly awesome Live Forever is. They’re better than The Stone Roses and they were the inspiration for many, many more bands. Most of which aren’t very good.
One of the great things about liking Rush is being well aware of the aspects that many people deride, and arguably quite rightly. I should hate Rush. I don’t really like prog that much. I don’t really like synths. I prefer straightforward rock and roll. But I bloody love Rush…
The Manchester scene stands out as one of the most important of the past 25 years, but perhaps more so for the UK scene than the US. New Order, Joy Division, and the Happy Mondays didn’t rate as highly in the States as they should have. Especially the Happy Mondays.
Love your comment about Kansas, too. There are times when I’m holding a guitar that I find myself playing the riff to “Carry On” without even realizing it. Talk about a song that has stood the test of time.
You’re a brave man to come out with your feelings about the Beatles. I don’t even know who Rush is. Am I out of it or what? I like the bands you like. Esp. Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Yeah, I figured I had to lead with them to just get it out of the way. Not surprisingly, I have received quite a bit of feedback on Facebook and other places where people say they stopped reading after seeing The Beatles.
You really don’t know who Rush is? You blessed, blessed child. 🙂
Thanks for giving it a read!
I’ll have to look them up on iTunes. There are some giant gaps in my knowledge of music and TV shows. Entire decades missing. It’s sad. Going to iTunes now. What do you think is the “worst” song that would be the best example?
Oh, are they Canadian?! I just looked them up and saw they have a song called YYZ–the code for the Toronto airport.
Hmmm… good question. Well, one of their most popular songs is called “Tom Sawyer,” and for me it represents much of what I don’t get- the vocals, the synths, and the lyrics. But even a casual Rush fan would probably pump their fists to it, so it might be a good litmus test as to what side of the Rush fence you’re on.
And I had no idea about YYZ. That they had a song called that and that YYZ was the Toronto airport code. Ooh, those Canadians and their obtuse Canadian codes!!
YYZ is an instrumental. Liking Rush meant that flying through Toronto was mildly thrilling.
All the lyrics are written by Neil Peart, who joined the band after their first album. Their first album has quite normal lyrics. ‘Working Man’ is probably the most well known track from that album.
Lifeson and Lee hated writing lyrics, so when Peart joined he got total control over lyrics. Neil Peart likes the previously mentioned talking trees, and other weird nonsense.
Jesus. People comment much?
Wait- you’re saying Big Star rules, or you think you should like Big Star but don’t?
Horrible news about Chilton, and so close to a live gig at SXSW. I like Big Star. At time it seems to me that because their career was relatively short, their legacy is equally rooted in their influence on other bands (like The Replacements).
OK Mr. Ten Million Comments, you don’t really need another voice piping up with a “Good post!” but here’s one anyway.
Isn’t it weird how other people’s liking of certain music strongly can make us less disposed to liking it ourselves? we are strange creatures.
Jay-Z I get, but only when there’s a female singing on the track. Him alone bores me.
>>Isn’t it weird how other people’s liking of certain music strongly can make us less disposed to liking it ourselves? we are strange creatures. <<
Too true. Especially when a band you like becomes super popular and then everyone starts listening to them. So often, the knee jerk reaction is to not only stop listening to them, but to advise other people that you are “over” them. The ego is a crafty and relentless force that finds many ways to jump up and down and say “Look at me! I’m different!”
Anyway, I did that with Pearl Jam.
Loser. One week from today!! :fume:
Keeping up with Megan’s attempt to avoid another “good post.” I’ll jump into mini-anecdote.
I never liked the Beatles (and tend to shy away from most bands that one simply HAS to love), until one afternoon in Paris when I was listening to a buddies mixed tape. The song was Rocky Racoon. I hadn’t heard it before or any of such Beatles’ songs. I wouldn’t say my fandom did a 180, but it did profoundly change me from the class of “don’t any” to “don’t like most” songs.
