A few years back Bloggerhythms posted a series on guilty pleasures. The posts make the point that we all have a few of these personal gems hidden away in or hearts, even if our heads won't allow us to admit it, while at the same time we all have a list of artists we are supposed to admire but can't. So today, as a followup to those little treatises, I give you five legendary musicians who don't deserve the love so many people heap upon them. Stars you are allowed to hate, and you know who you are Yoko Ono and Michael Bolton, are not included on this list.
The man had tons of hits but every single one of them was exactly the same song. They all featured tuneless, staccato horns bleeping in the background, one note rhythm guitar playing, and wailing vocals. It seemed as if Brown laid down one arrangement on tape for his first record and sampled it for every other song he ever released. All he did was scream, sweat, and spastically spin his body around. I can do all of those things too. What amazing talent of his am I missing folks?
Joni Mitchell sometimes gave off an aura that she is more enlightened than the rest of us because she is an artist while everyone else is just a pop musician. However, the main reason to dislike Mitchell is her whiny, pitchy voice. Her singing, especially on the early folk albums, is often cringe worthy whenever she reaches for the upper registers. Except for parts of Court and Spark her pleasures elude me. I can't listen for too long despite her supposedly formidable composing skills. Also, if I hear "River" overplayed again this Christmas I'm going to scream like James Brown.
Men in dresses and makeup never did it for me and I'm sure I let this affect how I feel about Bowie's music. That said, even after he gave up the Ziggy Stardust persona he never stopped coming across as a too bizarre eccentric and a musical chameleon with no direction. He is more of a spectacle than a musician. His voice isn't particularly appealing either.
David Byrne's singing on "Burning Down the House" is one of the worst lead vocal performances I've ever had the displeasure of hearing. Add in the totally stupid "Stay Up Late," a song that does nothing more than describe the anatomy and actions of a baby (Where's the genius in that?) and we have a band that is way overrated. What does it tell you that their most listenable song is a cover of Al Green's "Take Me to the River?" It's surprising Byrne connected with so many people considering he has obvious disdain for anyone he believes is culturally inferior to him. Byrne was supposed to be a New York intellectual fronting an art-rock band. Not in my book.
I have no objections to his arrangements or compositions but McDonald is one of the WORST vocalists in pop music. There is nothing appealing about his voice. He sings like he has marbles in his mouth while in pain from a hernia. His recent attempts at covering Motown classics should be deep-sixed along with any microphone he attempts to warble into. His worst crime: ruining The Doobie Brothers. Working with McDonald is Steely Dan's only career mistake. Unfortunately, many people seem to love him.