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I'll fill out the new bracket over the weekend, but I can't let Schleuse's spectacularly dismissive remarks about Rod the Mod go unanswered. Now, Rod Stewart as we now know him -is- every bit as "appalling" as Schleuse says -- at some point during the mid-70s, he morphed into a pandering, bleached-out cheeseball, and he remains so today.
Before that, he was a remarkable, soulful performer: a brilliant singer and bandleader who filled his albums with excellent originals and unerringly well-chosen covers. I realize that it might be close to impossible to listen to anything Stewart has done with an objective ear, without the image of Mr. Da-Ya-Think-The-Great-American-Songbook-Is-Sexy dancing before your eyes. But if you can somehow get past that, and listen to any of Rod's first four solo albums with an open mind, you might be surprised how well they hold up.
(That said, I will admit that "Maggie May" has been horribly overplayed on oldies and classic-rock radio. But there's a reason for that - it's a great song, and will probably be #1 in my bracket as well.)
Moving to the US ruined his music pretty much. Not sure if it was the country, the new record company or just him, but it certainly got a lot worse.
That being said, he did produce 1 good song after 1975 in my not so humble opinion. Namely, Young Turks.. I can just listen to that song forever.
Well, if I had to be dismissive, at least I did it spectacularly!
OK, I concede the possibility that Rod turned into the cringeworthy fellow he is today in the mid-70s, and I may have been guilty of a "Paul-McCartney-was-in-a-band-before-Wings?" kind of generational myopia.
My musical tastes first became coherent when I was a teenager (shocking, I know) in the 80s listening to a lot of indie stuff: R.E.M., the Replacements, the dB's, X, the Blasters. In that atmosphere, Rod Stewart was pure evil--stuffy, pretentious, corporate, and so on.
My musical tastes have broadened a great deal since then. I would never have believed in 1986 that one day I'd enjoy Elton John or Carole King (to take two of Rod's rough contemporaries), but I did eventually learn that you can't just dismiss music that was written in 1971 (or 1963, or 1934) without trying to appreciate it in the context of its time.
But garage is still my core aesthetic. And I still hate "Maggie May."
Why? An example:
There's not much of a melody, the mandolin is cheesy, and I just viscerally recoil from Rod's voice...but the best thing about the song is probably the lyrics. However, here are two couplets from the song that make it unlistenable for me: "all you did was wreck my bed / and in the morning kick me in the head," and "laughed at all of your jokes / my love you didn't need to coax." If you keep torturing syntax just for the sake of a rhyme, I'm outta here.
Oh, well, Harold--I'm sure you're gonna hate one or two of my favorites, too. So it goes.
Yeah but I don't mind stuff like 'Forever Young','Broken Arrow','Rhythm Of My Heart','Have I told you lately' and all that stuff...
That song Maggie May. I swear half of the stuff on that album sounds exactly like Maggie. I liked his contemperary stuff back when I was in Jr High but he never really made anything great in his solo career. But if he doesn't mind having 70 year old groupies swooning over his standards records what can you do? Him and Phil Collins are just the sadest looking rock stars I've ever seen. I know Elvis Costello likes to dwindle into soft rock and jazz because of his wife but at least he still has his supporters playing his rock records.
In a perfect world, everybody would buy the recent Faces box set and elevate the band to the level of awe where The Rolling Stones currently reside (and deservedly so).
Of course, in a perfect world, Rod would've never lost it or, barring that, would've retired years ago.
As another indie rock loving kid growing up in the 80s, I hated the man. I never knew he had such a fine past in Jeff Beck's band and the Faces, much less that he had solo songs as wonderful as Mandolin Wind or You Wear It Well...
I still can't convince my 22-year-old girlfriend he was ever anything but the joke he now is, though. Of course, at that age, I couldn't be convince either, so who knows?
And sadly, his syndrome spreads. Even Liz Phair had a great album once...
It was called Whitechocolatespaceegg. It certainly wasn't Guyville. Her infamous s/t record was the most played record on KCRW so I wouldn't exactly call that selling out.
It was Guyville, but thanks for playing.
Sell out or not, that self-titled album was second-rate Avril... *sniff*
People only say that because it was produced by the same guy who produced by Avril's record. It sounds nothing like her. Sheryl Crow maybe. It certainly beats Guyville any day. I came out when Pavement were big and I guess it was trendy to sing like crap so Guyville became an instant success. S/T was the album that seperated music fans from music snobs. If Polly Harvey had someone like Linda Perry produce her record people would be saying the same thing about her record. Whitechocolatespaceegg was her swansong.
People who know nothing about producers and whatnot commented to me that her first single from her self-titled album sounded like Avril. Many of those people had never heard a Phair tune before.
Why do I dislike the album if it isn't for reasons of smelling a sell-out?
The lyrics were inane and posturing, the production too-slickly layered and already dated, and what her voice gained in technical ability it lost in expressiveness.
Actually, my Rod comparison is sounding more apt by the day!
I respect we differ here. I state my opinions forcefully, as do you. Good show.
However, you base too many of your assumptions on the underlying idea that people liked the first album and disliked the last one for reasons other than the quality of the albums themselves, and that borders on a factual claim, one I believe is false. I accept your opinions at face value. Why do you deny this to others?
But you yourself said people commented to you that she sounded like Lavigne. Unless you've heard any of her songs you can't claim s/t sounds like Avirl's. It'd be like comparing Avril to Alanis. They both grew up in Canada. Avril says she was a big fan of hers. There's no camparing it to Liz' s/t. She had to change with the times. If she made an album called Exile part 2 people would call her a cop out. She made a fantastic 3rd record that people insisted on comparing to her overrated debut so decided to leave that part of her style behind. She became frustrated so she became the women that made one of the most overhyped records in history created a glossy comeback record which became the most underrated records of the decade.
Now you want to talk about sellouts you have to bring up Aerosmith. This band will perform for anyone, anywhere, anytime, any crappy movie soundtrack.
I'm with Bangs. I'm no Phair fan and haven't really liked Whitechocolate or Down to the city, down to the sea (something like that..I heard that one a handful of times and thought it was OK but not great) but I sat up and took notice with GUYVILLE.
I don't HATE the self-titled, I think "Why Can't I?" is darn catchy, but I can see why those who love the GUYVILLE sound hate it (and vice versa). And as someone who listens to the occasional Avril tune, I hear the similarities myself (and I didn't realize Phair used Avril's knob-twiddler until it was brought up in this thread..)
I think you're getting your Liz Phair and PJ Harvey mixed up there, Greg ol' boy.
P.S. "Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea" is one of the best albums this decade. How did this thread go from Rod Steward to PJ Harvey?
Not sure Rocky, I was looking at the Phair thread when I replied.
As far as Rod, I like his early stuff from the 70s best ("Handbags and Gladrags" is probably my favorite), a smidge of the 80s, and pretty much nothing after "Downtown Train" (yes it's heresy for Tom Waits fans but I do like Rod's cover of that..). I've not heard any of the Faces' work yet (you may commence the stoning..
Anything's better than Tom Waits.
Anything's better than Tom Waits
Anything? Are you sure?
Except for Pavement, Fergie, Justin Timberlake, Depeche Mode, New Order, anyone in that synth rock genre, Van Halen and anyone involved in hair or nu metal.