The Music I Like Totally Sucks! 


Music is one of those weird things.  Certainly, writing about it is like dancing about architecture, and in the great big hairy end therefs no accounting for taste anyway, but one of the funny things Ifve noticed about music is the strange way it goes in and out of fashion.  So there are these hip bands, and then there are also un-hip bands.  I recently wondered what would happen if I asked people about the un-hippest music they have in their house I went to a meeting of friends and popped the question and found that nobody wanted to fess up to owning any Madonna or Meatloaf.  One guy told me that he had a Bobby Brown tape in the house, but felt he had to add that it was still in the wrapper.  Yeah, right.  Then I read Mattfs report about how the hippest musicians in Japan are Hawkwind and Grateful Dead fans, not exactly cutting edge any more.  And Scott, in Bug 5, actually admitted at one time digging Def Leppard, and even getting busted once for trying to shoplift an Ozzy Osbourne tape!  The Scandal!!!  I remember about five years ago if you mentioned the Ramones and AC/DC, people would wrinkle their noses, now these bands are being praised in totally new ways.  And what about Black Sabbath, one of the best bands of the early Seventies?  People laugh.  But BS was still hip enough for the Cranberries to do a reggae cover of the song gIron Manh and for Yoshimi of the Boredoms to form a cute tribute band and call it Pink Sabbath, so maybe the real truth is that nobody knows whatfs hip any more.  Get a sense of humor, folks!  And so here, once again, I offer to step out on a limb to defend some of the un-hip bands of today that I actually find pretty cool in some way or another, anyway.  (Naturally, there is the caveat that the bandfs earlier music is better than their later stuff this applies for the Ramones and AC/DC and Black Sabbath and almost any band, with a few important exceptions). 


Where do I start?  Recently I was overcome by a strange desire to hear Boston, so I rented the first Boston album.  Weird how they once had the highest selling debut album of all time, until they were knocked out by the Beastie Boysf first, but are now completely forgotten by critics and consumers alike.  Not even a Boston song on the muzak.  But when I heard the songs again after some fifteen years, it was eerie how I could remember all sorts of lyrics, drum parts, guitar changes, etc.  It was still loud, good, power pop.  Van Halen.  I was watching gLittle Nickyh (not a hip movie, right?) and I heard the opening siren sound from gRunning With The Devilh (get it?) and knew I had to hear Van Halen 1 again.  Does it ever still stand up after all these years!  Good loud pop/rock songs, and when David Lee Roth sings gIfm on fire,h thatfs really something.  Iron Maiden.  I like those first two albums with Paul DiAno singing.  Even some of the later Bruce Dickinson songs are good.  They wrote a song about gDuneh and Alan Sillitoefs gthe Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner,h whatfs so very wrong with these guys?  Theyfre no Armoured Saint, thatfs for sure.  The Misfits, who should be cooler than Iron Maiden, donft seem particularly hip to anybody these days either for some reason, nor does White Zombie¸ which I always liked for their Evil Dead (hip film, right?) horror revivalism.  The Mekons, if they were ever known by everybody, have been forgotten even though they are still around and have never in their long history put out a crappy album.  Judas Priest is a bit of a long shot, but they did have their moments, particularly gthe Green Manaleshi (With The One Horned Prong),h which was good enough for hip band the Melvins to cover.  Good for a laugh and some ironism, anyway.  Yngwie J. Malmsteen?  Normally I wouldnft even try to defend big hair rock gods, but I do have a soft spot for his first album mercifully it is half instrumental, so not as much of that D&D imagery gets through as on later albums.  Heck, I should just admit that I once saw Yngwie play live in Toronto!  Since Ifm still writing about European heavy metal, how about the Scorpions?  Good songs from the early Scorps, especially songs like gthe Zoo,h gChina White,h and gHoliday.h  gBorn To Touch Your Feelingsh is a ballad which has sexy women voices speaking in various languages at the end refrain very effective.  Ifd play that at a party.  Shlocky singer-songwriters?  James Taylor, the composer of gFire And Rainh (the saddest song ever written besides gYou Are My Sunshineh) gets my vote of confidence, as does Cat Stevens, R.E.M., 10,000 Maniacs, Madonna, Prince, Alice In Chains, Led Zeppelin, Bauhaus, the Sisters of Mercy, Ministry, Nina Hagen, Suicidal Tendencies, Henry Rollins, Max Webster and Kim Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Stompinf Tom Connors, Pop Will Eat Itself, the Machines of Loving Grace, Anthrax and the Stormtroopers of Death, the Sugarcubes, Helmet, Filter, Elvis Presley, Pink Floyd and solo projects from David Gilmour and Roger Waters, Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Yes, Genesis, the list goes on and on.  Gone, maybe, but not entirely forgotten.  Of course, there are plenty ggood riddanceh and gwhy are they still selling recordsh bands, but griping about bands that have legitimate audiences is really just a waste of time, even if it is Limp Bizzkit.  God help you, though, if youfre dating a Celine Dion or Mariah Carey fan.