Steal This Music Write-Off Part 2: DrFaustus' Worst of 2002
Dec 30, 2002 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in MusicThe Bottom Line What went wrong in music for 2002...
I've already covered what I thought was the best in music for 2002, but it wasn't all a good year. There was also plenty that got on my nerves and stuck under my skin, and not in that good, new tattoo way, but rather in that bad, tropical insect that the guidebooks warn you about way.
To be honest, though, I dont really feel qualified to put together a list of worst albums for 2002. I'm sure there are dozens, if not hundreds of terrible albums from this past year, but I reacted to them the same way I react to most terrible albums: I ignore them completely in favor of buying older albums that I have reason to believe I will enjoy. So a list of worst albums of the year is out for me. Individual songs, though, are a different mater. Among radio, television, the internet, and just about any other medium, there were plenty of individual songs I couldn't avoid, and more than a few of them brought me tremendous physical and emotional pain. I won't bother ranking these stinkers, and none of them deserve that much though and attention.
The Worst Songs of 2002
Get Free - The Vines
The first time I saw footage of this song being performed, I was really concerned that singer Craig Nichols was having some sort of seizure. After a few more viewings though, it became clear that is just one big, pretentious, "I'm a tortured, misunderstood artist" fašade. Craig, grow up. Drop the "I can act as embarrassingly as I want 'cuz I'm an artist" act and try writing some songs that arent as grating and derivative, and maybe I'll give you another chance.
Jenny From the Block - Jennifer Lopez
Is it true that twelve different people are given writing credit for this song? The song sounds annoying enough as it is, but when you combine it with her lyrics about how, despite all her fame and money, she's still humble little Puerto Rican Girl that grew up in the Bronx. Sorry, Jennifer, but the public image you've developed has about as much in common with your old self as I do, and I'm just a pasty white guy who's lived in Wisconsin all his life. (And by the way, now that she's soon to be Jennifer Lopez-Affleck, I'm going to insist that everyone change her nickname from J-Lo to J-Loaf.)
Days Go By - Dirty Vegas
I've never liked techno music. I find it repetitive, unimaginative, amateurish, and, above all else, boring. Days Go By has done nothing to change these impressions. Things wouldn't have been so bad, but Mistubishi decided that I needed to hear the song every twenty minutes over the summer. Dirty Vegas' commercial exposure is proof that absolutely any can become famous with enough exposure, no matter how undeserving they are.
Heaven, I Need a Hug - R. Kelly
I'm not here to judge. No one has yet proved that R. Kelly has done anything illegal. Nevertheless, the unpleasant, slimy rumors were cropping up all over the place this summer. Sure, Kelly denied that he had done anything wrong, as most people probably would have done, but he didnt really do anything to clean off the taint that the rumors had given him. Instead, he records this self-exploitive song in which he claims that at least God is on his side. Now Kelly, you may not have done anything wrong, but at least clean up your public perception before heaven feels like it needs a shower from being associated with you.
Get This Party Started - Pink
I all honesty, I can't quite put my finger on why exactly I cant stand this song. Maybe it's because the song was forced upon me wherever I went this spring. Maybe I think she needs to learn how to spell. Maybe I'm just annoyed that Pink can't seem to settle on a flamboyant image that she likes for more than two days. Maybe I'm a little put off by the lingering touch of Linda Perry, whose work with Four Non-Blonds I never liked either. Whatever the reason, I never care to hear this song again.
The Low points for music in 2002 weren't just limited to bad songs, though. Here are the worst moments in this year's music, once again in no particular order.
Most Embarrassing Moments in Music for People Who Aren't Michael Jackson
Guns 'n Roses Self-Destructs Again
I really do wish success for Axl Rose's Chinese Democracy, if it ever does come out. But Axl, please, stop acting like a spoiled little diva. The only thing less surprising than your new tour falling apart is the fact that the sun continues to rise every day. Show some humility and start bending over backwards for your fans. They've made you a success, but if you slapping them in the face and treating them like unwashed peasants in your fiefdom, they'll rise up and abandon you completely.
