Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Balls to the Hall: Rock and roll can never die

Who the bleep is Demi Lovato?

Sure, I can Google until my heart's content. If she follows the pattern of all the other cookie-cutter, auto-tuned acts out there, I can be sure that turning off Google's "Safe Search" filter will most likely reveal some pictures of her getting out of a limo and Whoops! someone forgot to wear panties. But, seriously... who the hell is she?

You're reading this from a guy who had no clue who Britney Spears was until well after her Baby Hit Me One More Time (which I still say is a thinly-veiled ode to relationship abuse) phase. When it comes to my likes and dislikes, I am firmly in the camp of rock, hard rock, and anything that makes the majority of the socially-acceptable turn up their collective noses and pray for some Michael Bolton.

I bring up that Lavato chick only because if The Hall continues to allow people in who have no cause to be associated with rock, we're going to see inductees such as The New Kids on the Block, The Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and all of those other pre-fabricated, paint-by-numbers acts that have permeated the cultural landscape since television came on the scene.

When they was Fab.
Don't believe me? Let's talk The Beatles. For my money, Paul & John were THE best songwriting duo of the latter 20th century. Period. No one will argue about George's talent, and, what people fail to realize is that Ringo is extremely talented in his own right. Unfortunately, even a bright star gets dimmed when it's surrounded by brighter ones. In any case, The Beatles, capturing a phrase from their day, were dubbed "The Fab Four" because, well, there were four of them and they had that "fabbo" way about them. Right after The Beatles were just gods among men, television created The Monkees... or, as a lot of news outlets dubbed them, "The Pre-Fab Four".

The Monkees, in their heyday, were huge... impossibly so, making them a good example of what happens when you get lucky. Don't get me wrong... I love The Monkees. They were actually my very first concert (the 1987 reunion tour featuring one "Weird" Al Yankovic as the opening act in The Mann Music Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), but I would never consider them Hall-worthy like The Beatles.

No matter which era of music you look at, you'll see an innovative look or sound or act hit, and then a slew of imposters, pretenders, and just plain losers will flood the market. Can I argue that The New Kids weren't huge? Christ, no. I have a little sister, and when NKOTB (for those "in the know", ya know) hit the scene, it was unreal. They were the grandfathers of the boy-band craze of the 1990s and beyond (of course, we can also blame Menudo, but the only reason a lot of white people remember them was the guest stint on Silver Spoons, right? Don't lie... you know know I'm right), but that doesn't make them inductee-worthy.

What I'm worried about is the dearth of true acts in 20 years. Sure, you have solid bands like Puddle of Mudd and a lot of other nu-rock acts, but they are so niche that, unless their big hit is a little salacious or adopted by some car company, no one hears of them. God forbid I take my son to Cleveland in 2025 to see Nickleback get in.


So, I reiterate: Who the bleep is Demi Lovato? Why should I care? Who are these teeny-bopper pretty people whose voices get auto-tuned to all hell? Can't we just start over and hopefully get some really awesome garage bands out into the world? I mean, truly, if I hear Justin Beiber one more time, I may just have to find a bell-tower.

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