Monday, January 16, 2012

The A-List: Muscians/Bands Who Have Mostly Never Sucked

Who doesn't like to listen to music?  While there are those who would argue that some kinds of music aren't really music,  there appears to be some form of music to suit everyone's tastes.  I do not like the Disney-fied pop music of today, and think that Auto-tune is evil.  Yes, I went there.  If you can't sing without auto-tune, you're not a singer.   My tastes are relatively eclectic; I generally can listen to something at least once, which is more than I can say for my husband.  I like to rock, but I also enjoy some country, gospel, metal, and the blues, among others.   Today's A-List is therefore a list of musicians who have been consistently good with the music over time.  It is not a complete list; I waffled on a few names, like BB King or The Who.  Sue me. 

Some would argue that all of these people have sold out and gone over to the dark side of pop music in their old age.  To those people I say, STFU.  There is no law that says that a musician can't grow or change, and there isn't a person out there who would turn down a bucketful of cash if it was offered. Except maybe the Dalai Llama, but he doesn't need it, anyway.

Eric Clapton in all of his incarnations.  There is a reason that people started saying that Clapton is god.  The guy is that good at what he does, which is playing a serious guitar.  He's sort of a virtuoso, if there is such a thing for guitar players.   Not all of his songs have been great, true.  However, when the man nails the guitar, he blows the whole house down.  Layla was a classic before Goodfellas, folks.   I don't know if Clapton wrote all of the songs that he's made famous over the years, but with his guitar, he owned those babies.  One of my favorite Clapton songs is Sunshine of Your Love; it's a downright sexy song.

Trent Reznor  This guy is a little more than a month older than me, which makes us practically the same age.  Except he is older.  Probably wiser, too, since he's rich beyond the wildest dreams of avarice and I am not. But I'm not bitter.  His music is definitely not traditional; it is certainly creative, and the bottom line is that it is just plain interesting.  His most popular song, Closer, was sort of 'meh', but We're in This Together Now?  Genius.  His music is popping up all over the place these days, including in the movie The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Rolling Stones  The Rolling Stones have been in the music business longer than I've been alive.  That takes a lot of talent as well as skilled marketing.  Keith and Mick, a brilliant song writing team, sometimes remind me of a married couple, as far as their relationship goes.  They're just plain better together than apart, musically speaking.  They've been consistently throwing out hits for years, although there's certainly been a few misses during that time.  My favorites haven't always been the popular stuff; Continental Drift, for example.

ZZ Top   Most of their songs are great "car" songs; they play well on long road trips.  Okay, so they write mostly about sex and partying, but their music is fun and very definitely Texas.  La Grange is probably one of their best, and most easily identifiable songs, but I'm partial to Beer Drinkers and Hellraisers, Party on the Patio, and I Got The Six.  These guys never tried to get by on their looks, and although the beards certainly grab your attention, once they start playing, I tend to forget about everything else.  I just ease back and let the music roll me on down the road.

Elton John  I first discovered Elton John at the PX at a base in Munich, Germany, when I was 9 or 10.  I was fascinated by the album art for Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and begged my parents to buy it for me. And for some strange reason, they did.  That album certainly looked odd sitting there with Donny Osmond, but my brother and I listened to that Elton John album over and over again, until the title song was no longer playable.  Yes, Elton is flamboyant. Yes, he's over the top. But the man can write the music, so much so that I can forgive him I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues

Who are your favorites? 


  1. No Doubt. They're my NUMBER ONE FAVORITE BAND OF ALL TIME. I've been listening to them since I was in Middle School and they have NEVER put on a bad performance, EVER. That's my requirement in buying any of a band's music in any form. Much like your Autotune comment. If the band can't rock out on stage and sound as good or better than their CD/Record/WHATEVER, then I'm not interested in them. The thing I like best about No Doubt in particular is that they have changed, and they have allowed their own personal musical influences to change the way their music sounds over the years. Beacon Street Collection and their NXD album are both heavy in punk and ska roots, Tragic Kingdom brings in the ska but also dabbles more in what rock sounded like at that time in the 90's, Return of Saturn is more Rock/Pop and Rock Steady brings in a Reggae, Rock, Pop mixture. It's like a buffet for your ears!

    I supported Gwen Stefani throughout her solo career, because it spoke to me at the time... even that stupid "What you waiting for" song spoke to me.

    I swear my music tastes branch out from all that is No Doubt, but I just woke up. Maybe I'll write my own post on what I feel is good music. BTW, your list? Is great. I have ALL of those artists on heavy rotation in my own home.

  2. I still like you even though you like Elton John--go see Gnomeo and Juliet. That movie and the songs put me over the edge.

    I"m a geek but I still love the Pet Shop Boys, Depche Mode and the Cure. There I said it.

    1. I think that the Cure had some really great songs as did Depeche Mode. So we're still cool, right?

      I never said that Elton never sucked, just that he "mostly" never did.

  3. I listen to whatever my kids put on the radio, then they get to roll their eyes at me when I ask who it is and what the heck they are singing. Sad, but true. It's one battle I choose not to fight. I'm looking forward to the kids moving out so I can get my music back in the car again. Sigh.

  4. I feel compelled to admit to loving Billy Joel at one point, The Boss at another, and Zeppelin in those awkward leather jacket and too much eyeliner early teen years! There might have been a Barry Manilow phase when I grew tired oif John Denver.

  5. UGH! I need the AV club, as I can't correct my typos sometimes, nor type at all at times. I should've just said I like U2, REM and 10,00 maniacs!


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