They definitely had a playful side. The sheer number of songs in their catalog makes it almost impossible not to find one or more of their songs that you like. I remember the first time I really dug a Beatles song was when a girl put one on a really special mix tape for me- “In My Life.” In the context of that mix, I really dug it.
I just want to say YES, YES, YES, YES, and YES. I agree on all counts, for the exact same reasons. I would totally trust you with a jukebox, friend. (:
Thanks, Tawni! Then conversely, I would totally trust you to DJ on a roadtrip. 🙂
My best friend is the founder of the Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory, so I was going to talk some shop when you brought up Jay-Z; I’ve never liked him as an emcee either, as it’s always struck me it sounds like that MushMouth kid from Fat Albert grew up and someone handed him a mike, but then I started to go back into his catalog and realized I liked more of his stuff than I realized. Still, you want real Hip-Hop, you got to go to Eminem and Mos Def, among others. Living Legends.
And then you go and bust out Quarashi, and I’m just like, very well, well played sir.
Well played, indeed.
I tend to like the Beatles’ music most when it’s performed by somebody else. See: the Across the Universe soundtrack. Decent flick, amazing songs.
Then again, I sort of love DMB.
Like I loved this.
No accounting for taste! Ha!
>> it sounds like that MushMouth kid from Fat Albert grew up and someone handed him a mike,<<
Got an audible laugh out of that one! Ah, the memories. Incidentally, have you ever heard Dig cover that theme song? Not a bad jam!
Thanks for the comments- interesting that you mention Mos Def as a living legend, as I had no idea he had that status. Again, my ignorance of the genre. I’ve made a note to self to dig in a bit more and check out some of the better emcees.
Stoked you like Quarashi! I first stumbled across them after seeing “Screaming Masterpiece,” and have been hooked ever since.
Thanks for the comments and the info!
Er, sorry, misstated. Living Legends is a Hip-Hop collective. Like Wu, I guess, except not really mainstream.
Ahh yes, music, so good for the soul (as is reading TNB). I cannot imagine a world without music, but I have a much lazier approach to it. As much as I think about organizing my favorites into an easy-to-find-and-listen-to-the-fitting-songs-when-a-mood-strikes, I tend to let serendipity or friends point me in the right direction. So far this method has been successful for me, so I’ll leave the work up to music aficionados like you… thank you very much. Regarding your comment, “to this day few things excite me more than making a mix for a friend”, feel free to call me a friend.
p.s. I dig a lot of Beatles and Rush (it may be more of a nostalgia thing than the music itself), but I don’t think of you as a hater.
Thanks, Karen! I like your music finding approach as well. When you do it your way, there are no expectations to manage- you just open up the ears and see what works for you!
Here are some albums that will make a nice starter kit for a mix for you:
Joel Plaskett- 3
The new Wolfmother album
Wirepony- Right Hook of Love
Them Crooked Vultures
Singapore Sling- Life is Killing My Rock and Roll
The new Jonsi album
Volbeat (anything by them)
Dinosaur Jr.- Farm
Wow I’m SO into the JayZ Radiohead mashups. Thanks!!
Anytime! Never thought I’d be turning someone on to Jay-Z!
I think taste wise
it’s OK to like whatever
It’s when people get the notion
“this is what I like
so everyone else should too”
That’s a sickness.
>>It’s when people get the notion
“this is what I like
so everyone else should too”
That’s a sickness.<<
Amen, brother. That’s not being a music fan, that’s being an ego fan. Might as well just say:
“If you don’t like the same music that I like, then maybe I’m the one who’s missing something, and I can’t have that. I therefore must punish you for making me feel that way by saying that you have inferior taste.”
Joe! Reached and breached the 200 mark!
Thanks, Simon! I guess we’ve got a few music fans strolling through TNB!
I still check under my car in the morning before starting it, just in case any Rush fans have tampered with my brakes overnight… 🙂
I love that you wrote this and I’m sorry I missed all of the talk while it was happening.
