There’s Nothing On The Radio, Part One

As you have no doubt noticed, I have a bit of a thing for music…there are really very few limits to what I will listen to at least once…in fact, I think that I have one of the most unique tastes in music among people my age…just take a look at the list of bands that I have listed on MySpace as being favorites of mine…I had to get a scroll box just so it wouldn’t fill up the whole page!

That said, there are several artists that I have never gotten into…the guys over at the All Songs Considered Blog just did a piece, “My Confession”, about bands that they should love, but just can’t stand… their five selected reverse-guilty pleasures were The Beach Boys, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, The Cure and Joy Division…naturally, I would contest each and every one of those as you likely will the artists I pick, but I remember that everyone is more than entitled to their own tastes (something that I hope you will remember as you continue reading)…
So for someone like me, who seemingly has a taste for everything in the history of music, what artists have I just flat-out never liked?…well…

1. Radiohead: While I usually qualify my mentioning that I don’t like Radiohead by either saying that I liked Thom Yorke’s solo album, The Eraser, or that I like the Talking Heads song “Radio Head”, I have just never understood the appeal of the alienating art-rockers…I often take exception to critics and journalists who regard recent albums and artists as being classics…I understand that the word ‘classic’ is meant to denote something of universal worth (which is inherently a flawed term with which to refer to something as arbitrary as music), but I haven’t been able to comprehend why OK Computer has been ranked so high among the top albums of all time…what with the fancy-pants release of In Rainbows a few weeks ago (and my subsequent state of being the only Y-Rock DJ who didn’t go crazy over it), it’s getting to the point where I’m resenting Radiohead’s fame more than the band themselves…

2. U2: Though they have changed their sound a few times over the years, Bono and company consistently make music that I do not like…I’m all for a band being politically active, especially if the cause directly impacts the band itself (such as the Manic Street Preachers putting a quarter of their royalties into an account being saved for their guitarist, who disappeared in 1995)…there’s just something about Bono talking about how poverty is such a big problem in Africa, and then U2 stages another elaborate tour with giant television screens and a reflective lemon…nice one, guys…

3. Led Zeppelin: The first CD’s I ever got was a set of Queen’s greatest hits…I remember hearing that Queen wanted to emulate some band called Led Zeppelin, and this could be heard especially well on their debut, Queen…I used to listen to WMGK back in the day when I had the radio on in my room, and was scared of Echoes coming on late at night on XPN (in fact, I’m still not entirely comfortable with Echoes to this day), and I no doubt heard some Zeppelin at one point or another…as I got into bands like Pink Floyd and The Who, it seemed like I was going to follow the classic rock road right to Houses Of The Holy…it also seemed that just about everyone at camp loved Zeppelin (this was before anyone knew who Radiohead were)…Though I like The Yardbirds, who gave Jimmy Page his start, I never liked the blues/prog/protometal/classic/AOR stylings…aaaaAAAaaaahh, Ah!

4. Jimi Hendrix: Speaking of camp, it’s a widely known fact that Jewish summer camps are full of two things: awkwardly named make-out areas, and hippies with acoustic guitars…often, you might find both in the same place…on some rare occasions, though, someone will have the nerve to take an electric guitar up to camp…this person will inevitably play Hendrix’s version of “The Star Spangled Banner” round about 4th of July…Now, I do know someone who did this, and I hope that, if he reads this, he can joke along with me, but I have never been able to listen to Jimi Hendrix…as I have heard more and more ‘jam bands’, I have disliked them more and more…in fact, as big a fan of the Grateful Dead as I am, I have always preferred their studio albums to the extended jams that were staples of live sets…that said, Hendrix was a musician who, not unlike Jim Morrison or Janis Joplin, has been lauded after his short life as being the ‘greatest’ at what he did…as often as I have heard Hendrix’s songs (again, on WMGK), I can’t stand them one bit…

5. The Police, post-Zenyatta Mondatta: So, this may be a bit of a stretch, but I am always confused as to how a band goes from the reggae-punk outbursts of Outlandos d’Amour to the elevator-pop of Ghost In The Machine in less than 3 years…on top of that, their best known song, the creepy and lame “Every Breath You Take”, came from their last album, and overshadowed everything else the trio had ever done…gems like “Masoko Tanga”, “The Bed’s Too Big Without You” and “Voices Inside My Head” go overlooked in favor of the family movie trailer favorite “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and the supposedly philosophy- and literature-driven lyrics of Synchronicity…thankfully, the band that performs as The Police today can’t do too many of the thickly-layered tracks from their final two records, as they take the stage as the bare-bones trio of their heyday…maybe this will encourage people to listen to their better albums for a change…

I will most definitely be doing one of these again, because it’s easy enough to gush over bands that you like, but it takes a bit of know-how to come up with real reasons as to why you don’t like the bands you don’t care for…

E.

Lyric of the Time:
Oh I’ve hoped for comfort
But I’ve never felt too safe
And in this hard life
I’ve had to navigate through
Unexhausted
Has been my virtue

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~ by E. on November 24, 2007.

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