Go to the NEW FORUM
Thanks schleuse for survivor: another fun and thrilling game! The game is tough and when our favourite artists have been voted out, I'm pretty sure that many of us will feel the need to express our love for these artists.
Therefore, I have created this place where we can speak in favour of those who are not longer in the game.
Welcome, fans of Missy Elliott, Captain Beefheart, Eagles, Grateful Dead and/or AC/DC!
*** No negative comments about artists or voters allowed in this thread ***
I'm sad to see The Eagles and AC/DC go. I've already written my AC/DC-defense, so uh.. The Eagles. Their brilliant Hotel California album is in my top 20, and 2 songs on that album (Hotel California and The Last Resort) in my top 50. That alone takes them into my top 50 artists, and I also like quite a bit of their other work. Top notch group for me. "You call some place paradise/Kiss it goodbye..", I love it.
The only one I mourn is Missy Elliott. She has continually redefined FUN rap music with her insane creativity and innovation. In an age where commercial rap has regressed into a parody of its former self, Missy is one of the few artists who reminds me that rap used to be FUN and limitless. Miss E... So Addictive is my favorite rap album ever, and This Is Not a Test and Supa Dupa Fly would make my top 10. Hit 'em wit da hee, Missy!
Hear, hear Moonbeam. I'm not as big a fan of her's as you, but I love what you have to say about her sense of fun. There are about half of the current survivors that I would have voted out above her. I would like to add that my enjoyment of Missy is inexticably linked with my enjoyment of Timbaland. Timbaland always saved his weirdest sh*t for Missy, and she doesn't bat an eye. Her raps feel right at home in the crazy beats around her.
I also slightly mourn the loss of the Dead. (I have to stick up for them, as I'm married to a former Deadhead.) Now I never liked them enough to see them live or anything, and when I listen to their jam sessions, my eyes tend to glaze over. But I think they have a very solid discography. I'd put St. Stephen, Playing with the Band, Ripple, Jack Straw and a number of other tracks right up there with those of more critically respected groups.
Captain Beefheart got robbed. I don't know - I bought TROUT MASK REPLICA when I was 15, and I never had any trouble getting into it. It probably helped that I was reading the Greil Marcus-edited desert-island albums book STRANDED at the time I bought TMR, and thus was able to utilize Langdon Winner's brilliant essay about the album in that book as a sort of Cliffs Notes to aid my understanding and appreciation. (Not to mention the fact that in Marcus' discography at the end of the book, he explicitly says that the guitar sound on THE CLASH reminded him of TROUT MASK REPLICA, a comment that gave me something concrete to grab hold of and further ground my listening experience.)
I now own all of the Captain's other albums contained in the AM top 2000, and what's fascinating to me is that they are all far more accessible (in a relative sense, of course) than TMR, a singular burst of avant-garde genius that stands apart in his catalog more than you'd think if it was all you ever heard. So, even though TMR is Beefheart's highest-ranked album (and, in my opinion, deserves to be), it absolutely, positively is NOT the place to start listening if you have any curiosity about the former Don Van Vliet.
As several others have indicated, that would probably be 1967's SAFE AS MILK, a slice of psychedelic blues that fits in well with similar classics of its era. The CD that combines the early '70s albums CLEAR SPOT and THE SPOTLIGHT KID is also a good bet (CLEAR SPOT, in particular, has a couple of gentler songs that are actually quite beautiful).
Well, my defense of AC/DC is really just a nostalgic little story. When I was going through my high school, "I'm a misanthrope so I'm gonna listen to music I don't really like to show it" phase, I heard Back in Black. It was so good that I picked up the guitar that had been collecting dust in the corner of my room. It also made me realize that there's much better music than what MTV was playing on TRL at the time. So, really, every album that I've picked up since I started having good taste in music is thanks to Back in Black. For me, before the Beatles was Back in Black and before Bowie was Back in Black. I know the main criticism was that they made one song and played it over and over again, but at least to me, that one song was pretty much a starting point for every other song I listen to now. It was the true beginning point for my love affair with music.
Plus, I think their music is just fun to listen to, so who gives a shite if it's the same song?
The eviction of the first 5 didn't really come as much of a blow last week. But this week, very sad to see G'n'R, and, more so, the Scream escape back to sanity.
Now, G'n'R granted are a divider. As passionate as their die-hard supporters may be, for every one there is another who feels the exact reciprocal. I'm not a major fan, but with their loss, twinned with AC/DC's first time round, in my opinion the island has lost a major portion of its 'fun factor', which is a real shame.
As for Primal Scream, that surprises me. The 'Screamadelica' story is one well-trodden, but that doesn't dilute its truth and/or relevance. Music, here in Britain especially, changed its course after passing through the scene that 'Screamadelica' spearheaded. The bravery, foresight, diversity and capability that that album required from a previously unremarkable band is of the level that many others still remaining here have failed to demonstrate. And that's without mentioning 'XTRMTR', another classic of its age.
I'm not even a very big Black Sabbath fan, but I think they deserve some defense.
One thing that a lot of reformed hippies liked about Sabbath when they looked back was that it didn't believe the hippie myth, that everything was going to be alright with hugs and drugs. The late 60s and early 70s had Vietnam and the Cold War, so singing about flowers and sunshine is silly in retrospect. I think that Sabbath really embodies that sense of impending doom very well. They overty take on the war machine in songs like "War Pigs" and "Ironman," and songs like "Paranoid" and "Electric Funeral" address the threat of nuclear winter better than others did at the time. (can you tell the only album of theirs I have is Paranoid?).
Plus, unlike the prog-metal of the 80s, it sounds really sludgy, like it was recorded in the solitary house survived a nuclear blast for some reason. I think that adds to the effect of the music. It's more organic than a lot of metal that just has to pound out a few chords before the blistering guitar solo...ick!
We all know that Ozzy has become an excersize in self-parody thanks to his TV show and the general fact that he's out of his mind and seems generally retarded by this point in his life. However, when he was a young, pissed-off, scared man, he was somewhat brilliant. Unlike a lot of the metal that would come, he seemed afraid of a human's anger, not empowered by it. I for one prefer that perspective.
