Sunday, January 25, 2009

For Me, It's John Denver ...

But Billy Joel ranks right up there.

Still on the DL, Garlic Fans, but I wanted to pop in with this gem from today, espied in the morning read.

The Worst Pop Singer Ever - Why, exactly, is Billy Joel so bad?

Ron Rosenbaum, over on Slate, weighs into Christie Brinkley's ex, sans anything other than 16-oz boxing gloves, whacking Joel around the ring, so to speak, unmercifully.

Which brings me to Billy Joel—the Andrew Wyeth of contemporary pop music—and the continuing irritation I feel whenever I hear his tunes, whether in the original or in the multitude of elevator-Muzak versions. It is a kind of mystery: Why does his music make my skin crawl in a way that other bad music doesn't? Why is it that so many of us feel it is possible to say Billy Joel is—well—just bad, a blight upon pop music, a plague upon the airwaves more contagious than West Nile virus, a dire threat to the peacefulness of any given elevator ride, not rock 'n' roll but schlock 'n' roll?


He thinks people can't stand him because he dresses wrong or doesn't look right.

Billy Joel, they can't stand you because of your music; because of your stupid, smug attitude; because of the way you ripped off your betters to produce music that rarely reaches the level even of mediocrity. You could dress completely au courant and people would still loathe your lame lyrics.
In-between those two samples is a boatload of great insight, and most amusingly, quite frequently.

John Denver is the worst for me ... Skin crawls each and every time my security breaks down, and a few notes of his singing breaks through

Being a Jazz Guy, I don't have as strong a dislike for Billy Joel as Rosenbaum, not being all that familiar with his work, yet, on the other hand, what I have heard of him, it hasn't made me want to run out and buy any of his recordings. What I have heard, it sounds like Pop pap, too cute, by half

And, one of his songs, 'New York State of Mind', is done infinitely better, by jazz pianist/vocalist Ben Sidran (and apologies, could not find a YouTube, or (free) audio file of it to post).

Go and read The Worst Pop Singer Ever, and check out the links, as Rosenbaum has also riffed on Angelina Jolie, and Starbucks.

Bonus Bonus

Since we brought him up, we thought you should hear a little of Dr. Ben Sidran, one of his better tunes, the Frank Rosolino-penned 'Blue Daniel'.

Some of you might know him, from his NPR program, "Sidran on Record", or, his time, early in his career, with the Steve Miller Band, writing their big hit, "Space Cowboy".

With the unrelenting, full measure of Winter we have had to-date, this tune might just hit-the-spot right now.

Ben Sidran - Blue Daniel

Blue Daniel - Ben Sidran

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Re: The Worst Pop Singer Ever - That's the dumbest piece of poop I've ever read. The writer is obviously musically illiterate. And if you like jazz, read Billy Joel's interview in