Monday, June 27, 2011

I Confess

I spend a lot of time writing about things I like. I have been tempted to go the snarky route and pick on artists or music I hate or deride trends that I find laughable but, for the most part, if I know something isn't for me, I avoid it. If I hate something, I generally prefer to leave it alone and focus on what I enjoy. The end result just leaves me feeling better. That said, there are some musical sacred cows I feel I must come clean and blaspheme. I apologize but also know I cannot be alone:

Eric Clapton
Yes, I dig Cream. I also like the Yardbirds, the Bluesbreakers and even Derek and the Dominos. But, somehow, I cannot stomach Clapton solo. A lot of it is the voice. Even more is the white British blues overplayed to the hilt. A hell of a lot of it is the tepid songwriting. I have tried. Again and again. I know the man has guitar abilities I cannot even begin to dream of and still I have a hard time acknowledging Clapton as a great. It seems to me he's only as good as the musicians with whom he is paired. And God forbid that's Babyface. Wow, that feels better.

David Lee Roth-era Van Halen
I own all of these records. I still enjoy the hits. I really, really appreciate Eddie Van Halen's guitar. I hate David Lee Roth's squealing, his preening onstage and, even more, the inane cover versions recorded during his tenure with the band. I know they have a new album coming out and I will probably buy it on release day. If they tour near me I will probably try to attend. I may even enjoy both. Still, having heard Sammy vs. David, I will stand up and proudly proclaim Sammy's first three records with the band - as whole albums, beginning to end - superior to any recorded with Roth. If I have to pick a Van Halen record to throw on the stereo it is almost always 5150 or For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. If it's a Roth record, nine times out of ten it's Fair Warning.

Mötley Crüe
I know this is going to earn me plenty of hatred, but I never got it. Any of it. I don't care if the first album was "rough" and "real," it still never worked for me. The image, to be sure, was compelling at the outset. I find the actual songs to be wholly lacking in substance, none have aged well, and the band's multiple breakups and reunions - and the resultant output - are even less interesting than Kiss'. While I know they brought metal to the mainstream masses it still doesn't mean it was good and I wish we would stop encouraging them.

The Doors
I'm Me!
Can you dig it.
My meat is real.
(excerpted from, yes, real
Jim Morrison poetry)
This one hurts most of all because there was a time I drank the Kool-Aid. I went through a Doors phase in high school that lasted at least a year or so when it seems like I would listen to nothing else. I bought books of Jim Morrison's poetry, read them and, I am sure, proclaimed their greatness. Someone eventually handed me some Danzig, telling me, "this dude sounds like Morrison" and I never looked back. I tried pulling out the Doors records a few months back and felt wave after wave of shame for my mindless fandom. The pretentious, ponderous lyrics....the incessant, overpowering keyboards (with far superior guitar buried beneath)...even the quality pop numbers have worn thin. It's like that buddy you knew in college who you thought was a real deep-thinker and a bona fide artist. You catch up with him ten years later and ask what he's doing. He feeds you all the old lines and tells you he just finished work on a Hal Hartley film. And then you check the credits and see it was as a caterer. I hold no one's love of the Doors against them but would be surprised to find anyone who didn't outgrow it.

1 comment:

  1. YES! I can NOT believe what you said about Hagar vs. Roth. I feel the exact same way and I have actually received death threats for stating that view. haha! Old school Roth fans are crazy. :D