Monday, December 30, 2013

10 Bands/Artists I Don't Like As Much as I Thought I Liked Them

I have an external hard drive full of music. Really, really full of music. It has probably almost 180 GB of music on it. There's no way I will ever get to listen to all of that music, but I have an obsession with music and collecting music, so onward the march continues. I collect more music and then more and more frustrated I can't listen to all the music I have. In about 10 years I will be locked inside a padded cell with only Windows Media Player and my external hard drive desperately trying to get through all of my music before I die.

So once or twice (FINE! Three times in the past six months...quit shining the bright light in my eyes) a year I go through my external hard drive and make a list of all the music I may want to get rid of that I simply don't enjoy or music by an artist I simply had no listened to in order to see if I wanted to keep the music or not. So I make the list of artists (which usually comes to about 75-100 artists, and no, I have not been officially diagnosed with OCD) and then listen to every album I have on my external hard drive by that artist. It takes forever, but is really fun to listen to music I didn't know I would like but apparently owned. Of course, then there are the artists or bands I remember really liking and they are just simply not good. It's a letdown, like being 18 years old again and finally going on a date with a girl you wanted to go out with, but then it turns out she likes the "Twilight" movies, texts her friends all the time while you are talking to her, and has to get home in time to watch a television show on the CW with her friends. So I figured I would make a list of the 10 artists or bands that were total letdowns for me and I had to remove all traces (or come close) of this artists music from my external hard drive and possibly my memory.

1. Alison Krauss with or without Union Station 

Let me defend my having Alison Krauss on my external hard drive first. Yes, I have previously stated I do not like bluegrass at all. Yes, Alison Krauss is a bluegrass/country artist. I had a couple of her more popular albums and a greatest hits album in my collection. I had them because I figured I would enjoy them. I worked an Alison Krauss concert in college and was amazed at the connection she had with her audience. It wasn't exactly an exciting concert, but the audience was really hanging on what she was singing. I got to meet her after the concert and got an autograph for my father. So I had a couple of albums and a greatest hits in my collection...

Then I listened to the music. I don't mind depressing music or slow music or music that is slow so it sounds depressing. It doesn't bother me, but Alison Krauss' music was so slow and so dreary I thought I was going to fall asleep while listening to it. I struggled getting through it and about the time I got to a song on her greatest hits (a duet with James Taylor) called "How's the World Treating You?" my only answer was this. Everyone has music they like and don't like. The great musicianship and the nice voice Alison Krauss has did not make up for the fact her albums sounded dull, boring, and didn't move me. So it's pretty much official. I don't like bluegrass. I almost kept one of the albums so I could have "When You Say Nothing at All," but then I realized her version was dull and I preferred the Keith Whitley version anyway.

2. Nas

Whenever someone would ask me to list my favorite rappers I would always list Nas in there because I had Stillmatic and Illmatic, plus other tracks from his other albums. He was great in my opinion. So about a year ago I collected every album he ever released and was very happy I had his full collection...then I listened to the music (notice a trend?). Everything other than Illmatic and Stillmatic isn't great and a lot of Stillmatic is Nas saying, "Hey, remember that album I wrote almost decade ago? How good was that?" On "I Am..." he sampled himself (yes, himself) not once, not twice, but on three separate tracks. Not that he was lacking for creativity at the time of course. I find his albums to not be bad, but to work really well if you make a greatest hits out of them, which I did.

3. Rufus Wainwright/Loudon Wainwright III

Loudon Wainwright's music just simply fell under the category of "I heard it was good, so I got some of it and then I decided it was only supposed to be good because people kept saying it was supposed to be good." So I deleted all I had by him.

Now Rufus Wainwright...that's a different story. Somehow through my entire life I had only heard his songs that didn't suck. I don't know how I managed to do this, but I did. So I made a greatest hits album out of all the Rufus Wainwright albums I had...and it totaled five songs. I kept it at five songs because it seemed appropriate. I'm sure 99% of you haven't heard every Rufus Wainwright album, well I haven't either. I quit around "Want Two" because his albums and singing style reminded me of a teenager who was told repeatedly he is a good singer and so that teenager starts to believe it and then writes music he feels is really, really deep. He sings in the most baroque and chamber-pop fashion possible. It's like listening to Frank Sinatra if he took all of the fun out of his songs and started to write songs that are basically inside jokes to himself. I'll pass...except for those five songs of course.

