Saturday, March 11, 2006

Leaden Irony

I thought that an appropriate (if terminally belated) response to the litany of attempts to concoct the theoretically seminal 'dream band' would be to enlighten you all as to the identities of the members of the Absolute Worst Band Imaginable:


Actually I like the Smashing Pumpkins and I think that Billy Corgan is an outstanding songwriter and an acceptably accomplished guitar player. But even the most devout, insensate and stubbornly deluded fan has to admit that his singing is preposterously inept. In addition to these astonishingly dismal vocals, which can only be described as the sound that would occur if you stuck a hyena in a blender and brutally mangled its testicles, unceremoniously shoved Rod Stewart into a helium balloon and told him that you'd release three consecutive atrocious albums of dire American standards if he refused to sing or threw Janet Street-Porter into a fire, he has the misplaced ego of ten Audley Harrisons ('I'm WELL on track to win the world championship some time in 2057 mate, WELL on track') and appeared to compose his early piano parts by dropping large lead weights at random intervals on to the instrument from a great height and then writing down the results.


For those of you who continue to reside in blissful ignorance, Johnny Buckland is the 'guitarist' from infuriatingly ubiquitous adult bedwetters and creators of the musical equivalent of lukewarm Tesco Value Porridge, Coldplay. Extraordinarily, Buckland is what I can only describe as 'the poor man's Edge', operating under the less-than-charmingly naive belief that repeatedly playing a single note in the manner of someone in possession of a solitary digit and adding an assortion of soul-crushingly leaden, pitifully poor, formulaic 'echo' effects to it constitutes an 'epic guitar solo'. No, Johnny, this does not constitute an 'epic guitar solo'. It constitutes something which invariably sounds suspiciously like it was shamelessly plagiarised from the sound a mobile phone makes when it receives a new message.

'Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try
To fix you'

Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP etc etc ad infinitum ad suicidal urges ad leaping desperately into the noose ad blissful terminal asphyxiation...


To be fair to the poor, utterly useless human vegetable of a bassist, he is left horribly exposed at the best of times by Brian Molko's satanic shrieking and godawful guitar playing. But surely, you may ask, this would give him increased motivation, if not sheer desperation, to actually acquire a remote semblance of skill at the instrument? You would be wrong. This man can only dream of discovering a fourth note.


Rare as it is for me to display disrespect towards someone who is not only vegetarian (and remember my maxim, chaps and chappettes - For Every Cow You Don't Eat, I'll Eat A Farm) but sadly no longer with us, I must remain faithful to my original aim and state that Paul McCartney's irritating sidekick will always occupy a legendary position in the pantheon of terrible keyboard players. Deluded individuals will probably attempt to defend her by using such ridiculous terms as 'minimalist', 'sparing' and 'subtle', but as these are all synonymous with 'is about as good as playing the piano as a baby duck is good at writing critically acclaimed existentialist poetry', I will treat their pathetic comeback with the contempt it deserves. However impressive the technology at her disposal, she always managed to ensure that her compositions sound like she had taken the demo tune from an 80s Casio keyboard, expertly removed the soul and then written a variation on it for Your One-Fingered Toddler's First Piano Book.


Let us be brutally and incisively honest here. No-one could possibly care less about Meg White's doubtful 'beauty', aura of charismatic mystery (which apparently is something you gain if you are incapable of speaking onstage, as opposed to a reputation for simply being spectacularly uninteresting), uniquely atrocious fashion sense and suspiciously ample mammaries if she played percussion with the dexterity of a sumo wrestler, the rhythmic appreciation of a small child clumsily thumping his baby sister over the head at random intervals with an assortion of toy trucks and the concentration of a repeatedly lobotomised goldfish with advanced Alzheimer's.

Unfortunately for her, this is exactly what she does.

Haha. Only kidding.

But seriously. She does.

Ed's Mood: Fulfilled

Ed's Incessant Auto-Repeat Musical Tip: Muse - Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want


Blogger bob said...

Billy Corgan and Meg White are the best and the worst of their own respective outfits. Billy is great, he has a great character and writes some beautiful long operas. However his voice is appalling and it takes a lot of conditioning to get far enough into them to really enjoy his whiney tones...

Same with Meg. She can't play the drums. But she is really hot. Really, really hot

5:00 AM  
Anonymous billy said...

this post is offensive to the extreme. Leaden Irony? even so, please stop talking bollocks about billy and meg.

cf billy
'acceptably accomplished guitar player' - fuck off.
although admittedly his ego is the size of canada and his voice is an aquired taste.

cf meg
i have never (recently)listened to the insanely wonderful white stripes and thought "i wish meg would take off round the kit every so often". in fact, for me, her drumming(and arse) is perfect. you cant take musicians out of the context of their bands to evaluate them.

whilst you're at it, stop using technical ability as a yard stick for musical ability. ie meg singing on 'In the Cold, Cold Night'; you may feel that her vocal range is limited and that a moose has a clearer grasp of tone. this doesnt change the fact that i shiver and fall in love every time i hear it. continuing in this vein will lead us to a wank-fest super group containing steve vai but devoid of lou reed. nobody wants that. hue cunt.