I'm sad to see Pet Shop Boys and, to a lesser extent, Guns 'n Roses bow out. Neither is among my top 50 artists, but they would be among my top 50 of the artists on the island.
Black Sabbath should never have been voted off-the first four albums, at least, combined dark (albeit basic) lyricism with primal, bludgeoning riffs to great effect.I guess the problem, aside from Ozzy's idiot savant media persona, is that his musical progeny has been as unpalatable as his biological one.
Primal Scream are clearly more beloved at home than internationally. Personally, I think their best albums (Screamadelica, Vanishing Point, Xtrmntr) give thm a stronger case for a top 100 place than many of the other acts listed. On the other hand, Bobby Gillespies capacity for bullshit and the bands sporadic lurches into lame-assed rawk 'n' roll banality (Give Out..,Riot City Blues) probably explain why they're taking an early bath.
How on earth did G+R and Sabbath get voted off? Both are the prime examples of metal during their era. Both play heavy metal all fans of music can enjoy which is tough to do without being butt rock.
I don't mean this to sound rude or biting: I'm not trying to attack anyones personal tastes. It's just an observation that most of you have a pretty narrow view of what can be considered great music. Anything that falls outside of that "normal rock and roll" box seems to get the short stick around here.
There can't be enough room for everything
Primal Scream, in my opinion, are very underrated. I'm sad to see them go. Screamadelica is my favorite electronica album and XTRMNTR is also amazingly good.
Don't want to break the rule about no negative comments about artists or voters, but I felt that one of your comments was worthy of response. As someone who helped vote off Black Sabbath, and is trying to vote off Metallica in this round (although I felt that G'nR got voted off slightly early - to be precise 24 places earlier than on my list), I suppose I should respond to your impassioned reaction.
Speaking only for myself, I would say that you are correct that my general distaste for metal plays a large role. (The idea as I understand it is to vote based on personal preferences, rather than perceived importance, in which case Metallica surely would have been voted much later by me, and Sabbath slightly later.)
However, I do not think it fair to accuse most of us of having "a pretty narrow view of what can be considered great music." I doubt that many of us have a top ten that consists of a single genre or style. I would guess that most are like me in having a mix of classic rock, punk, alt rock, r 'n b/soul, funk, and at least one of the under-represented genres (rap, country, jazz, and - yes - metal) in their top half.
I understand your surprise and discomfort with your faves getting voted out early. I felt the same way when I saw one of my faves - Pavement - getting a number of votes. Or when Moonbeam votes out the Beatles. (And Moonbeam I'm sure feels the same about a good number of my votes.) The one thing that I don't think about anyone is that their disagreement with me evinces a narrow taste in music.
I conceded that it is a poll of personal preference and so I'm fine with anyway it goes. I was just making an observation from what I've seen in other polls and bracketology. A lot of users have a preference for a strict rock and roll format specifically bands from the 60's and bands that were influenced heavily by that style of rock and roll. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, I was just making an observation. Like I said, I wasn't attacking anyones taste in music nor was I trying to influence the way anybody votes. Just an observation.
In light of Honorio’s recent votes, it appears that Oasis may not make it past this week. If by some miracle they do survive the Week #2 chopping block, I can’t imagine they will last much longer.
So, with that said, I’ll be disappointed to see them go. No surprises here – I’ve been quite vocal in my admiration for the Gallagher brothers on this forum. I do think they are worthy of the top 100, but I’m willing to admit perhaps not top 50. Anyway, I just wanted to address some of the criticism:
(a) “All of their songs sound the same” – I think this criticism is unfairly based on Liam’s vocals – he does have a distinctive timbre. However, Noel sings on several Oasis songs, and his vocals are quite different from that of his brother. If vocals are the criticism, I find it interesting (and perhaps shortsighted) that it’s directed at a band with two vocalists when the majority of bands have only one. If music is the criticism, I’m not sure that this is warranted either, as Oasis have explored several styles within rock – drone, shoegaze, psychedelia, pop, etc. They’ve taken bits and pieces from bands like the Beatles, Stone Roses, Kinks, La’s, The Who, Pixies and combined it into their own sound, which is quite varied across songs and albums.
Another point worth mentioning is that like other British bands/artists (Radiohead comes to mind here), Oasis can only be truly appreciated after exploring their b-sides. The song “Acquiesce” for example, which was originally buried deep on the “Some Might Say” single, eventually became a huge hit for the band. Not only are Gallagher’s b-sides great (especially those from the Definitely Maybe and What’s The Story era), but they show a lot of musical diversity and true songcraft.
(b) “They’ve stolen from the Beatles” – yeah, what band hasn’t? Beatle-esque melodies can be heard everywhere, not just in Oasis’ music.
(a) “They’re assholes” – also true, but a bit of a superficial argument. As I’ve mentioned previously, as music fans and consumers, we only know what the media reports to us. Yes, the Gallagher brothers have instigated pub fights, have been kicked off airplanes and have wished fatal diseases upon other Brit bands. I don’t condone any of this behavior (although, it is humorous.) My response to this argument would be that we have no clue what our favorite artists do behind closed doors, in other words, the “nicest” artist could be the biggest asshole in his private life – but we wouldn’t know it.
Indulge me this analogy: it’s like going to a nice restaurant and finding a bug in your salad. It may deter you from eating at that restaurant again, but what about the other ten or twenty nice restaurants that you like to eat at? Those places are just as likely to have insects too! But just because you haven’t seen a bug in your salad in those restaurants doesn’t mean the kitchen doesn’t have them, but you’ll continue to eat there anyway. Every restaurant (artist) has bugs (faults.) I think it’s unfair to use public persona as an argument – every artist has personal faults, and it’s unfair to pass judgment on the faults that are glorified by the media.
(And yes, I did make a statement recently about Sting’s phony, new-agey lifestyle. But before you shout “hypocrite!”, please know that it was a joke. First and foremost, Sting’s solo catalogue is laughable, and even moreso when compared to the brilliant output by the band he fronted.)
