Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Inspired By Anger

OK, perhaps 'Anger' is kind of harsh... Maybe, 'Inspired by Rock-Snob Geekery to Disagree with Dissenting Opinions at All Costs' would be a more apt title... Either way, I'll take inspiration where I can get it, and this is just as good a source as any...

http://thephoenix.com/Supplements/2008/50States/

The attached link is kind of a train-wreck of what Boston area hipsters do when killing time at the local Starbucks. For the most part, I can 'grain of salt' this kind of stuff and remember that not everyone is as savvy as I am when it comes to musical taste... I continue on knowing that few are as full of themselves. That makes me feel better, and that is, after all, what REALLY matters.

Ummm... A Point! THAT'S what I'm missing here! Below is a break down of both the head-against-a-wall inducing errors, and the small handful of blind-squirrels-found-some-nuts descent choices of the whole list. Feel free to give each one a read, complete with the somewhat humorous and always snarky rationales behind them, but at the end of the day, I'm sure you'll agree that some, if not most of these are WAY off base.

As a result, I shall begin working on an epic post, not quite 0f 'Why The Grammy's Blow' proportions, but still, larger, and more researched than the average. It may take a few days, some teeth gnashing, a fair amount of gut wrenching guilt, and likely more than one mistake along the way, but I'm going to assemble my OWN 50 state list...

As an aside, I tend to not believe that artists are deserving of a spot on MY list just because they currently happen to be playing free shows in crappy Midwestern bars, so as a result, there will be NO 'best new band' by state. Instead, I'll go Best Band, Best Artist, and Honorable Mention, going to, in my opinion, the most under rated band or solo performer from the state.

But first, before I partake in my grand nationwide tour, it's time to lambaste others for their poor taste and obvious lack of effort...

Florida: Lynyrd Effing Skynyrd! Off the top of my head, I can't shoot out an alternate Florida band, but I guaran-damn-tee that I will research this to the ends of the earth until I find a suitable replacement... Lynyrd Skynyrd will never, EVER, be the best of anything, except perhaps the best example of why being spontaneously stricken deaf might not be so bad... Oh no, wait, that one goes to our NEXT misapplied entrant...

Delaware: George Thorogood... Yep... THAT one... I realize Delaware is a painfully small state that likely is not as rich in musical influences as say New York, California, Massachusetts, Washington... Well, probably anywhere except maybe Wyoming, but from where I'm standing, this guy couldn't even win Wyoming... Earlier on this very blog I opined about the grave mistakes we made as a people during the 80's when it came to what is actually entertaining. In many ways we have made up for those mistakes by learning from them. Please don't set back 20+ years of human development by reintroducing the youth of the nation to 'Bad To The Bone'. I'd go so far as to say that the Thorogood Crisis matches, if not EXCEEDS, Global Warming as the #1 threat to humanity by and large in the coming years. Only YOU can prevent drunken bar-room bravado...

New York: The list of 'misses' could go on and on until it occupies over 75 of the total 153 entrants on the list (They gave DC it's own list, a bold move representing the un-represented...) I fear if I break down every single error in detail, I'll overshadow the importance of this incredibly pathetic choice. As far as solo artists go, New York has got to be top-of-the-heap when it comes to potential suitors, especially since the list liberally chose the states in which performers ascended, as opposed to just where they were born. That being the case, two performers, lauded quite heavily in the sites comments section, Billy Joel and Paul Simon would both have made excellent, almost untouchable choices for the award... So naturally, they went with Mary J. Blige...

Ummm... WHAT!!?!

Perhaps the boys in Boston were just trying to prove they're 'Urban'... If that's the case, I could have let them slide with Biggie, or even Puffy but give me a break... If the Faboo Ms. MJB happens upon this little nugget whilst ego-surfing, I'm sure she would immediately call her publicist and ask how much it cost to get thrown onto the list... I'd go so far as to say that even Mama Blige, if she is still with us, would not agree that her daughter trumps Rhythm Simon or The Piano Man. I'm not one for Internet cliches, but this is definitively an EPIC FAIL...

OK, enough with the venom... There were some good choice on the list. Some of them seemingly obvious, going with The Beach Boys for California, REM and Ray Charles for Georgia, letting the people make the choice between Bob Dylan and Prince for Minnesota. All this proves is that at least one person on the staff of The Phoenix has actually listed to music at some point in their lifetime. Admittedly though, there were some great calls outside of the no-brainers...

