December 24, 2012

Everybody Still Loves Lists!

I've been writing about Twilight every week for the past four months, and frankly, I need a break. So, no Twilight this week. Instead, I thought that, since I wrote up "Gangnam Style", I ought to do "Things I Like or Dislike Arranged into Groups of Five: Pop Music Edition".

So, everybody loves lists! They're meaningless and people always think they're wrong, but we keep making them anyway. So I'm putting forward a number of my own personal top five lists. (Almost) all choices are mainstream English-language pop music with (allegedly) A-list talent, since it's hard to get discussion going when I'm tossing out bands and songs no one's heard of. No, these are generally musical acts with a major recording contract, people that somebody thought the world needed to hear. It's a bit harder to do music, since my musical tastes have changed a lot more over time than my film tastes. After all, there was a time I thought Metallica was a good band. Of course, I also once believed in Young Earth Creationism, so clearly I was once a fucking moron.

And while I'm at it, let me take a moment to make it clear that angry white men suck. Unless you're a Beatle or German, don't make music if you're an angry white man. In fact, white people just suck at pop music in general, so, really, stop. Sure, there are a few good ones, but Katy Perry is too high a price to pay. For every Joan Jett, there are a hundred Avril Lavignes, so I still say we win in the long run if white people just give up pop. Stop making music, white people. You aren't any good at it.

Anyway, on with the lists:

The Best Songs of All Time, Ever, Objectively True and Correct:
5. OutKast, "B.O.B."--If only Saddam Hussein had had the funk, he might've been prepared for Bushamania to run wild on him.
4. Tom Waits, "God's Away on Business"--Okay I'm stretching the category "mainstream pop" to squeeze Waits in, but come on, no discussion of musical greatness can exclude him.
3. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, "All Along the Watchtower"--When even the song's original artist acknowledges the greatness--and when said original artist is Bob Dylan--who am I to argue?
2. The Beatles, "I am the Walrus"--Any song that drops a reference to the suitably mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe has to make the list.
1. Rammstein, "Sonne"--Music to invade Poland by.

The Worst Songs of All Time:
5. Ke$ha, "Tik Tok"--Do you enjoy listening to somebody else tell you about this great party they went to? No? Then why listen to somebody sing about it?
4. Simon and Garfunkel, "Sound of Silence"--Silence has no sound, GTFO.
3. Warrant, "Cherry Pie"--What are we, 11 years old here? A song about a hot girl...who's a pie? So, like, you want to eat her? A friend of mine in high school had a guy come on to her with the line "You smell like dinner", and that was less creepy than this.
2. Jennifer Lopez, "Jenny from the Block"--You're who now? And what block? Where? And why do I give a fuck? I don't.
1. Fergie, "My Humps"--There is no God.

So Bad It's Good Songs:
5. STYX, "Mr. Roboto"--Pretentious Japanese lyrics in a concept album track? You don't say!
4. Britney Spears, "Toxic"--When pre-adolescent girls bounce around singing these thinly-veiled-allusions-to-sex lyrics while their parents look on approvingly, you know the world deserves to burn. I'll be over here playing my violin.
3. Seal, "Kiss From a Rose"--Sappy, "romantic" pap at its most drippy, but damn it, Seal's voice makes it work somehow.
2. Duran Duran, "Hungry Like the Wolf"--Cheesy lyrics, cheesy synthesizer, but man, it do have a catchy beat!
1. Lady Gaga, "Bad Romance"--ra ra ah ah ah / ro ma ro ma ma / ga ga oo la la / Want your Bad Romance!

I Liked This Song the First Time I Heard It, When It Was Called...
5. Chicago, "25 or 6 to 4", when it was called, "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You"--I know! Let's take a good, simple love song and put it on our record, only we make the title and lyrics stupid and nonsensical. Brilliant!
4. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Dani California" when it was called "Mary Jane's Last Dance"--Tom Petty by way of surfer-dude southern Californian rock-rap. Wrong answer, McFly!
3. Oasis, "Step Out", when it was called "Uptight (Everything's Alright)"--Way to steal from a blind guy, Oasis. This generation's Beatles--sure.
2. "Ice Ice Baby", when it was called "Under Pressure"--Stealing from two of the most beloved musical acts in pop music history? No wonder Ice tried to commit suicide. (Shocker, He Failed It.)
1. "Born This Way", when it was called "Express Yourself"--We all know the Gag recycles other people's baselines, but really, entire songs now?