(b) “Gallagher thinks he’s the greatest songwriter” – true, he does. It’s been well documented how he feels about his own songs, but I find that sort of arrogance refreshing. But again, this isn’t a valid argument when assessing the merit of an artist. (I think the only valid argument, which we can all probably agree on, is that his lyrics are rather weak, if not downright ridiculous sometimes.)
I think, despite any misgivings this forum has, Oasis will go down as one of the greatest British bands. If they don’t, as Noel would say, “it’d be a fookin’ outrage.”
Despite his uniquely Mancunian gift for self-promotion, Noel has gone on record as saying that he'd effectively run out of material by the time Be Here Now limped out-trouble is, that came out in '97, and Oasis are still around.Small wonder that the band occupy such a unique position on AM (first two albums comfortably in the top 100, nothing else in the top 3000), or that AM Forum voters are generally left unimpressed by their musical legacy as a whole.
This thread is for LOVE only.
I agree, Oasis is a brilliant band. Who cares about what Noel thinks of himself or his music, he has a right to be proud of what he makes. 2 albums, hell even 1, as brilliant as the two Oasis made in 1994/1995 are enough of a reason to be in the top 100. In the top 50 even.
For as much criticism as it gets, I actually don’t mind “Be Here Now”. True, it’s bloated and indulgent in every aspect – guitar feedback, distortion, song length, lyrics – but underneath the cocaine-laced instrumentation are some pretty decent songs.
Technically speaking, this thread is "a place to spread love for artists voted out of survivor". As Oasis haven't been, my previous comments seem a reasonable response to the previous post. I wasn't really dissing them anyway. I just find their AM ratings interesting-two percieved masterpieces followed by a succession of albums met with largely universal indifference. Can't think of any other act with an equivalent career arc.
To the AM Forum, with LOVE,
You know what, EdAmes, I like your style of writing. I'll allow the retort.
You raise a good point, but Oasis' last album was met with a warm critical response. I doubt they'll equal (or better) their first two albums, but I'll continue to be a fan, regardless.
So Oasis' future had looked as shaky as Liam's songwriting for a little while now, but it's been confirmed - Burnage's finest have been cast adrift.
Now, they wouldn't have been in my five to leave until we were down to the last dozen or so artists, so needless to say I'm not happy. But that's not to say I don't understand - the arrogance, the sneer, etc. - all the baggage, that in all truth has absolutely no impact on how good the music is.
And, as it is widely agreed, DM and (WTS)MG are absolute classics of their time. Now, here's where I agree with almost no-one: I don't think they got THAT much worse. Be Here Now is my least favourite of their albums (altho it has some very very good moments), but SOTSOG in my opinion is hugely underrated - songs like Where Did It All Go Wrong, Gas Panic! and Sunday Morning Call rank alongside their best. Heathen Chemistry too is unfairly criticised, and Don't Believe The Truth got decent reviews, which is the very least it deserved. And that's to overlook the non-album material - The Masterplan is almost as good as Definitely Maybe! Oasis' music may not be challenging like some other great artists, but I don't know a more prolific songwriter in the last 20years as Noel Gallagher.
Like I said before, I don’t think Oasis are worthy of the top 50 (even as a fan I’m willing to admit that much) but them going out this early in the tournament is just nonsense. I can pick out 10 to 15 artists that should’ve been cut before the Gallaghers.
This is a blatant case of personal whim trumping objective consideration. I’m not convinced the majority here would take, oh I don’t know, Patti Smith’s (or Paul Simon’s, or The Band’s) catalogue over Oasis’. Yeah right.
Paul Simon's, yes. But they're both in my top 50.
For this competition we're not judging positive qualities, we're judging a lack of negative ones. Oasis has some good stuff going on, but they've also got a lot of baggage. They're hopelessly arrogant, indulgent and self-affirmed clones.
I think the artists that are going to make it far in this competition are the ones with enough positive qualities to have a presence but with so few negative qualities that they won't get picked out. I expect Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, Blur, Parliament/Funkadelic and New Order will be around for a while.
Someone touched on this before, but I never really understood it until now. Essentially, in the end, the surviving artist in this game will be one that one that slides under the proverbial radar.
So, unlike the real Survivor game, which deems the person who plays the game the best as the winner, this game determines the winner by virtue of the artist who gets by on squeaky clean image? Someone like, say, Stevie Wonder - who wouldn’t be a bad result I suppose, but I’m hesitant to call him the best artist – and isn’t that what the “survivor” really should be?
No disrespect to the game, schleuse. I guess I’m just more into judging positives than glorifying trivialities.
There are certainly some artists on this list that are more widely admired -- but not as loved as others -- that may go farther in this format. (In that sense it is kind of opposite from some of the other polls we have -- like, say, the recently finished 90's poll, where each person's most loved song and album got a big boost.) In essence, we're finding out who is the least disliked artist, not who is the most liked. I think that's kind of interesting in its own right, and thus the game is worthwhile. I disagree that this is glorifying trivialities. In this forum (and in among a list of artists this impressive), an artist's got to bring something special to the table not to be disliked.
However, we're a diversely opinionated bunch. Once we're into the top half, I suspect we are going to have some heated debates about those artists that have been safe from any votes until now.
Hopefully my efforts kept Frank Zappa alive for these few few rounds, even though his high school buddy Captain Beefheart was the second most hated of all 101 acts.
Anyone took a listen to my FZ-for-people-that-don't-like-FZ recommendations?
I haven't got around to it Jonah but I really want to. His stuff isn't available on Rhapsody so I'm going to have to hunt for it at the library or something.
Very late, but I miss AC/DC
It was a real excitement when I was a kid
And "Highway To Helll" is agoddamn good rock song
All you want to do is move your head in rhythm during the chorus like a matal fan.
And the problem for most of you wasn't that they made the same song over and over (normal, they're palying electrified blues rock) but it's just that you don't like that song so much.
...just sending a little love out to the Band. It's ok Robbie, Levon. I'll always think of The Last Waltz as one of the best live recordings ever.
Metallica - Ok, no big deal. But I think the fact that Metallica and, more shockingly, Black Sabbath got the boot so early on represents a general tendency not to take metal seriously.
