A positive start to the New Year

Actually, I’m not sure if it’s positive or double-negative. But to start the new year, I’m going to deflate some snark.

The subject is Blender‘s 50 Worst Artists in Music History. I see J.D. Considine contributed, so it won’t be horrible. For those who don’t J.D. — he’s the guy who used to do the witty “Short Takes” reviews in the late lamented Musician magazine, and he’s best-known for a three-letter review of GTR. The review: SHT.

Off we go …

50. Iron Butterfly. Hands up if you’ve heard anything other than Inna Gadda da Vida. OK, that’s … none of you. I think the only people who’ve heard more than that are reviewers who dump on them. Maybe they’re right, or maybe they’re just not particularly substantial.

49. Toad the Wet Sprocket. Not my favorite, but in this era of post-emo whining (The Fray and every other Grey’s Anatomy band, I’m looking in your direction), they’re going to dump on Toad? At least they can sing and write a few guitar riffs. (Aside: Mrs. MMM is en route to New York to smite the Blender staff.)

48. Master P. I don’t listen to enough hip-hop to judge.

47. Goo Goo Dolls. It’s a pity that they’ve trended soft since Iris, but they’re always listenable and occasionally good.

46. Spin Doctors. They don’t like jam bands, and yet the Grateful Dead isn’t on the list. That’s gutless. If you hate the genre, take down the generals. Not the guys following in their footsteps who distilled the experimentation down to some digestible pop singles. Pocket Full of Kryptonite is a solid album. Aside from, yes, Two Princes. That was a little repetitive. It tended to repeat itself. It used the same riff over and over. It was repetitive. But the actual “jam” on the album was a good one.

45. Gipsy Kings. Oh, they just put this in to annoy people over 35.

44. Manowar. I’ll take their word for it, but frankly, a bass solo version of Flight of the Bumblebee sounds like something I need to hear.

43. Mike + The Mechanics. I’ll grant them The Living Years, which is a messy compilation of father-son cliches.

42. Rick Wakeman. Let’s get something straight right now. Rock critics feel threatened by rock musicians who can play classical music well. Period. Feel free to skip some of Wakeman’s solo epics if they’re not up your alley, but don’t hate him ’cause he’s skilled. Just hate the capes he used to wear.

41. Whitesnake. Conceded.

I’ll get back to this. I’ll end up conceding some of the top 40, because some hatreds are universal. But staying positive isn’t about the end result. It’s about the journey. (Journey, incidentally, not listed here. But they’re referenced.)


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