First: “When you love music, a good song finds you and kisses you right on the soul.” -Great line.
We have the same thoughts and feeling about music. It’s kind-of creepy, actually. The bands/artists you don’t like, but should, I don’t like either. The ones you do prefer, I listen to as well. Really strange.
I can listen to any genre, in almost any language. If it’s good, it’s like you said…it kisses you right on the soul. Our hearts understand more than our minds when it come to music.
Thanks! It’s always cool to find people who dig on the same grooves that you do. And you’re right about what our hearts understand- just give the heart some really good headphones and go along for the ride!
I love this, Joe!
“What does my soul like kissing? While there are no right answers, music that really inspires me tends to make me want to screw, dance, cry or punch someone. There it is. While music certainly evokes many other emotions in me, those are the four parent categories. Does this make me a musical neanderthal? Probably. But I’m OK with that.”
I’m all about stuff (music, books, smells, whatever) that makes you feel something. I agree with you on all 5 (my brother used to listen to Rush and I had to go outside or turn on something tolerable to get that heinous crap out of my head), but it’s kind of beside the point to me. I just kind of love people who love stuff. Truly. Without caring what other people think. Without evangelizing.
The Beatles aren’t evocative to me. Nobody’s going to change my mind on that. Dylan makes me feel all sorts of things. I don’t care if others like him or not. Yeah, it’s cool when you play something and someone agrees that it’s awesome or you find someone who will go to concerts with you. It’s not a dealbreaker to me.
(Despite the foregoing, I love to ask people what the most embarrassing song on their iPod is … I’ll mock, but I won’t judge.)
Thanks, Lauren! I’m surprised more people didn’t discuss Dylan as you did. I tend to relate to a lot of his songs, and perhaps more importantly, the attitudes he seems to so easily convey. But like a lot of the artists I listed, I know a ton of people who can take him or leave him.
Most embarrassing song on my iPod? Oh geez… um… well, not all the music in my iPod is my own, so I can’t flog myself for stuff I didn’t download. But something that I did purchase? Shit, ok- my old band covered this song, so I had to download it: MMMBop. There. I said it. Hey, we were being ironic!!
joe: ironic does not mean i cannot kindly mock. i feel much better about my most embarrassing song (which came on my iPod just after i wrote my comment. and i can’t claim irony. it’s one of those songs that gets stuck in your head, but not in a bad way. today, the song stuck in my head for some strange reason is that “don’t change” INXS song. and i never liked them much) — sorry –was distracted — embarrassing song: kelly clarkson, “since you been gone.” let the mockery begin!!
yeah, dylan — people don’t tend to be indifferent on him. i sing a little and am going to do an open mic with a friend — looks like we’re adding spanish boots of spanish leather. and the song “sara” makes me cry.
(sorry to ramble but it’s kinda weird i read your piece right after i wrote a blog post about the song “boys of summer” because a story i wrote called “after the girls of summer” was published yesterday, and the post was was about how music can make you feel stuff. ok, i’m done now. except — mmmbop. hee.)
[…] this reason, I looked forward to reading his recent piece, “Five Bands I Should Like, But I Don’t. At All.” The world of rock and roll is full of sacred cows, after all, and one of the perverse pleasures of […]
I’m 60 now. Two weeks ago FedEx dropped off the beautiful tie/dye Yellow Submarine T-shirt I ordered. Need I say more?
Nope- that pretty much says it all. It’s remarkable enough for a band to last that long, let alone to have fans still flying the flag after so many years. Did you ever see them live?
YES! As I opened this post I thought to myself, “PLEASE let Dave Matthews be on that list!” I don’t know why but I have an active hatred for him. Actually, I take that back. I do know why. It’s the legions of OBSESSED fans who WILL NOT let it go if you don’t like one of his albums. I used to be a huge DMB fan when I was younger. Followed him around on tour, wanted to have his babies, the whole nine, but then when “Crash” came out, I put it in my car, totally stoked to listen to it…and one day I was driving to San Francisco and realized I had listened to the entire CD and not noticed that the song had ever changed. Suddenly I realized that every song by DMB since the “Under the Table and Dreaming” album sounds exactly like the same song. Ever since then I haven’t been able to listen to more than one DMB song at a time. It’s painful.