The Band - Amen, jonmarck. I could watch The Last Waltz every day for the rest of my life.
Eminem - The best narrative rapper since Biggie.
The Jam - There's a great tradition of British songwriters with acute insight into working class life that can be traced from Ray Davies through Paul Weller to Jarvis Cocker and now Mike Skinner.
Here are the artists with most songs in the AM top 1000:
1. The Beatles (24)
2. The Rolling Stones (15)
3. Bob Dylan (12)
3. Madonna (12)
5. David Bowie (11)
6. Elvis Presley (10)
7. U2 (9)
8. R.E.M. (8)
9. The Beach Boys (7)
9. James Brown (7)
9. The Clash (7)
9. Elvis Costello (7)
9. Marvin Gaye (7)
14. Aretha Franklin (6)
14. The Jam (6)
14. Prince (6)
14. The Velvet Underground (6)
14. The Who (6)
I find Paul Weller’s personality slightly distasteful, but he’s not a patch on his sort-of protegés Noel and Liam in that respect (and Oasis got the shaft, too, btw). The Jam left the island way too early.
The Jam’s six songs, by the way, are “In the City,” “Down in the Tubestation at Midnight,” “Eton Rifles,” “Going Underground,” “That’s Entertainment,” and “Town Called Malice.” None of them are flukes.
My love goes out to The Band. The general consensus here seems to be that they are an overrated group with one good song (The Wait). They are certainly rated highly by critics, but I don't think they are overrated. My view might have something to do with my old age. When I was a young kid like most of you (back in the 1980s) I heard a ton of positive stuff about The Band. I was already a big Dylan fan when I first bought "The Band" LP and it did absolutely NOTHING for me on the first & second listens. I don't think I even gave it a third try. Just threw it to the back of the shelf.
Fast forward 10-15 years to the late 1990's. By some coincidence I obtained a free copy of The Band CD. Not having heard it in ten years, I threw it on expecting to hear the same dense noise that turned me off in the 1980's. Remarkably, the sound had changed completely. It was like magic. Suddenly I was listening to music like I had never heard before, and I loved it. Every song on the record hit just the right spot for me and it became one of my top 10 albums. Favorites include Across The Great Divide, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, and Get Up Jake (bonus track).
Same person, same music, completely different reaction ten years later. So if you are young and dislike the Band, try it again in 10 years or so.
(Same thing for Frank Sinatra!)
Funny what you are saying, Loophole because I had the same negative reaction as you when I listened to the album 15 years ago and I just bought it at Amazon and it will arrive soon at home.
I have heard short excerpts and they sounded so promising that I decided to buy the album.
I would like to say I'm sad for the loss of Eminem. i'm an old guy too (37) and, worse, i have a love for old music. Before coming across this site, I rarely listened to post-1975 music and was almost ignorant to post-1999 music to a point that can hardly be imagined (had heard of Eminem, Outkast, Missy elliott but never heard them)
I made discoveries thanks to this site, not so many (Rome wasn't built in a day) but one of them was eminem and the Slim Shady LP (well it's the only one i know). You probably remember how negatively I reacted to "My Name Is", which I think is the most provocative and the least interesting of all the album 's songs. The rest is stunning, funny, extremely narrative, and the music is great. I mean it just takes you there;
I love narrative songwriters, story tellers and I'm served with Eminem.
He's much more exciting to me than a thousand White Stripes.
It's a pity he goes, but it seems a lot of people can't love rock and rap.
This may be three weeks too late, but due to comments raised in other threads I feel compelled to say that Captain Beefheart being judged the second most disposable act in AM survivor is shocking.
I can't help but wonder how many people have heard 10 minutes of Trout Mask Replica and dismissed his entire back catalogue out of hand. TMR is an album I've always admired more than liked, but you can't overstate it's influence, on an idealogical level at least, on every left-field/avant garde rock record made ever since.
Influence aside, Beefheart's musical legacy is sufficiently rich and diverse enough to debunk the naysayers' criticisms. Anyone with an open mind will find much to cherish in albums as sublime and easily accessible as Safe As Milk and Clear Spot.
Fleetwood - No!!!!! I love the s/t - Rumours - Tusk triptych so much, but especially Tusk. Thanks to Buckingham's contributions, it's probably the most deranged soft rock album ever made. Like Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers, it's the sound of a great band just falling apart.
Elliott - I was visiting my friend Dan (of the band The Broken West) in LA when Elliott died. Dan was a friend of Elliott's and I was a fan, and we just listened to his music all day and cried a good bit. If any fans are interested, I have pictures of the memorial site (the wall in Silver Lake where the cover of Figure 8 was shot). Requiescat in Pace.
CCR - Nobody sang about the American South better (not having been from there) except The Band. Fogerty was blessed with one of rock's greatest voices, but I also think he's completely overlooked as a guitarist - tasteful and measured, but gritty and swampy too
Little Richard - Nicolas, I'll let you write the obit for L.R. Tutti Frutti!
Pitchfork interviewed Fogerty awhile back and made the observation that Fogerty is never included in the conversation of great songwriters. That is a shame because he's penned so many classic songs. I think CCR and Tom Petty get lumped into that southern rock genre when really they were just pop/rock artists singing about the south (well, CCR at least). To me, both of those groups have more to do with The Beatles, Beach Boys and Stones than The Allman Brothers, The Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
It sucks that Elliott Smith has to go. Top 5 for me, but like I said before I totally understand how people aren't into him.
My first obituary will go for Creedence
They are my favorite band of the 60's-70s, Beatles excepted.
When I was a singer in aband in the early '90s, I wanted to sound like Creedence. If I had a band now, I still would like to sound like Creedence.
They really played all the genres I love : rock'n roll, blues, soul, country, and pop. They were responsible for an impressive string of albums in the span of 2 years (!!!), and Cosmo's Factory's first side is among my very favorites. Fogerty had a wonderful voice, and yes Greg, he was afantastic guitar player (listen to "Up around the bend" or their cover of "grapevine" if you're not convinced). They played the old American music with a lot of understanding, although they were not from the South but from SF bay.
