Friday, September 04, 2009

A vexing question regarding bands

I listened to Kelly Clarkson's Since U Been Gone last night. I love that song, but nothing else I have heard. That got me thinking about other bands I dislike with songs I like. Does one good song redeem a bad band? Or does it just provide a silver lining?

Take the aggressively bad band Bush. Oh how they plagued alternative rock stations for years. That said, they gave us the awesome Swallowed.

Does this redeem the band?


HLK said...

T - my thought is that there is no shame in listening to a song that you like by a bad band. HOWEVER, it does NOT redeem a bad band. You should simply feel free to enjoy the song and the song only - you shouldn't feel guilty but, again, I don't think you should feel like you have to like the band.

This should be distinguished from the One-Hit Wonder, mind you. A OHW, by definition, is neither a good or bad band - just one that is solely identified by their one hit. Often, they put out other stuff that you can't hate. It just sounds like filler.

My iTunes library at home has a number of OHW, but more importantly, a number of the "Good Songs by Bad Bands." A few of my favorites:

"Stars are Blind" by Paris Hilton. Interesting, because there are numerous reasons to despise Paris, and her music is among the least important of them. But this is a great song with a catchy island-inspired hook.

"Pieces of Me" by Ashlee Simpson. I just like it. I'm fairly sure the rest of her oeuvre sucks.

"Steal my Sunshine" by Len. The rest of the album - which, incidentally, bears the to-me awful title "You Can't Stop the Bum Rush" - is complete garbage. I know because I own it. The fact that it was in the Used Bin at Plan 9 in Richmond about 3 days after it came out should've tipped me off.

How about that song "Tomorrow" by Silverchair? For some reason, I don't like those MTV-created kids, but I like that song.

How about this, T - do we have to stop at one song? Because some bands have a tremendous body of work with a disproportionately small number of songs I like. I would put Phish and the Dead squarely within that category. I don't really despise the bands, but . . .

Oh, and by the way, FWIW, I don't really mind Bush. It is amazing, though, how they went from super-popular to the band you love to hate in the span of weeks.

HLK said...

Oh, yeah, and "See you Around" by that D-Bag H-Job Jesse, the homeless MTV VJ.

Tripp said...

HLK re: Bush, I think the transition you described is based on the essential suckiness of Bush.

Nice distinction between OHW and the single inexplicably good song of a bad band. I suspect the diff can be measured in number of albums.

I think Phish and the Dead are in their own category. Here you have a majority of dislike, but not a categorical rejection of the band that is tempered only by a single song.

Have you analyzed Phish or the dead at at the songwriter level (Jerry vs. Bob vs. Phil for example?) It could be based on that.