6:45 AM  
Anonymous billy said...

talking of contro. slap this into your browser...

6:54 AM  
Blogger bob said...

billy - yes meg's singing is gorgeous. dead-pan tones delivered straight to the heart

her drumming is still unimaginative though...seems to me like a puppet for jack. i'm sure jack would play the drums too if he had enough arms. imagine Billy C's frustration at Meg for not being as good as Jimmy. Nightmare band.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous bil said...

i agree that meg wouldnt work in a billy corgan band. i disagree that her drumming is unimaginative although she does act as a foil for jack.

"Her minimalist style, reminiscent of Velvet Underground drummer Maureen Tucker, has drawn debate among fans about her ability, an argument so commonplace that it was even continued in the movie School of Rock. For his part, Jack has claimed that Meg was the key component in the White Stripes' sound."

9:06 AM  
Blogger Chandler said...

Haha, superb. I wasn't planning to utilise Billy Corgan's songwriting (brilliant) or guitar playing (which ISN'T BAD but also isn't Ywngie Malmsteen).

I'm not taking Meg White out of the context of the White Stripes - I know she sounds 'raw' and 'primal', which obviously assists their annoying preoccupation with sounding supremely minimalist and using prehistoric equipment for no sentient reason ('you say this amp was made post '63? Get it out of my garage!'), but any of these fragile 'added qualities' she has are easily replaced. Any able-limbed drum novice moron off the street could match her inept playing (and any 'primal' quality it may have) with a couple of minutes practice. She would be equally useless regardless of the 'context' of her playing, and adds nothing to the White Stripes apart from ample mammaries (again, easily replaced etc). She's bloody fortunate to have Jack White in her band.

Obviously charisma is vital too (witness Thom Yorke's achingly heartfelt performance of Creep on the My Iron Lung EP, which would make a technical purist scream but is beautiful nevertheless), but not when there's literally *no* technical ability to accompany it. No-one wants excruciatingly uninteresting guitar virtuouso Steve Vai in their dream band, but then no-one wants Rolf bloody Harris either.

Oh, btw - the lyricist and chief songwriter is Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas. Oh yeah!


9:43 AM  
Blogger bob said...

much of my enjoyment of the white stripes is knowing that meg is sitting there on her red throne, looking like this:


kind of adds to the delicacy of the whole thing. rock-folk becomes delicious buttery-rock-folk.

i'm sure a better drummer would make for better music but then again it wouldn't be meg so i'd probably be less inclined to stick it on...

10:00 AM  
Blogger bob said...

excellent choice of songwriter. i'll get my lumps, my lumps, my lumps ready for a bashing

10:01 AM  
Anonymous George said...

Wow, i got to this post a bit late i see! I agree with almost everyhting bill says, and i completely disagree with ed and bob when you say corgan has a rubbish/atrocious/horrific/whatever voice. No, it might not be to your liking, but i happen to think that pumpkins wouldnt work if it was any other way, this makes it good even if you think it sounds whiny. Anyone, what about Stumbleline, some of the softer tracks off side 2 of mellon collie etc, just like thoms voice of motion picture soundtrack. his guitar playing is better than malmsteen vai satriani johnson hammett all put together, because it fucking means something, ie not just cheese solos and pointless showmanship. corgan restrains himself, like greenwood, when he needs to, then fucking explodes in an amazing soaring solo (cf cherub rock perhaps) that has me on my knees crying tears of joy and appreciation (idolatory).

Meg is beautiful, those pig tails and tight arse in white toight trousers (cf glasto/reading)
Her drumming is absolutely fine: she's not pretending to be danny carey for fuck's sake, because the White Stripes aren't tool. make as many superbands as you want because everyone knows that they are ficitonal and just a chance to put people together in a band that would never work. accepted. but by making an anti=band and going into such detail (really too critical i think of meg and billy) you're missing the point, or else begging the question. meg is cool for what she does, leave her at that.

i'm going to go and lissten to the smashing pumpkins really loud and just listen to billy's voice

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Billy said...

"Obviously charisma is vital too...but not when there's literally *no* technical ability to accompany it." (Ed)

cf punk(ramones in particular), kinks(ie you really got me, all day and all of the night), troggs (wild thing), Free (alright now) and our lovely figure of lust - meg white...the list of such eg's in popular music is exhaustive.

note: i dont think these artists completely lack technical ability. they merely cluster together near the bottom of the scale.

the reason no-one wants vai or harris is precisely their lack of charisma. they both have enough technicality to be 'contenders' (cf movie poll).