Anyway, I loved your lead-up to the list. I’m not a music snob by any sense of the imagination. I get bored easily when music types start talking about music. I don’t know names of influential bands. I don’t know top tens or how music genres are separated. All I know is what I like and I think you summed it up beautifully with this: “When you love music, a good song finds you and kisses you right on the soul.”
I also really enjoyed your four categories for why you like a song (makes you want to screw, dance, cry or punch somebody). I’ve been listening to the “punch somebody” category for about a year now and have recently decided to change my life soundtrack. It started when I discovered the new Train album. It’s sort of growing from there.
OK then, this comment got really long, but I think that’s pretty normal once you get people started about music, no?
Thanks for your comments and in particular, for validating my four parent categories. I find that really good songs make me want to do two of those things. Like dance and punch somebody. Or cry and screw. Ok, I’ve never done either, but it’s funny to picture both.
Thanks for the read and comments. I love hearing how people use music to change the soundtrack of their life. Please keep me apprised of any and all musical nuggets that you unearth.
Oh, one last thing! Your argument about not liking The Beatles reminded me a lot of Thomas Wood’s post “Why I’m Allergic to Mint.” http://archives.thenervousbreakdown.com/twood/2009/11/why-im-allergic-to-mint/
Too bad you can’t use that excuse to get people to shutup about how you *should* like this or that band.
Who gives a fuck who Joe Daly likes or does not like? Enough said.
I admit as a Rush fan it gets tiring hearing people jump on em…don’t like em…no problem, but unless you have something new to add as to the why…just shut the fuck up about it. Name another band who still fills decent sized halls in both North America and Europe after being together continuously for almost 40 years. Especially if your preference is Oasis…I can’t think of anything more devoid of worth.
I totally get it! You don’t have to convince me that Rush have one of the greatest legacies in rock. I think you missed the main point of my article which is these are bands that I recognize that I should like, but for whatever reason, I don’t. Simple as that. I didn’t slam their legacy or any of the fans. Just like I’m sure there are other rock legends that you’re ambivalent about, that’s what my experience has been with Rush.
And I understand that by acknowledging that I like Oasis, I’m going to get a ration of shit. The point is to underscore that where taste is concerned, logic and reason often go out the window.
I appreciate you weighing in with these comments. As I mentioned in the article, Rush fans are some of the most loyal I know, and as you’ve demonstrated, the most likely to call me out for not liking the band.
I am a die-hard Rush fan, as in I have the ‘Star-Man’ tattooed to my forearm and I saw them 3 times in 5 days last tour (front row twice, second row once). I don’t think I ever stood a chance – two older brothers are both Rush fans. I was probably listening to Rush before I was weened. It actually took someone else pointing out that Geddy’s voice is obnoxious for me to notice it.
But that being said, if you don’t like them, you don’t like them. Big whup. It’s music. If it doesn’t make you want to fuck/fight/dance/cry (excellent observation, by the way), then get on with your life. The only thing as annoying as a Rush fan trying to convince you why you should like them is a Rush critic trying to convince you why you should hate them. I’m much better with the people who can say, ‘Yes, they’re all talented musicians who do nothing for me.’ That’s at least an honest answer.
By way of musical expansion, here are a couple suggestions for you:
If you like (A), then try (B):
Oasis:The La’s. Short-lived band, but put out some great ones, and not just ‘There She Goes.’ That might be the most annoying song they ever made.
Radiohead:Porcupine Tree. Underrated band that’s been around for 20 years. Steven Wilson is nothing short of a musical genius. For a harder edge, try Fear of a Blank Planet. For more ambient, PF-type music, look at Stupid Dream or Up the Downstair.
