Sunday, May 2, 2010

Where It All Went Wrong (Part One)

Listened to the new Kate Nash cd (My Best Friend Is You) last week. I enjoyed Made of Bricks, with its smart and smart alecky pop chops, and was pretty curious to see what she would do this time around. I can definitively say I don't like the new one. Oh sure, i appreciate that she pushes the rap and riot girrrrl thing more, but the thing is, she's totally unconvincing at it, even bad (very bad) at it. And the songs suck (not even thinking she's written any fun lily allen like songs on this one. Not gonna say i'm bummed cos i wasn't lighting a candle for her, but i think her commercial days (if she had such aspirations) are over.

got me thinking of other pop music suicides and where it all went wrong (and feel free to add your own):

MGMT: Oracular Spectacular was a bit overrated, but the singles Kids and Time to Pretend are genius. So why does Congratulations suck so much? Drugs? Replacements syndrome? Dunno, but, i won't be holding my breaf for the next one.

Tracy Chapman- Hard to tell exactly where this happened cos the debut was so good and Crossroads was also excellent, albeit a bit of a carbon copy. But i'm gonna lay the blame on Matter of the Heart. Her earnestness exceeded her experience.

Sinead O' Connor: You knew she had to be here right? Am I Not Your Girl? in 1992, right after I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got (still one of my personal faves, btw) A covers album of standards for the burgeoning indie girl? Not sure that would fly today (even Jenny Lewis didn't try that), it sure didn't fly then. and it's kind of awful to listen too. love her voice, but it's not the right voice for these songs, and the throwback production doesn't work as homage nor irony.

Smashing Pumpkins: I love Adore (and that outdoor show on the block e parking lot was pretty special), but that was the end for them. (i could be generous and blame the Batman & Robin song, but that would be wrong). I guess we'll never know what James and D'arcy didn't do in the band (rage muse perhaps?), but when they were gone, so was the band. (I don't buy that Jimmy Chamberlin crap. He's not nearly the muse Billy liked to think he was.)

Wilco: A Ghost is Born. And a band dies a little bit (and a lot more on SkyBlueSky). Argue about Jay Bennett all you like, but the band has been crap ever since Jeff kicked him out of the band. (and they can sell all the records they like and sell out all the shows they like, but we know, we know)

Jay Farrar: Turnabout is fair play here. There's really been no point in resurrecting Son Volt. They aren't doing anything Jay didn't do with Son Volt Mark I. I blame the Sebastopol album, which seemed like a response to the wild success of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot ("see, I can weird it up too?". I kinda like it, but it isn't YHF. no where close. and who the hell is Jay Farrar? Why kill the band you made your (second) name with, son?

Weezer: jeez. i might try to piss off all the backpack kids and say it happened with Pinkerton, but i'm gonna grant a dispensation on something i don't understand and say Make Believe is were it all went so horribly horribly wrong. the nerd at the playboy mansion? no.

Decemberists: Hazards of Love. Jury still out, cos they could blow me away with the next one. but sheesh; I hate this album. i could barely get through it onces, but made myself listen again just so i could be sure. sure that it's the worst heavy metal indie progressive rock symphony ever! i could easily see this as being something from which they never recover.

Radiohead: this is probably an act against god (and probably belongs in another post) but to paraphrase my aggravation guru, tiny kornheiser, "Kid A stinks." Granted, i'm glad that this isn't Still Got the Bends or Really Really Good Computer disaffected guitar rock (you can always go back to that in 10 years when you really need a U2), and that you are willing to take a chance. And it's not so much that there aren't any songs (eno did that for years and it never bothered me), or that too many people talk about how original this is (and if you've listened to music for more than 4 years you know how derivative this is) or the fact that the second half (where there are some songs) is incredibly boring. No, what really makes this disc stink, is that every kid over the age of 25 and under the age of 35 (yes, mr. superfan, i'm talking to you) thinks this is the bomb, their generation's grand statement, and use it at their touchstone. Well, i gotta tell ya, big statements aren't age specific (see beatles, see stones, see even the bends) and this disc has got nothin' to say. Nothin'!


  1. Much love for this!

  2. Oh, and it occurs to me that both Nash and MGMT fall into what Q Magazine always calls the "difficult second record" syndrome.

  3. sounds like a thread....but i can also think of more than a few second records that are AMAZING. (sinead and radiohead included)

  4. oh yeah, and a certain band named yeasayer. odd blood is way better than all hour cymbals.