Welcome to My Year in Lists!
Regular music reviews will resume after the holidays, but now it’s time to indulge in that not-so-secret passion that every music critic (and many a casual music fan) falls asleep thinking about, usually after an intense wank (and if we’re being honest with ourselves, we must admit that wanking is a large part of what music critics do during their waking hours). I’m speaking, of course, of the completely arbitrary compilation of year-end lists. What was the best song? The best album? The best whatever?
So over the next few weeks, Bollocks! will be bringing you my thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ugly for 2008 (watches as site traffic statistics plummet). To get the bad shit outta the way first, I wanna talk about The Absolute Worst Music of 2008.
It goes without saying that Metallica sucks, but to bestow upon them the dubious honor of Worst Album of the Year would still be to grant them some form of accomplishment, however negative. They’re at least near the top of the Worst Song of 2008 pile, but I’m not good at making long lists of songs that are terrible because, as a rule, I try to avoid terrible music. Here are the three worst songs I heard this year, in no particular order:
“Unforgiven 3,” by Metallica – There was a time when Metallica didn’t make music videos because they didn’t see the need to make commericals for their songs. Then they decided two things: 1) They want money. Lots and lots of money and 2) They hate their fans. These two decisions pitched Metallica headlong into a race to out-whore their past achievements in Whoredom. Taking a page from the Hollywood playbook, they wrote a sequel to a massive hit (“The Unforgiven”). The sequel sucked, but that didn’t stop them from making a third, which really fucking blows. It gets extra “Fuck you” points for ripping off the keyboard part from “Comfortably Numb.”
“Welcome to the Third World,” by The Dandy Warhols – I could’ve picked a lot of songs from the Dandy Warhols utterly shitty Earth to the Dandy Warhols but I really chose to focus on this one for one simple reason. It steals the bass-line from The Clash’s “Magnificent Seven.” For a shitty Dandy Warhols song. That doesn’t say shit… about… shit. The Clash is an iconic band – they’re at least 85% of the reason I’m in a band (and probably a large reason why most people I know who are in bands are in bands) , they made really great music and they meant every note of it. I get that Courtney Taylor thinks he’s Lou Reed and every once in a great while, his Velvet Underground tribute band thing kinda works. But for The Dandy Warhols to rip off the Clash is to spit on everything the Clash stood for. If Joe Strummer were alive today, I’d like to think he would beat the living shit out of Courtney Taylor (and if Lou Reed were alive today, he’d do the same). “Welcome to the Third World” is a horrible song by a horrible band that appears on a horrible album – to call it a shit sandwich would be to offend shit sandwiches everywhere.
But probably The Worst Song of 2008 is “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry. I’ve heard this in passing and I guess it’s a big hit for her, but it’s got some serious strikes against it. Chiefly, Katy Perry cannot sing. The verses on this song are merely unbearable but when the chorus rolls around, I want to stuff my ears full of nougat and run around the malls of Los Angeles slashing blindly with a machete, hopefully severely wounding anyone who would even so much as nod their head or tap their foot to the beat of something so insipid. This song is probably shocking to Katy’s parents, who might remember her better as the girl who started out singing Christian music before deciding that she could make a shitload of money writing schlocky turds like “I Kissed A Girl.” Perry’s debut pop album, One of the Boys, features other great song titles like “Ur So Gay” which annoys me not just for its utterly stupid spelling but also for the fact that this girl is so obviously trying to create shocking mall pop. It’s risque if you were home-schooled and still think girls shouldn’t show their ankles or if you think Jars of Clay is super hardcore, but if you want shockingly graphic lesbian music, pick up an Alix Olson album. Katy Perry is about as shocking and surprising as a post-it note, but I’ve got some song titles for her next album that will really help her kick it up a notch:
“I Finger-Banged Lynn Cheney During Sunday School”
“Dear Mom and Dad, My Boyfriend’s a Black Atheist”
(and last but not least:)
“Who Does A Girl Have to Blow to Get an Enema Around Here?”
So there you go, Katy Perry. You can use any of those you want. I promise not to pull a Joe Satriani and sue you.
So what’s the Worst Album of 2008? Well, for my money, it’s My Bloody Underground by The Brian Jonestown Massacre. This is another band from which Katy Perry can learn a lesson in the “Transparent Attempt to Shock Soccer Moms” department. See, Anton Newcombe has cleverly titled two of the songs on this musical Gorgon “We are the Niggers of the World” and “Automatic Faggot for the People,” and because they have naughty words, hoo-boy, they must be really shocking! Except that they suck. The whole album sucks. It’s Newcombe masturbating in the studio and then asking you to pay for it so he can go buy more heroin. Fuck this guy and fuck his band. The only good thing I can say about them is that, in all their fuckery, they’ve never ripped off The Clash. But you know what? I’m drawing a line here, folks. If the Brian Jonestown Massacre records a Clash rip-off I solemnly swear to find Anton Newcombe and kick his opiate-addled ass. For the good of all mankind. Earlier this year, I wrote that My Bloody Underground is the album I would make if I hated music and wanted to convince other people to hate music as well. In retrospect, I may have been understating things a bit. My Bloody Underground is the album I would make in an experiment where I was trying to create a black hole of shittiness that would suck all of the fun, joy, and creativity out of life.