Their music was simple, straigthforward and full of energy. It was great pop music, very danceable too with a great sense of rhythm, and yes John, Fogerty was of the great songwriters of rock history.
The link with Little Richard is obvious, and its name is "Travellin' band";
There is a lot to tell about Little Richard.
He was a tremendous performer (it can be heard on "Long Tall Sally"). His shows with the Upsetters were rare moments of rnr furia : outrageously made up, sweating, kneeling in front of his piano, hitting it with his clenched fists, screaming like a mad preacher , he dropped the barriers between races, sexes and generations. He was the one who broke the rules. i wish I had an original version of Greil Marcus' "Mystery Train" to quote what he wrote on Little Richard, the bomber of rock, far from the old queen image we have of him
The problem is when you say Little Richard people see the old queer and the Geico comercial.
Those two (LR and CCR) go in pair and this sad day they went in pair. Too bad.
I love Little Richard too. I think it has more to do with his era being forgotten than the way he carries himself today but I'm sure that has something to do with it as well. Little Richard is #1 in my heart when it comes to Pre-1963 rock and roll. Now, that's not saying much since I'm not a huge Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly or Everly Brothers fan. But, Little Richard is towers above those artists to me.
Time for a far-fetched analogy:
The other day, I was reading about an invertebrate form of life which spends the early part of its life roaming the sea, looking for a place to settle down. It has a rudimentary nervous system which it uses to propel itself and sense its surroundings. Eventually, it finds a rock and adheres to it. Since it will stay there for the rest of its life, it metabolizes—eats, basically—its own nervous system, for which it has no further use.
Rock and proto-rock artists from before 1965 generally don’t get their due around here. But I think the music of the 1950s is kind of the original nervous system of rock—it doesn’t really survive to the present, but it propelled the music through the primal muck until it found its feet, and we wouldn’t be here without it.
The music of the 1950s is kind of a dead language now. There are bands out there who sound something like the Beatles or Stones or Dylan or the Stooges, but there’s nobody (outside of tribute bands and celebrity impersonators) who sounds like Elvis or Chuck Berry or Buddy Holly. But those 50s artists were, if you like, “metabolized” in the 1960s. Without Little Richard, no Paul McCartney; without Bo Diddley, no Jimi Hendrix; without Chuck Berry, no Keith Richards. At least not as we know them. Music appreciation which fails to appreciate the roots of its own traditions is woefully limited. It’s eating its own brain.
I’m bummed by the departure of Little Richard—and by the votes now being cast for Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and Hank Williams. Maybe I shouldn’t complain too much, since all of those artists (except Berry) have already guaranteed that their “rank” in Survivor will be higher than their AM ranking. But I suppose what bothers me is that many voters have said something along the lines of, “I know they’re important, but I just don’t listen to them for pleasure.” I worry about music fans who can’t get pleasure out of Little Richard and Buddy Holly.
(PS - There’s also a mean, paranoid part of me which thinks that 50s artists get dismissed out of hand because they didn’t record albums and therefore aren’t “serious” enough…but maybe that’s just me.)
(PSS – nicolas, your evocation of what LR’s early shows sounded like is fantastic. Thanks; I knew I could count on you for that.)
Vaya con dios, Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee.
The Ramones’ #50 ranking on this site accurately reflects their recorded output, but it’s still way too low. The recurrent knock on them in bracketology was that they recorded the same song over and over again (which, yes, Henrik, owes something to MC5, among others). And Anthony (channelling imcleod) has the best lines: “utter trash” and “leather-clad bubble-gum merchants.” Or, in his own word, “poseurs.”
To which the only possible response is: guilty, guilty, guilty. It’s rock ‘n’ roll, folks—its very heart is junk. Whatever social significance it has, whatever brilliant poetry and compositions and arrangements it’s produced, however many aging British rockers get knighthoods, despite “Bohemian Rhapsody,” despite Thom Yorke, it’s all built on leather and bubblegum…in short, trash.
And no, not trash in any kitschy or ironic sense—trash which is fun BECAUSE it’s trash. Garbage for garbage’s sake. There’s a well-known quote from Joey that their songs are so short because they only include the good parts. They stripped away all the complexity and pretension of Rock (a needed corrective in 1976) and discovered/reinvented its core: crappy, infectious, disposable, in and out in 2 minutes. Their response to the faux-apocalyptic announcements of metal and prog-rock and arena rock was a resounding “gabba gabba hey.” They weren’t the first or the only band to do this, just the most radical and influential.
They weren’t as dumb as they looked.
Great Ramones tribute schleuse! You always know how to write what I'm thinking but can't put into words. Maybe you've mentioned this before, I can't remember, but have you ever written professionally, as a critic in some capacity? If not, you should.
I agree with what he said about The Ramones. They only needed a few of those short songs to make their point (and their contribution). But if they stopped after two or three songs that would have been kind of stupid, so they just kept doing more. Same problem faced the Sex Pistols.
If the Ramones had engaged in any "musical growth" it would have defeated the entire purpose of the band.
I second that, Loophole. Could not have said it better than schleuse.
After the proto punk from artists like The Stooges, New York Dolls and Patti Smith, the Ramones were the first real punk rock band. Pure, straight-forward punk rock from a bunch of good guys. From the musical point of view, I like them way more than the Sex Pistols. OK, their influence is perhaps bigger, associating the punk scene with politics, anarchy, rebellion and to violence. But then I prefer to hear that same simple chord thing over and over again. "We are a happy family", and so much fun to listen to.
Yeah, Loop, I do write professionally--although 97% of what I write for money is much less fun than posting to this forum! (And none of it is music criticism, although in the past I have reviewed films and books.)
Well, I said I was going to write about New Order, so here goes:
Many bands have the unfortunate distinction of being cast in the shadow of another band. I feel this way about the Foo Fighters in relation to Nirvana, or how about all the solo members of the Beatles (especially Paul) coming after the Beatles. However, New Order is even more different because they essentially just kept going except for one member. Thankfully, it never seemed derivative like The Doors, INXS or some other bands that tried to keep going without the original lead singer.