The Most Overrated Bands:
5. Van Halen--When you're named after the world's most overrated guitarist, you're a shoe-in for this list. If you only need two functional fingers to play your guitar solo, you're Doing It Wrong.
4. The Grateful Dead--These guys made like one song anybody has even heard of, and they're legends of rock? The song blows anyhow. "Truckin'"? Moar like "Suckin'", amirite?
3. The Red Hot Chili Peppers--They only have two songs: "Fast, Rap-Rock Red Hot Chili Peppers Song" and "Slow, Soulful Acoustic-Based Red Hot Chili Peppers Song". Point to any of their songs that isn't one of those two. (You can't.)
2. Fleetwood Mac--A band made up entirely of people who want to sleep with Stevie Nicks. If only they could've made some decent music while they were at it.
1. The Eagles--I hate the fuckin' Eagles, man!

The Worst Artists:
5. The Black-Eyed Peas--Not as disgusting as actual black-eyed peas, but pretty close.
4. Steve Perry--Journey were a decent Led Zeppelin wannabe until this pasty girly-man started shrieking power ballads to stadium crowds. As a result, while people still listen to Zeppelin, nobody listens to Journey but aging hipsters with receding mullets.
3. Michael Bolton--There was nothing wrong with this name, until that no-talent ass clown became famous and starting winning Grammys.
2. Coheed and Cambria--Taught me that recording yourself throwing your guitar into a trash compactor could sell records.
1. Eminem--Stop making white people think they can rap. They can't, and you can't. Oh, and you're name is stupid.

The Bestest Artists:
5. Busta Rhymes--I don't know what his songs are about, if they're even about anything, but you can't argue with the speed, the flow, and yes, the Rhymes.
4. Black Sabbath--Okay, so they're responsible for the existence of metal, but shall we blame the great for the utter failure of their imitators? That's like blaming the Emperor for the existence of Stephen Harper.
3. The Smiths--Wait, a pasty ambisexual English guy crooning about how he can't get laid and a good guitarist? That's enough to make the list right there, but then their song also appeared in a LeVar Burton TV horror movie! What more could you want?
2. Mr. Bungle--Took pop music right to the edge of creativity while still being recognizable pop (maybe over that edge on occasion). Had their mainstream success sabotaged by Anthony Kiedis, so they must have done something right.
 1. The Beatles--Yeah, yeah, it's obvious. Look, when one band invented popular music as we know it, they kind of take the cake, hoss.

Most Overrated Songs:
5. Don McLean, "American Pie"--Just what the world needs, more pussy-white-guy folk music. Any song with the line "Drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry" deserves instant death.
4. Blondie, "Heart of Glass"--One reviewer said it "represented the rise of dance music in pop culture, and the transition from the ‘70s to the ‘80s" without adding that that makes it terrible.
3. Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody"--Simmer down there, Sandra Dee. The category is most overrated, not bad. It's a good song, but when a non-fan such as myself can name a half-dozen better Queen songs off the top of my head, it's overrated. Deal.
2. The Who, "My Generation"--Oh, you don't like the previous generation, and they don't like you? Maybe it's because you can't sing or play a guitar worth a fuck. You're the Baby Boomers, the most coddled and infantilized generation of the modern age, lashing out at the Greatest Generation that killed Hitler. Do the world a favor and die of shame.
1. Guns'N'Roses, "November Rain"--This monstrosity is responsible for making people think Axl Rose has talent. These people are wrong. A passable guitar solo can't excuse 8 minutes of crap.

With all this pop fluff floating about, I figure there should be at least one category for real music, so:

The Best Actual Music:
5. Johann Sebastian Bach, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor--Even its blatant overuse in adding atmosphere to shitty horror films can't diminish the power of this music. Fear the organ!
4. Ludvig van Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 14--Yeah, so, Beethoven hated it. Go here to see why I don't care.
3. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Piano Sonata No. 11--The world was not to see the like of Mozart's unparalleled musical genius again until the coming of Barry Gibb.
2. Franz Liszt, Hungarian Rhapsody, No. 2--Beatlemania, you say? Liszt did it first.
1. Ludvig van Beethoven, The Ninth Symphony--Oh, bliss. Bliss and Heaven!

There! I hope you enjoyed this installment of "Things I Like or Dislike Arranged into Groups of Five". If you agree with any of my choices--and God help you if you do--please leave a comment. If you don't, then I kindly invite you to leave a long, angry rant explaining that I'm fat and stupid and probably gay and/or a furry that in no way addresses anything I said. Just know that I won't care and will only use your weak criticism as an opportunity to reveal my genetically superior intellect.


  1. I for one, don't like list. Everytime I hear something I like, it's my most favorite. I'm a country listener, so a lot of those I don't know, but I do know Sweet cherry pie. I don't like cherries, therefor, don't like cherry pie anyway. I don't think you fat or gay. I'm surprised though no mention of KISS. You know who's favorite band.

  2. I could've listened to any given country station for 20 minutes to fill up the "Worst Songs" list, but I prefer some variety.

    I try to avoid mentioning KISS wherever possible, especially when talking to someone musically deadened enough to like KISS.