Okay, so I just caught sight of REM singing some new song, and Michael Stipe is walking around in a yellow suit with a mask on. He looks like some sort of demented cross between The Green Hornet and Deion Sanders. The sum effect is that he just looks like a preening jackass. I suppose he’s reflecting his inner self.
It got me to thinking about the most pretentious musical entertainers of all time. Perhaps you don’t agree; if that’s the case, you can criticize me in the comments (which just for this post I’ll open up). As you begin crafting your 600-word defense of your favorite band that appears below, please realize that I like techno music, so perhaps our musical tastes diverge somewhat. I can accept that.
Here are ten of the most pretentious performers, in my opinion:
Bruce Springsteen: Grunting like you’re constipated doesn’t make you sound deep. It makes you sound like you need fiber. And all this reminiscing about high school? That’s not deep, either, it’s really, really shallow. Throw in that he has nothing but contempt for the ‘average’ man he supposedly celebrates and you’ve got some serious smugness. And I don’t care for that guitar jerk in the bandana, either.
John Cougar Mellencamp: I never could recover from the permutations of his name, from John Cougar to John Cougar Mellencamp to John Mellencamp to John Melonhead, for spinning out his lamentable “Our Country” truck song and then spewing anti-American jingoism. If you’re gonna wrap yourself in patriotism, you might try actually being patriotic.
The Dixie Chicks: Let’s get this straight: they go to London, badmouth the President in specific and rednecks in general, thus alienating 99% of their fan base. Then their sales tank, but they get lots of awards (which are shiny but don’t pay the bills). They still can’t sell any records, so they badmouth their fan base some more. For some reason I’m supposed to view them as victims? They sound like garden-variety assholes. Imagine if a rap artist said lots of bad things about black people. Who’d get painted as a victim then? I’m just saying.
Madonna: If you’re going to sing “American Life” and prattle on and on about America and Americans, it would help to actually live here. And if you’re going to prattle on and on about the deficiencies of the United Kingdom, maybe you should move away. But if you’re Madonna, you can do both, and people will still take you seriously. It must be because…let me get back to you on that.
REM: They’re like communism: it’s okay to be infatuated with it when you’re younger, but once you get some life experience you should really realize how vapid and empty their platitudes are. These guys are getting close to collecting social security, and they’re still spitting out the same BS they did in their youth thirty years ago.
Bryan Adams: I’m still mad about “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman” where he implies that he’s sooo much better than the rest of us because he sang the theme song for Robin Hood. And he just seems smug. Okay, I don’t have a good reason to put him on the list, but this guy really bothers me.
Boyz II Men: Listen closely to the song “End of the Road”. Doesn’t it promote date rape and demean women? Or is that just me? The subtext of this song is 100% misogyny, but somehow this went over everybody’s head. Oh, girl, I know what's good for you, so just drop your pants and roll over already.
John Meyer: Either speak up, or move the microphone closer. There is no middle ground here. This whispering slurred words thing just makes him unintelligible, and a quick search of the internet to find the actual words reveals that you’re not missing anything. I hate this guy with a passion, and when his songs come one it’s always a debate whether to turn off the radio or gouge out my eardrums. Fortunately I’ve not been more than arm’s length from the radio yet.
Avril Lavigne: I’m going to borrow her form and pen a little poem:
There’s more to lyrics than just rhyming,
And even that takes better timing,
Your songs leave me feeling sap-ped,
Because they are so very vapid.
Barbara Streisand: Here’s why I hate Barbara Streisand: her entire career is performing in front of people, yet whenever she appears anywhere we are bombarded with stories of how terrible her stage fright is, how it paralyzes her, and yadda yadda yadda. Well, guess what? Either it’s all bullshit or she’s an idiot for choosing the wrong career. You make the call. In the meantime, shut up about it already.
I’m sure you can think of others, so go nuts badmouthing them. Just remember that management disavows anything that is said or occurs in the comments section.