Monday, August 5, 2013

LA Weekly's 20 Worst Bands Of All Time - Huh?

A lot of the criticism is baseless, but lists like this are automatically funny an invariably include at least one artist you believe deserves to be skewered.

On the other hand such lists also point out a common thinking error.  With music, or anythi
ng creative, one's failure to "get" something doesn't make it bad.  Sometimes the reason you don't get it is that there isn't much to get.  Other times the fault really does lie with the listener.

I also know that lists like this are not to be taken too seriously.  They are just meant to be funny, maybe pointing out how something that once seemed cool doesn't anymore.

I totally understand why a lot of people don't like Rush.  They can seem pretentious and their combination of heaviness, complexity and poppiness is. . .unique and perhaps and acquired taste.  But does anybody honestly believe they aren't "good," whatever that means?  Isn't the exact opposite what pushes some people away?  Is Rush actually too "good" in some ways. . .too technical, too involved, too complex?

...and bashing The Sex Pistols?  What can you say about a band that set out to be offensive?  Duh!  You weren't supposed to like them!  Their "fans" were (and are) the people in on the joke, enjoying the indignation of everybody else.  Steve Jones actually is a good guitarist, and was then, which made the original Pistols records just listenable enough to pull off the rest of the scam.  If John Lydon (who also went on to do entirely different things) reads LA Weekly's rant against his old band I bet he smirks and says to himself, "Gotcha!"

Many of the bands in the list have sold huge numbers and packed venues, some of them over decades.  No, I don't think commercial success is an accurate measure of musical quality, but I think it is incredibly rare for an act to sell millions of albums and tour successfully over the course of years and be truly bad.  Yes, stupid people who know shit about music do buy recordings and concert tickets, but there are not enough stupid people in the world to explain the success of The Eagles.  Will I ever buy another Eagles record?  Probably not.  But it's nice pop music.  People enjoy it.  Desperado is a good song.  It sounds sappy on first blush but listen closely.  There is actually a lot going on.

Don't get me wrong.  I strongly dislike a lot of the bands slagged in this LA Weekly piece.  I just don't think they are actually "bad," whatever that means.

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