Wilco:Camper van Beethoven. Another underrated group that paved the way for the alt-country-punk-twang genre (see:Cracker). ‘Take the Skinheads Bowling’ is probably their most overrated song, ‘Pictures of Matchstick Men’ the most overplayed. Take a look at Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart for what is probably their most well-rounded album (if you consider the use of accordions, banjos, violins, keyboards, and mandolins to be well-rounded).
And my apologies for the rabid Rush fan(s) on here who feel the need to insult you. I promise, we’re not all dicks who have somehow tied other people’s feelings about Rush into feelings about our own self-worth.
>>I am a die-hard Rush fan, as in I have the ‘Star-Man’ tattooed to my forearm and I saw them 3 times in 5 days last tour<<
This rocks. There’s a guy at my yoga studio who has that tattoo on his back. On my back, I have a Les Paul sunburst original in flames. I’ve never talked to the guy, but I’ve always felt a kinship with him, knowing we’re both so passionate about our music that we get it inked in. Wait- you don’t do yoga in Southern California, do you? 🙂
Thanks for the thoughtful and kind comments. I certainly didn’t intend on coming across as someone being intentionally offensive to other people’s music, but I do get why some people get bent out of shape. I used to defend some of my favorite bands with that kind of passion until I reached the point where I just enjoy what I enjoy and let others find their own way.
I’m totally going hunting on your recommendations. Never listened to Porcupine Tree and as you guess, the only tune by The La’s that I know is “There She Goes.” Thanks for my Sunday homework. And thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this piece. This is the kind of dialogue that I was really looking forward to having when I wrote it.
Fair enough. I feel the same way about Led Zepplin, Aerosmith, and I totally get what you’re saying about the Beatles. None of them are bands I would choose to listen to.
Led Zepplin: Instead I like Rush (early)
Aerosmith: Instead I liked Deep Purple
The Beatles: Instead I like The Who/The Rolling Stones
Really interesting that you draw a parallel between Zep and early Rush. Makes me want to go listen to some early Rush!
My first concert ever was Aerosmith in their 1984 Back in the Saddle Tour. I was 16 and it was my first big concert experience. It was awesome. I saw them 20 years later in Sweden, with the Black Crowes opening, and I remember thinking that, while my taste in music has come a long way, Aerosmith hasn’t. I still enjoy really old Aerosmith, but I don’t really dig on anything they’ve done since the 80’s (70’s?).
I’m surprised there wasn’t more Who dialogue under this piece. To me that means that either people are more ambivalent about The Who than I thought, or The Who is more universally embraced than I thought.
And by the way Joe, Geddy Lee doesn’t write the lyrics…I know proper research is a bitch to do.
This is a joint response for Joe Daly and Steve Almond:
(I’m drinking red wine so watch out.)
This discussion calls to mind the yin/yang ideology embraced by Eastern Philosophers. It reminds me of an artist’s chiaroscuro. It reminds me of how I felt living on the East Coast: North/South. The Mind/Heart Dichotomy. Lovers and Fighters.
Lou Reed: North. Cerebral.
Greg Allman: South. Soulful.
So when I read these two articles, I hear a mind and a soul. Steve Almond: You win the argument. Joe Daly: You’re getting laid.
Please speak up if any of the above posters can play a musical instrument ! What the hell does that have to do with this topic and discussion ? Well i think you know. Most of the bands being trashed could care less and would get a good laugh if they were to read the opinions of there non peers. Learn how to actually compose and play music and suddenly it all comes crystal clear. Most of the bands listed above are of the Prog rock genre so i can see why non musically or musicians would feel this way. Be a little more eclectic it will do the world some good.
Too bad musicians can’t rely solely on musicians for album and ticket sales. (Though, arguably, even if they could, they would still starve since musicians are so often competitive, tribal creatures with nothing but smug, self righteous contempt and/or jealousy for 90% of their peers.)