Even the name New Order implies a sort of rebirth from the ashes of Joy Division. Gone are the mostly sparse, melancolly arangements in favor of lush music that actually exudes a sense of joy (with some excep. The first New Order and/or Joy Division song I ever heard was "Temptation" when I picked up the Trainspotting soundtrack. The sheer exhuberance and elation eminating from this track has given it the top spot on my favorite songs of all time list. In fact, New Order has about 5 songs on my top 100. While I respect Joy Division, I enjoy New Order.
What I also find extremely admirable about New Order is that they've remained relevant. In 2001 they recorded "Crystal" (and actually most of Get Ready is pretty freakin' good) and in 2002 they recorded "Here to Stay." These two songs are just as good as anything from New Order's canonized 80s output.
EdAmes described them as the "calm after the storm of Joy Division." What's so bad about sunny weather with blue skies?
Okay, I'm rambling...New Order rules.
schleuse - you seriously need to consider adding music criticism to your professional writing resume. You're already halfway there.
I do a lot of writing in my job and its utterly painful for me. But I know what's good when I see it.
schleuse - you seriously need to consider adding music criticism to your professional writing resume. You're already halfway there.
I would say that about many of you guys here. For myself though, I know my limitations - and stick to the stats/rankings.
Well, 1st I'm quite disappointed by the departure of New Order, not just because I have 2 of their songs in my top 100 but because they are for me a savelight in the musical darkness of the 1980s.
Anyway, even if I'm quite late here are my two most regretted artists :
1st of course (of course means here : anybody who knows me would have guessed) there is Elliott Smith, but as John said I can understand why not everybody likes him, his music is very personal, almost intimate... so even if somehow I'd like him to be recognised as one of the greatest artists ever, I also like to think that he is MY favourite and not every one else.
Anyway, my real regret, and those for who I really don't understand everybody's comments, are the Beastie Boys.
I wonder if most of you have heard any other album than Licensed to Ill.
Licensed to Ill was like someone said some kind of teenage fun joke, even if I still like how half of the album sounds with this mix of guitar riffs and rap flow.
Anyway, the 4 following albums are all masterpieces, with an impressive sense of samples and rythms, the proof of a huge musical culture, more serious lyrics (yet often funny and with, I admit it, too many name dropping).
What is even more precious about them is the openness and the diversity of their music.
Can you find any other band which you can choose 6 songs which will seem to someone who don't know them as they were from 6 different bands (OK let's say for instance : Sabotage, Heart Attack Man, I don't know, Sabrosa, Egg Man and Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun)
They are engaged, they are closed to their audience, they have made plenty of great songs (not necessarily the most known, some of my favourite being Shadrach (well... a bit less since I know Sly's Loose Booty), the negociation limerick file and Alright Hear This).
They're a rap band liked by indie rock fan, and I don't think many else can pretend that !
I'm a little sad to see Elton John get the boot. He never had a consistently solid album but he was always fun to listen to and he gave us some great singles. He also released something like 15 full albums in the 70's. I have automatic respect for anyone capable of maintaining that level of output, especially since the quality of the first half of the decade was very high. I'm also a little sad that Brian Eno got kicked off too. I mean, I voted for him, but I still feel bad because his work with other artists is great. I guess I just feel bad cause the smiths and sonic youth are still there and he isn't.
You said it yourself, jonmarck, this game is about judging negatives, not positives. It doesn’t mean that The Smiths or Sonic Youth are necessarily better than Elton John or Brian Eno, it’s just that Elton and Eno are generally disliked more. (Which, by the way, is a puzzle that I’m still trying to work out – the reason why the title “least disliked artist” bears any sort of merit around here.) To me, it still doesn’t seem that interesting. I hate to be a negative Nancy; after all, the game is fun and the discussions are interesting (full props to schleuse), but I can’t help but feel that it’s headed to an anti-climactic finish. Nonetheless, I’ll continue to contribute, but I’m switching gears - from now on, no more negative comments – only positive. (My therapist says chronic pessimism is “maladaptive”, whatever that means.)
All I can say is, if people knocked out Eno because of what they've heard of his ambient stuff, and have not heard his pop stuff, they really need to get those first 4 albums. They're marvelous.
I think anyone who has actually taken time to seek out Eno (which I think you'd have to do) probably would have heard at least one of the pop albums. They still aren't really accessible compared to most of the other bands in the top 100. But, he did go too early even if was expected.
Elton John bothers me more because he has so many good singles. In fact, his "big" singles suck for the most part but he still has a good number of really great songs even if you don't include the Crocodile Rock's and Bennie and the Jets, etc.: Songs that I think cause people to dislike him. Get past that crap and you still have a collection of great songs. If you like those songs you have an artist who rarely missed. I don't see what's not to like.
Slush - I agree. New Order rules
Probably 4 or 5 in my top 200 too...
I just remembered that Beastie Boys got the boot a little while ago. That's a shame. I'm listening to Ill Communication right now and it's a great album. It's so rare to hear rap where the lyrics aren't meant to be the main focus. In fact they're so downplayed on this album that most of the vocals are a distorted beyond coherence. Very cool stuff.
One of the many wonderful things about this site is that it takes the verdict of history into account. For acts that are more than 10 or 20 years old, the opinions of contemporaries are not the only perspective we have—which is why Guns N’ Roses is not ranked higher than the Velvet Underground.
Nevertheless, here’s a thought experiment: where would the Police rank if Henrik had compiled Acclaimed Music in, say, 1984? It would have been a neat trick, as he was ten years old at the time and probably had no modem, but never mind—imagine he could have accurately represented how acclaimed the Police were then?
They were the biggest band in the world. Their 1983 tour had been a massive success, and Synchronicity had been both their best-selling and most critically-acclaimed album; they were, by far, the most commercially successful of post-punk bands to that date, and they even made further inroads into AOR than any other “post-1977” band had done. Even though they’d been around since 1978, their profile had been raised by the so-called Second British Invasion of the US (lame as that was, for the most part) as well as the new medium of MTV (lame as that was, for the most part). They had a deserved reputation for musical inventiveness, had a back catalog of five acclaimed albums and several hit singles, and they were excellent performers. Even Sting’s lyrics to that point had seemed glumly arch, rather than revoltingly precious. Most importantly, maybe, when thinking about how acclaimed they were at the time, is that they had, in spades, and despite worries that they were becoming too popular with college-age louts to be true artistes, that elusive thing called “indie cred.”