4. Weezer

I loved Weezer when "The Blue Album" came out. I stopped loving Weezer when "Pinkerton" was released. It sucked the joy out of their music and I just wanted Rivers Cuomo to shut up about his angst and write "The Blue Album" again. Time has made me realize "Pinkerton" is actually a pretty good album, save for any type of weird love songs to underage Japanese fans of course (on an album where Cuomo complains about sex with groupies he writes a love song to a underage groupie of sorts). So after collecting all of Weezer's albums and listening to them all, I decided to just pretend the band broke up after "The Green Album" and then released one last album called "MalaMakeBelievedroit" where all of the crappy songs on this albums are removed and the good songs are left.

Don't pretend there aren't bad songs on those two albums either. The last half of "Maladroit" is unlistenable at times and "Make Believe" somehow has the distinction of the first two singles managing to be the worst two songs on the album. Then there is "The Red Album," "Ratitude," "Hurley," and "Death to False Metal" which taught me the important lesson of never trusting a review of an album. They are brutally bad, despite the fact they don't exist of course. I could not remove these albums from my external hard drive fast enough.

5. Jane's Addiction

I like "Jane Says" and "Been Caught Stealing." The 90's grunge part of me wants to like the rest of their greatest hits, but I can't even do that. I thought I liked Jane's Addiction and I don't. It's not them, it's me. Well, it is them. Perry Ferrell's voice gets irritating after a while and the music kind of got grating.

6. Spoon's Early Albums

When I first started dating my wife she made a crazy amount of albums by bands that she felt I needed to listen to. I worked hard to like Spoon because I didn't really get their music at first, but eventually I enjoyed their music and thought "Girls Can Tell" through "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" was a really strong period of four albums. In fact, "Girls Can Tell" is probably one of my favorite albums of all-time. When I heard their three albums prior to "Girls Can Tell" I was a bit surprised because I didn't think it sounded like Spoon at all. In fact, "Telephono" doesn't even sound like music the best that I can tell. "A Series of Sneaks" was a bit better and "Soft Effects" wasn't really that much better. I thought there would be something redeemable on those first three albums or some indication of the band that put out four great albums in the 2000's, except there wasn't. Those three albums got deleted pretty quickly.

7. Local Natives

This band was suggested to me by my sister-in-law who usually has good taste in music. She lives in an area that actually has independent radio where the stations idea of playing indie rock isn't playing a song by The Shins every couple of hours. I got their first album and then when they released another album I got that one as well. The problem (and again, this is a trend) is I didn't listen to these albums. There are moments of really good songs on their two albums, well mostly on "Gorilla Manor," but overall it's pretty disappointing. They became on of those bands I felt like I was supposed to like, but the music was too difficult for me. It was like hearing the Beach Boys singing three-part harmony over a backdrop of monkey's (not The Monkees") banged on instruments. Okay, maybe that's overstating the case a bit. Still, this is a band that I'm sure that is good, but I couldn't handle the songs or the sound they favored.

8. TV on the Radio

Forget what I said about all of the other bands, this is the band that was the most disappointing. I saw "Dear Science" at the very top of end-of-the-year best albums lists and also knew their other albums were well-thought of as well. I have no idea why. Again, there was listenable songs, but there was also really bad music on there. Maybe it's me. Maybe I can't stand post-punk/electro music. I don't think that's it, but I TV on the Radio is one of those bands that I needed to listen if I enjoyed music. That's how I felt. Apparently I don't like music.

9. Son Volt

I like Uncle Tupelo and I like Wilco. Son Volt, outside of "Trace," which is a must-have album is just not a very good band in my opinion. A lot of the music sounds fairly similar and I just don't feel the passion in the songwriting that I feel when I hear "Trace" or any of Uncle Tupelo and Wilco songs. This is another band I just assumed I would like because I like music similar to it, but I have found alt-country (as it is called) is pretty hit or miss for me. I love the Old '97s and they really aren't that different from Son Volt, but I enjoy the Old 97's music more. I listened to every album I had by Son Volt and just had to get rid of them. It's hard to get into an album when the tracks all feel mid-tempo and uninspired compared to other music I listen to.

10. Maroon 5

Okay, I'm lying. I don't have any music by Maroon 5. They are just terrible. That's all.

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