The RIAA Blames Financial Losses on the Listeners
As Hillary Rosen has told us, the only reason that profits for the music industry are declining is that we fans are sneaking around on the internet and downloading thousands of songs a day, never intending to fork over twenty dollars for the full disk. Thank you Ms. Rosen. I'm so glad you drove up in your diamond studded Mercedes and had one of your many liveried butlers roll down your window so that you could point your finger and chastise us before you drove back to your mansion. Yes. We're the ones to blame. We're so sorry, your majesty.
"X-Stina" "Re-invents herself" as a "whore"
Alright, I will admit that attacking Kelly Osborne was kind of cool, but almost everything else you've done this year is an embarrassment. Christina, the whole "shocking image makeover" trick is supposed to be reserved for artists who can't survive on the strength of their music anymore. Stop coyishly dropping hints about your sexuality. Quit flaunting your ever growing collection of piercings. Lose the videos with close-ups of your panty-clad ass. All you need to do is let your music stand on its own. It's not half bad. Your antics, though, are really drawing focus from the music.
True, the show was quite successful, and I had more than a few friends who tuned in to the show every week, but American Idol represents the worst in recent music trends. No longer is success in the music world a result of hard work, talent, and dedication. To be successful these days, you simply have to appeal to the widest possible audience. The problem is, the easiest way to appeal to the most people, is to be as bland and predictable as possible, lest you alienate some potential fans. As long as we continue to follow the American Idol trend, there will be no real innovation or experimentation that might bring us something new.
Pop Bands Pretend To Be Punks
I'm not going to name names here, because you all know who you are. Give yourselves all the Mohawks and piercings you want. Sneer at the audience. Pay lip service to bands like The Sex Pistols and The Stooges. You can do all that and so much more, but when your music is energetic, peppy, and, above all else, full of melodic hooks, you are a pop band. Until you drop the whole pseudo-punk image, you'll just be offending fans of real punk music and alienating those listeners who can see through your artificial image.
Most Embarrassing Moments in Music for People Who Are Michael Jackson
The Infamous Baby Dangle
Despite what you may think, Michael, we really don't care that much about seeing your kids. If anything, we pity them, and we do so even more now that we've seen you thoughtlessly and carelessly put one of them in danger.
The Spider Bite
For those not aware, during one of his recent court appearances, Jacko had to be carried into the courtroom die to an infected spider bite on his foot. The absurdity of the situation was embarrassing enough, but things got even worse when journalists, sick of having to take Jackson seriously, got to have some fun discussing whether or not the spider was one of Jackson's many pets.
The Sony Lawsuit
Okay, we're all sorry that Invincible didn't sell as well as you had hoped. Nevertheless, it sold in excess of two million copies, which is far better than many other albums that came out this year. You really shouldn't be complaining to begin with, if you're going to be so upset, take your own advice and start with the man in the mirror. Your album didn't sell so well because the world has changed, but you're still offering us the same basic sound you gave us fifteen years ago.
The Artist of the Millennium Award
When you're at home in Neverland Ranch, you can make acceptance speeches for all of the fake awards that you want. When you're out in public, though, keep in mind that significant honorary awards, even if they come from MTV, are always announced well ahead of time. Shame on you for assuming that Britney Spears knows what she's talking about.
Finally, in 2002 we lost more than a few really talented artists. We lost plenty of big names from recent years, like DeeDee Ramone, John Entwistle, Joe Strummer, Lisa Lopes, Mary Hansen, Layne Staley, and Jam Master Jay. They'll all be missed, but we can't forget some of the older stars that we also lost. Juan Garcia Esquivel, Peggy Lee, and Lionel Hampton may not be as familiar to kids these days, but they deserve just as much honor. You were all great. May your names live on for years to come.
So here's looking forward to 2003. I'm sure next year have more than its share of low points on music, but we can hope that at the very least, next year's stinkers will be just as entertaining as this year's were.
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