And in the quarter-century since then, they lost all of it.
Many big-name bands, especially if they split at the peak of their career, can expect to maintain or even grow in critical acclaim. Sumner, Stewart and Copeland didn’t, for two reasons. One, obviously, is Sting’s solo career, about which little needs to be said (please). The other was that critical attention shifted. Interest in reggae-tinged English punks shifted to then-lesser-known bands like the Specials and Madness (and the Clash’s later stuff). More importantly, interest in “independent” music shifted to the US, where a college-rock tradition beginning with bands like Black Flag, R.E.M., and the Replacements (eventually extending through the Pixies and Nirvana and Pavement and My Bloody Valentine) became de rigeur. Caught between these two hops, the Police now looked like they had been some kind of novelty act that inexplicably sold out arenas. And that’s too bad.
I’m not complaining—I think their AM ranking is about right, and they matched it almost exactly in Survivor. But it does sometimes make sense, if only to get a full picture of an artist, to try to listen to them the way they sounded in 1983, free of all the baggage they’ve accumulated since.
And a quick note on Blondie. I don’t know how they managed to outperform their AM ranking by 37 places, but I’m pleased they did. Debbie was my first celebrity crush, back when I was 12…it’s a good thing I didn’t know she was already 34 at the time!
Thanks schleuse for your Police sheet
You've summed it up briliantly
My first rock concert was Sting in 1985 with Marsalis and the band that backed him on his first (and not so bad) solo effort "The Dream of the blue turtles ". After that as we say in French, le déluge
He performed his songs and of course the Police hits.
they were huge in the '80s and their hits still sound great because my ears were alive in 1983.
ANd they probably survived longer in France when the press and indie and college diktats are not so strong
"Sumner, Stewart & Copeland"
Either I'm being pathetically pedantic, and should be ignored in my sticking up for Andy Summers' surname, or you make reference to a Police/Eurythmics collaboration that I'm eternally thankful that I've lived this long successfully avoiding.
Whoops. I think I had a Klang reaction to the correct one, which should have been:
Sumner, Summers & Copeland
And while I'm very fond of both the Police and Eurythmics...well, I'm also fond of both yogurt and mustard, but I'd never intentionally try to combine them.
The Byrds - A misunderestimated group.
Influence/Importance: Basically invented folk-rock by combining British Invasion rock with American folk music. A major inspiration to indie rockers from the 1980's to the present for their jangly 12-string Rickenbacker sound. An important part of the west coast psychedelic scene (8 miles high). A hugely important group in the development of country-rock (especially Sweetheart of the Rodeo, which is a true landmark album in the history of modern pop music). Read about it here: AMG.
Members: Roger McGuinn pioneered the jangly Rickenbacker sound. David Crosby went on to fame with CSN&Y. Gene Clark recorded a serious of excellent, but little-known country rock albums after leaving the Byrds in the mid-1960s. Gram Parsons went on to the Flying Burrito Brothers and a solo career. Clarence White (inventor of the string bender and a favorite of Jimi Hendrix) was one of the best country-style electric guitarists going until he was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 1973. Chris Hillman went on the the Flying Burrito Brothers and The Desert Rose band.
Songs: You all know the 1960s hits (i.e., Turn Turn Turn), but some of you might think that is where The Byrds begin and end. Not so. Anyone who hasn't heard Sweetheart of the Rodeo should get it. "Hickory Wind" is one of many classics on that album. "Mr. Spaceman" is early, super-catchy country rock. "Truck Stop Girl" from their post-Sweetheart era is a killer song that still sounds fresh today. The electric guitar by Clarence White on the Byrds' version of "Jesus Is Just Alright" (later made popular in a more-poppier form by the Doobie Brothers) is amazing and very cool to hear. Finally, "Drug Store Truck Driving Man" (by Roger McGuinn/Gram Parsons) is a country-rock classic.
You owe it to yourself to check out some of these lesser-known classics if you haven't heard them.
I am doing some research on Clarence White, so I've been thinking about this stuff a lot lately. It's given me a new appreciation for the Byrds.
Yeah the career-spanning box set The Byrds(1990) is definitely recommended. In a word it's unbelievable
You guys just voted off rock and roll at it's finest. IF Chuck Berry and Elvis are the kings, The Stooges are the revolutionaries who said, we're tired of the way you've been running things now let us show you how we do it...and they did it; before anyone else like had never been heard before and opened up a whole new world that became realized in the 70's and 80's and still is alive and kicking today. The Stooges are just as important and influential as the Beatles or the Stones and they surely are more important and flat out better than The Clash, Pixies and Nirvana.
Ray Charles has more talent in his little finger than some of the artists remaining have in their entire body(not mentioning any names)
Midaso, I wanted to do the Ray Charles obituary, but what can I say that you didn't sum up like this ?
ray was a true king. His voice is one of the very best.
Farewell to Pink Floyd...
A band that, for better or worse, took the concept of serious “art” music and ran with it.
Beginning in ’67 with the space-rock, guitar-noodling psychedelia of Syd Barrett and ending in the eighties with a skeletal, acrimony-OD’d corpse, the band’s true glory years would come during the decade in-between - an eight-year stretch that would find them departing with their founder and quickly (and counter-intuitively) establishing themselves as a dominant force in rock music.
Barrett’s departure was necessary, both for his health and for the growth of the band. The group, paying homage to their former leader by retaining the psychedelic seeds that he planted, began a quick evolution. A new frontman emerged, a new guitarist was added and collectively, the new incarnation of Floyd took the seeds and watered them with a combination of philosophical lyrics, melodic minor-pentatonic guitar and gorgeous keys to form concise stadium-ready prog. Their concept-driven rock, packaged with innovative cover art and brought to the masses via pioneering live shows, peaked in ’73 with the landmark album “Dark Side of the Moon”. The 43-minute long study of the internal and external conflicts of man struck a nerve with the record-buying public, who took to the album like a muskie in the weeds. Pink Floyd became a household name. Unrelenting in their focus, the band remained on top – “Wish You Were Here” followed in 1975, “Animals” in ’77 and “The Wall” in 1979.