9:12 AM  
Anonymous g-man said...

yeh what precisely is wrong with stripped down, honest music like kinks and ramones that doesnt have any pretentions

(ed you are "currently listening" to a Muse cover of a Smiths song - i don't think it can get much worse than that)

i appreciate kinks (wow Lola just came on literally as i'm typing this. fun) and such precisely because it's so right there in front of you, you know theyre just young guys like us who picked up a guitar made some tunes and sung them because they meant something, not beacuse theyre displaying falsettos all ove the shop or whatever

(Unrelated) i command everyone to go and listen to London Calling album as a whole in the sunshine with a spliff and mates in the garden (skip track 1 if it's sunny) and try and come back and tell me it's not the best album for that surroundings. oh my god, i get this phase every year: Clampdown. Rudie Can't Fail. Train In Vain. Christ it's like the Dark Side for summer

9:41 AM  
Blogger Chandler said...

The problem with stripped down music is that it become bloody boring very quickly. If a band mindlessly peddles three formulaic chords in the same formulaic sequence they becom extremely hard to listen to (c.f. The Strokes, The Datsuns, etc). This is why I hate garage rock - it's so brain-shatteringly repetitive that any charismatic qualities the performers might have become totally insignificant after a while. Radiohead are the perfect example of a band with charisma (Thom's vocals, not their dire personalities), the technical ability and, more importantly, the variation to be interesting over the course of a whole album. Same goes for Pink Floyd, Muse, Smashing Pumpkins, Anathema etc. But hey, that's just me.


P.S. I agree, Rolf Harris was an unbelievably crap example of someone with charisma, haha.

P.P.S. George noticed that I was listening to the most pretentious combination of band (Muse) and lyrics (composed by Morrissey) imaginable, which doesn't help my cause. I'll give him that one. Bollocks.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous george said...

Hey i don't get bored of listening to Ramones' "Rock and Rock High School" or "I Wanna Be Sedated" every single morning before i go to uni. You can only say that you yourself get bored of three cord bands, i know loads of people who get bored of superfluous little keyboard cheese-outs on certain albums (Absolution) or miserable depressive songs (Radiohead) or cringeworthilly overlong exposure to frilly batty soloage (Vai/Satch/Malmsteen etc)

For me, music is all about honesty and progression. Bands don't have have both qualities, some like Tool/Radiohead do, others like Kinks/Ramones might only possess the former criterion. This means we can discern 'good' in music in some other way than 'technical ability'.. Satriani and Vai aren't "Gods" to me because there is neither honesty (just arrogance) or progression (cheese has been around since Jesus and theyre not pushing many boundaries outside of the cheesemarket)..

Kinks are "good" because they know what theyre trying to do, the best way to do it (which involves recognising their own limits), and because of this is comes across as real. To me Vai etc and Muse etc are sort of out there in pretentia-space, i can't relate to what theyre doing because it is so far up their own arse.

2:01 PM  
Blogger bob said...

silly debate. it is like trying to get someone to like the taste of marmite through rational argument. when i express my music tastes i don't produce objective constants

how about:

i love music

4:56 PM  
Anonymous g said...

yes, obviously that's an ideal. "i love music" too and wish everyone was as into the music i like as i am. that's unrealistic, i was just responding to stimulus (ie ed's {deliberately provocative [and i like it] entry}
nothing wrong with a bit of healthy discussion anyway, tho i'll never win ed over to punk and he'll never win me over to queen/darkness/extreme muse

i raised a question the other day: what's better, good conversation or good music?
(only one way to find out! FIGHT!!)
too many predictable answers tho, like "1-on-1 conversation = better than music" etc
spose it's social vs personal type thing, altho...

6:04 PM  
Blogger Chandler said...

George is right dudes- thought the inclusion of Meg White and Billy Corgan would spark off a little comment-controversy banterage, which is just what I've been looking for since I started this blog. Can't beat a bit of healthy provocation. Obviously It's all entirely subjective anyway (apart from the objectively vast superiority of Muse to anything else out there, haha).

Hoegaarden = Better Than Music


5:45 AM  
Anonymous g said...

loving your word spiel
yeh i like hoegaarden wot with that little bit of lemon too
i know blogwriters crave long comment sections, so we've all duly obliged, and for that i salute you. still need more pictures to lighten the site up tho mate! just a picture of you at the bottom of every entry with the expression of your "Mood" taken digitally would be perfect (and very inventive)

6:36 AM  
Anonymous nick b said...

I don't know which is better out of good conversation or good music, but I know what's worst: both at the same time.

People. Should. Shut. Up.

(Sorry to all for adding to Ed's comment count. Interesting debate, by the way.)

5:09 PM  
Blogger bob said...

music is a conversation

a decent voiceless melody talks to me as well as any human can

5:28 PM  
Blogger Chandler said...

I think the owners of Wetherspoons agree with you on that one Nick.


4:15 PM  

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