I guess until some part of that changes, the opinions of non-musicans not only matter, but matter the most. At least if a given musician wants to make a living at his craft. Most of the bands listed here have plenty of non-musician fans so they would have the luxury of laughing at a handful of them. But they have beat the odds.
At the theoretical level, it’s not particularly different from being a writer. If you refuse to take your audience into consideration, you hurt nobody but yourself. You gamble. Either non-writers will happen to like what you’ve got, or they will find something else to read. Their lives won’t hurt for lack of you. The career of the writer who writes only for him/herself or other writers, though, will likely come out on the losing end often.
And I can play the piano and cello. Neither expertly, but functionally enough. Somehow, though, I suspect this is not what you mean.
You seem to know a lot about the inside thinking of musicians in general.( glad that you are in the know ). Well at least one band in the group mentioned above will not conform to what people want to hear except for themselves and when they do care i think it’s time to give it up. Some bands have that luxury and i guess that is what pisses a lot of people off. So please keep on the hating it only does the other fans some good. Who the hell in there right mind would want to be mainstream and have to conform to fly by night fans that will stop listening when you release one bad song or album ?If you are a true musician why would you want to make music solely for money ? That would suck. Now if you could do it your way and still be say one of the top five acts of all time in album sales that would be priceless.
Not musicians. All artists. They all think like this. Musicians aren’t special.
Well again you seem to know what every artist ( regardless of occupation ) is thinking and their personality traits are (stereotyping ). I wish i had that type of insight. In my life experiences I have found that people are either self righteous, contempt or whatever maybe an idoit ( not just based on occupation )or not , kind of based on how you were raised as a child so maybe iam a little naive and my reasoning is flawed. In any case i stay away from the people that i believe to be that way and Life is very good.
Life’s so good, you’re here, scolding people for what music they do or don’t like.
All based on your apparent belief that non-musicians aren’t qualified to have preferences in music.
I’m saying non-musicians cut the check. And you’re right. It’s up to the musician whether or not he cares about that. But whether he does or not, the reality doesn’t change. Climb down off your monitor, artist man, and embrace the hoi polloi. Or at least don’t harass them.
Musicians get Rush. I think you have to be a musician to really appreciate what they do; also, almost everything they’ve ever done (Moving Pictures excepted) has to grow on you first. You can’t appreciate it all in one listen.
Geddy Lee’s vocals are different, I’ll admit. No one is claiming he’s the greatest singer in the world, but I certainly like him more than, say, Robert Plant. Neil Peart’s lyrics can be hit or miss, too. If I hate the lyric, I’ll ignore it, but some of his songs are lyrical gems (Subdivisions comes to mind.)
Better than any other artist, they adapted to the changing times, and had several very excellent sounds to match the genres of the day.
If you’ve never listened to Rush, or never listened to it seriously, please humor me and download 2112 (just the song, for starters.) It is an absolutely life-changing, perfect track, one of the great songs in history. And yes, it’s 20 minutes long. Deal with it.
In conclusion, RUSH RULES!
You’re so right about musicians getting Rush. The guys I know who are really, really accomplished guitar players seem to have an unwavering admiration for Rush. I myself am coming up on 20 years of guitar playing, but I mainly stick to traditional blues-based rock, early metal, and the Guitar Player’s BFF: The Minor Pentatonic scale. But yeah, the guys I know who think and play out of the box, and focus on exotic scales and rhythms, seem to be very fluent in Rush-speak.
Thanks for your comments- I love hearing what you’ve said about preferring Geddy to Robert. Which is interesting, in view of the comment above, where Nick says he prefers old Rush to Zep. I’m trying to think of a band I like where the vocalist is a liability. There have got to be hundreds. Motorhead. There we go.
Well, you’ve taken the time to leave some great comments and stated a fair and interesting take on Rush. So I pledge that I will download 2112 and listen to it in its entirety, and get back to you.