Anyone who enjoys the Floyd has their own personal favorite period: Barrett-era, the Dark Side era, The Wall era, etc. Whichever one it is, I’m nodding in silent appreciation to all the fans on this forum. And to anyone who cries “pretentious” or “indulgent”, well, I’d take that over empty and superficial any day.
I'd like to eulogize Beck.
And I'd like to start by quoting Moonbeam's vote for Beck last round. I hope that my discussion is not taken to violate the rule of this thread not to criticize votes or voters. Moonbeam's comment, as all good comments on this forum do, sparked thoughts in my head.
Moonbeam wrote: "A classic example for me where all of the elements of the equation that results in Moonbeam liking an artist are present, but the results just aren't there. I understand that he's an inventive, peculiar character with a penchant for funk, much like my hero Prince. But for some reason, he doesn't wear it well for me as it all seems like posturing. For every Beck song I like ("E-Pro"), there are 2 others I detest ("Loser", "Where It's At")."
I don't disagree with anything Moonbeam says at all. On a majority of his work (and the vast majority of his most famous work), Beck's predominant position is posturing. We only disagree as to whether he wears it well, and that is a highly subjective determination.
What I really liked about Moonbeam's comment was it led me to think about the parallels and differences between Beck and Prince, and the role of authenticity versus pretense in pop music.
One of the things I like about Prince is that this scrawny, short guy can deliver the most outrageously over-the-top sexual come-ons and you wind up buying that he quite possibly IS the sexiest man in the world. The hyped-up synths, the frenetic guitar, the layers upon layers of vocals all add to a delerious, sometimes frenzied seduction. You start by asking yourself , "Can this guy be serious?"; and end by answering, "Who cares?" That is an incredible maneuver, and is only accomplished through his unique musical genius.
And yet, on the whole, I enjoy Beck more. (I'll leave aside the question of who is the greater artist. I vote on who I enjoy the most, with a smattering of consideration for influence and talent where those elements are underplayed in my initial "enjoyment" determination.) Beck clearly is playing with parody, but it is not just parodic. It is also joyous tribute. And is is also playful pastiche. And while the breadth of the music from which he appropriates (folk, hip-hop, country, tropicalia, early electronica, '60s psychedlic pop, and - yes - Prince himself) is impressive, it is not that breadth that makes him a great artist. It is the humor, love, skill, and theatricality with which he appropriates.
Lyrically, his kitchen sink approach lead to incredible flights of fancy, but often masks quite pointed themes (see, for example, "Tropicalia").
At core though, there is something unique that he brings to his songs quite apart from the influences that he draws from. Most nakedly, this can be seen on "Sea Change," where the artifice is shorn away in deep respect for the death of a relationship. Whether naked when it is just his voice and a guitar (no more "two turntables and a microphone") or massively forceful when his father's string arrangement swells on "Lonesome Tears," on this album Beck proves what should have been apparent upon closer listening to his earlier albums... the music and the emotion and the songs and the power are entirely his own, no matter from whom or what he might have originally borrowed, or how many layers of irony he filters them through.
Well said, Schwah. Inspired by your comments, I'll likely take the next few hours to listen to Odelay and Sea Change. Both records have been out of my personal rotation for far too long.
Thanks Anthony. Given your own clear love for 60's baroque pop, you should listen to Mutations, if you have not done so yet.
And speaking of, I owe you a post on Odyssey and Oracle. I'm currently digesting it, and work obligations notwithstanding, will post on it in short order.
Nice post about Beck. I agree. My favorite thing about Beck is probably the fun he has with words. He really strings some interesting phrases together. One a literal level they may be kind of nonsense, but they always sounds cool when he sings them and often evoke the impression of meaning. Good trick.
Here are some examples from Odelay, where this trait is most common:
"Mouthwash jukebox gasoline"
"Love machines on the sympathy crutches
Discount orgies on the dropout buses
Hitching a ride with the bleeding noses
Coming to town with the brief case blues"
"Karaoke weekend at the suicide shack
Community service and I'm still the mack"
"Sawdust songs of the plaid bartenders
Western Unions of the country westerns
Silver foxes looking for romance
In the chain smoke Kansas flashdance ass pants"
"I got a stolen wife
And a rhinestone life
And some good ol' boys
I'm writing my will
On a three dollar bill
In the evening time"
Well, Paul, you hit upon my favorite non-Cole Porter lyric of all time, which I've quoted on these boards before. It's so nice, I'll quote it twice:
"Silver foxes looking for romance
In the chain smoke Kansas flashdance ass pants"
By the way, my favorite lyric of all time, from "Always True to You in My Fashion":
"Mr. Harris, plutocrat
Wants to give my cheeks a pat.
If a Harris pat means a Paris hat, okay.
But I'm always true to you, darling, in my fashion.
I'm always true to you, darling, in my way."
There are so many great lines in Hotwax yet somehow New Pollution and Where It's At are the universal favorites. Hotwax was Beck at his greatest (although most of his stuff is pretty great). It even leaves you with this nugget of an outro...
Girl: Who are you?
Man: I'm the enchanting wizard of rhythm.
Girl: Why did you come here?
Man: I came here to tell you about the rhythms of the universe....
I wonder if Beck will ever make another great album. Mutations was the last one I think even though Sea Change was pretty good. I don't know if he can pull off another Odelay or Mutations but it sure would be awesome if he did.
"If a Harris pat means a Paris hat, okay."
They don't write 'em like that anymore...
Schwah, that was a great eulogy for Beck. I haven't heard most of Sea Change[/i], so perhaps that could sway my opinion. I do have a hell of a lot of respect for Beck, and your eloquent appraisal of his work has certainly done him justice.