Connecticut: They made the right choice going with Liz Phair as the top solo performer. It's too bad they then spent her half paragraph calling her a sell out... No matter, I can overlook reasoning, at least they made the right call. One commenter felt John Mayer would have been a better choice. They are wrong. Another commenter said 'what has john mayer given to this world besides headaches and diarrhea?' They are right. Huzzah, mattmatt... Huzzah indeed...

Idaho: I'm roughly as familiar with acts from Idaho as I am with the up-and-coming acts currently tooling around Baghdad. That being the case, I was taken aback at the opportunity to agree with their selection of Josh Ritter. I happened upon Mr. Ritter whist watching an episode of Letterman and was impressed enough to seek out his recordings. An A+ for Dave who's show also introduced me to one of my all time favorite Canadian rock ensembles, Metric. Kudos Mr. Letterman on a job well done and Kudos Phoenix for finding Idaho's hidden treasure... Hold on... I smell a new Huell Howser series in the making...

Texas: Is there a state that screams southern-fried-rock louder than Tejas? As a result, you'd expect the shit-kickingest of the bunch, perhaps, ZZ Top, to top the list of Texas rock royalty... I expected it, I expected to think 'ZZ Top (or some other ridiculous rock cliche)! Seriously! How lame!' Instead, just as I was about to shut down the whole list without giving the last eight entrants their just viewings, The Phoenix, pardon the allusion, rose from the ashes of it's own Blige-induced delirium and selected an unsung rock gem oft praised but less-oft listened to. A personal favorite, The 13th Floor Elevators... If you like psych-rock and are not familiar with Roky Erikson and the boys of the 13th floor, then do yourself a favor and pick up their The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. It'll rock the whammy bar clean off your particular axe of choice... If you are not a fan of 60's psychedelia, then go away, square...

Much like the badness, I shan't list all the goodness for fear it will dilute just how bad the overall badness really is. Look for yourself, for every slight twinge of joy, there's a kick-in-the-balls dose of pain. For every soft, soothing affirmation that you haven't slipped into your own personal Twilight Zone, there is a hip-for-hip's sake blues legend carted out like a 'History of Rock and/or Roll' text book. For example, and I promise, this'll be the last one, either Mississippi or Tennessee NEEDS to pay homage to The King. Personally, I am not a huge Elvis Presley fan... For my money he's the 2nd best recording artist named Elvis... However, I respect the awesome influential power that earned him the moniker King. I know music aficionados everywhere are scared of losing their geek cards if they speak ill of Robert Johnson or Aretha Franklin, and I don't mean to buck the hipster anti-establishment, but neither of them is Elvis Presley. There. I said it. He didn't write his own songs, and was a merely passing guitar player. In spite of that, he was the biggest musician of his era, and debatably the biggest solo musician of all time. If Michael Jackson is worthy of inclusion both as a member of The Jackson 5 AND as a solo artist (a cop-out I intend to remedy), than Elvis should have earned a nod in either his birth state, or the state where he made his name...

With that, the bitching and subsequent moaning is at an end. Next time, if the task doesn't kill me, look for MY list of Best Band, Best Solo Artist, and the new 3rd category Honorable Mention by state in my next gargantuan blog post... Google don't fail me now!!

6 comments:

CSD Julie said...

I would like to say that the B-52s should get an honorable mention for Georgia and that Arizona should go to Jimmy Eat World and the Gin Blossoms. My two cents...

OCKerouac said...

GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!

All of those suggestions will likely come to fruition. If only you could give me some help with bands from Alaska...

CRwM said...

In time, little one, you will come to understand the glory of Lynyrd Skynyrd. And the Drive-By Trucker's shall rejoiceth and you shall no longer hate life and joy. And then, my son, you shall be a man.

OCKerouac said...

Whilst my seething hatred may ebb over time, I can't see ever actually enjoying the merits of a band that can sing 'Ooh That Smell' without even a hint of irony...

I can still get my trucker-rock fix in the form of Golden Earring's Radar Love, and I celebrate the entire Blue Oyster Cult catalog... Perhaps that's my singular issue with Skynyrd... Not enough songs about Godzilla...

Eric said...

Mary J Blige... really ?

OCKerouac said...

Update**

Through the first 4 states... Well, I traded Alaska, they're no longer ours... But through the first four posts I have agreed with but one of the 'annointed lists' picks...

Johnny Cash IS Arkansas music, but past that, they've got it all wrong...