Thanks again for dropping by.
And you are here saying that all artists are smug ,self riighteous and, jealous of their peers. Wow now if thats not a scolding i dont know what is.As far as harassing goes i dont believe that i have met anyone on this board personally so to say iam bashing anything other than a bunch of words typed on a computer screen would be less than genuine. Hell for all i know your name could jim and you might not be any of the things you say you are. My belief is that if you are going to bash or criticize someone you should at least have some common knowledge (in this case musical knowledge )of what you are bashing otherwise you are either lazy ,not that intelligent, mature or, just like to get a rise from watching other people disagree with your bashing . As far as the scolding remark goes take it for what it is . I guess some people that post here have some really thin skin and have a problem with free speech. The artists you are bashing dont have any say in the fun you are having at their expense.This is the reason people comment on these types of message boards.What else can be said? . Really is it that big of a deal if someone you dont know disagrees with you on an internet message board. It’s enough for me to know that there are people out there like you with your type of personality and views and hey like they say you learn something new everyday.
I think you should check what I said again. I said musicians are often like that, and they are.
I stand by the statement absolutely.
Everyone here is the absolute, undisputed authority on one thing: What they like. And you’re right. The musicians get no say in that. And they shouldn’t.
Rush is one of the few bands from my high school days that I still listen to regularly today. The first album I ever bought was Exit… Stage Left. They seem to have a album for almost any mood I am in. Mellow, angry, happy, sad, tired, excited, etc. but with 36 years worth of material, that is to be expected.
As for The Beatles I have a love/hate relationship with them. I hate their early poppy three minute singles. With MMT they started to make better music and each album after that being better than the last with Abbey Road being my all time favorite. John Lennon’s solo album are the only ones that really do anything for me though. Paul has some good solo songs but not good albums.
As for bands I should like but don’t, The Eagles is at the top of my list. Their are a couple of Joe Walsh songs I like but for the most part, their catalog of country rock does nothing for me.
Another is Ozzy. I like Ozzy era Sabbath but Ozzy solo is annoying.
My favorite artist that nobody likes is Frank Zappa. Humor does belong in music.
One thing I immediately liked about your comment was that you rattled off the moods that you can explore in a Rush song. That is the sign of a die hard fan. I think I tend to look to different bands/genres according to the moods I’m in. I don’t have many bands that I would turn to consistently for a spectrum of feelings. Maybe The Who. Wow- there’s a great debate in and of itself!
Love that you mentioned Lennon’s solo albums. I remember liking Double Fantasy when it came out. I might have to give that another listen.
Man, so many people are over the Eagles! I wonder if it’s because of the egos involved, or because of the generic sound. Both? I can take them or leave them. Right on about Joe Walsh, too. Listened to Rocky Mountain Way yesterday, actually.
Agree about Ozzy. My thinking on Ozzy is that because he himself doesn’t compose the music, his body of work lacks coherence because he’s always serving a different guitar player, let alone a different band. Have you ever seen “The Decline of Western Civilization: Part 2?” There’s a great scene where Ozzy’s doing an interview while he makes breakfast, and he’s got the shakes so bad he can’t pour the coffee. And this was at a time when he was still relatively lucid!
Zappa can rock it out, alright. Joe’s Garage is an unappreciated gem. Great call! And I totally agree that humor has a place (a very prominent one) in music. Thanks for your comments.
You must be on the “Rock and Roll” hall of fame panel. If not you should be, they don’t get it as well.
The Beatles and Rush,,, #1 and #3 all time gold studio albums. You are one of the reasons America is so great. You can make a post that has no merit what so ever and people will read it ! You can’t argue with numbers, the people have spoken. It’s nice that even the minority can get their voice out every now and then
Duke Ellington saidin and interview with a jazz writer, after slagging Sir Duke for liking Rock and Roll in the 50’s, “there is only two kinds of music – good and bad”. I really agree with that. However the “good” and “bad” music are very subjective, and widely vary from person to person.
Prime example – your #1 choices for band you don’t like, the Beatles, I think are great. Personally I never really got into the Stones – except for a few tracks and the “Let It Bleed” album. However, I have noticed through my life that Beatles fans can take or leave the Stones, and Stones fans can take or leave the Beatles. I have yet to meet someone that love BOTH. Most would have the complete collection of one, and a greatest hits of the other.
I think everyone will always have their opinion on what music YOU should like – Friends, relatives, rock critics, record labels – but there is only one person that can tell you what you should like – YOU. Never let others sway you to like something you really don’t – then you’re a fraud.
This is coming from a guy that always has these on his iPod – The Entire catalogue of Genesis, Barenaked Ladies and Joe Jackson, Half of Elvis Costello’s catalogue, Rush “Moving Pictures” and “2112”, Beatles “Abbey Road”, Miles Davis “Sketches Of Spain”, Springsteen “Born To Run”, Garth Brooks “in Pieces”, Bee Gees “Main Course” and The Knack “Get the Knack”. Most of those have always been an embarasment, but nowadays I don’t care. I know what I like and that’s that.
[…] Daly opened his “Five Bands I Should Like, but I Don’t. At All” piece by noting there is no accounting for […]
Joe – sorry I’m so late on the scene. I love how you write about music. Your style makes me want to sit in a cafe with you. I’d let you do all the talking, though, as I am not a very bright spark on the topic of music. I would, however, toast you on your assessment of Jay Z. I don’t get him either. Not one single bit.
[…] his submissions have ranged from a self-interview to a criticism of fellow contributor Joe Daley’s “Five Bands I Should Like, but I Don’t. At All.” The latter ruffled some feathers at TNB, and Steve accepted my offer to talk about the dust-up, Rock […]
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The Beatles suck butt.
[…] JOE DALY: erstwhile lawyer, marathon runner, yoga guy, music man. Loves Bruce Campbell…but not the Beatles. […]
Yeah, right. Suuuurrrrrrrrreeeee you read “Classic Rock” for the articles. I’ll bet it’s those beefcake pictures of Steven Tyler and Grace Slick.
While there are no right answers, music that really inspires me tends to make me want to screw, dance, cry or punch someone. There it is. – – – Totally. That is the best summation ever. Although, instead of “punch someone” I would say “smash something,” but it’s the same idea. “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Blow Up the Outside World” are two songs that can take me from a calm, peaceful hippy girl to a mosh pit hungry animal in just the first few chords. Similarly “Georgia On My Mind” (Willie Nelson’s cover) and “Unknown Legend” can take me from a whirling dervish of aggression to calmness effortlessly. The correlation between music and mood, for me, is an integral part of how I think about myself. And, yes, yes, yes – I, too, have a soundtrack for every phase of my life.
(BTW, I am, right this second, listening to Little Caesar’s cover of “Woodstock,” which you sent me. So fucking outstanding.)
If we ever meet, we’ll have to wedge out a couple of hours just to talk about music. I can not wait.
I can’t believe you don’t like The Beatles. But, I agree on all other accounts.
Which probably makes it sound like I haven’t gotten into anything heavy since the 90s (if you could even call Soundgarden heavy), which is kind of true. As my anger diminishes, so too does my need to hear smash it up music. That said, I will listen to any damn thing that Jack White puts his hands on – and a lot of what he gets into is loud and fast (though still pretty softcore.)
Took me five goes to read this all the way through.
Sadly, as soon as I saw The B*atles, that familiar red mist descended (sorry, Becky).
Great piece, as per, Joe, but I think you really need to work your way up from your unruffled indifference to the Fab Four (vomits copiously) to outright, pathological hatred.
I have and feel liberated.
More here: http://harrypaterson.co.uk/blog/all-you-need-is-hype
I hope it helps 😉
Best wishes, H.
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