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Musicians who flummox

Music news, rumors, what you're listening to, how you're listening to it and whether it's all on the up-and-up.

Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby christopher_robin » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:23 pm

Oh yeah, I love "The Longest Time."

Not so much "Uptown Girl", also a pastiche of '50s cliches -- er, homage.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:24 pm

Kenneth Burns wrote:rocker


Rocker? I'll give him "pop rocker" at best, but more likely pop balladeer.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Kenneth Burns » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:41 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
Kenneth Burns wrote:rocker


Rocker? I'll give him "pop rocker" at best, but more likely pop balladeer.


What I wrote is overly self-conscious rocker. It's a critical distinction. He was always trying to prove to critics and naysayers that he could rock out. With mixed results.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:46 pm

Kenneth Burns wrote:What I wrote is overly self-conscious rocker. It's a critical distinction. He was always trying to prove to critics and naysayers that he could rock out. With mixed results.


My bad. Carry on.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Walter » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:56 pm

Am I about to admit that I've always liked "You May Be Right"?

Yep. Dang.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:05 pm

Kenneth Burns wrote:He was always trying to prove to critics and naysayers that he could rock out. With mixed results.
Yeah, I try to separate my feelings about art and my feelings about the artist, but Joel is such a douchebag I have a really hard time doing so. That said, his art fails on its own merits most of the time anyway. His reading negative reviews onstage and then ripping them up is one of the most pathetic things I've ever heard a rock star do. And I remember him being unbearable in a 60 Minutes segment many years back. He really thinks very highly of himself and his place in music history (although I defy him to name anyone who he's influenced.)
I do have a certain fondness for some of his songs, but I don't think I like "My Life" because it's a scintillating piece of music (it ain't), I probably just like it cuz it was the theme from Bosom Buddies. (I was 9.) "Piano Man" is an OK song, I guess, but it has fuck-all to do with rock and roll. I've been known to sing "Only The Good Die Young" at karaoke, but (in my mind I) rock it a lot harder than Joel.

But his attempts at Grand Statements generally fall flat ("Allentown" is listenable, but holy shit "Goodnight Saigon"! Really, Billy? They had no soft soap? The horror!) And as a fan of actual doo-wop, I cannot abide his lame imitations. (He can do whatever he wants to The Four Seasons for all I care. Hard to be any more annoying imitating Frankie Valli than Valli already is, IMO.)

Finally, he should burn in hell forever for unleashing "We Didn't Start The Fire" on the world.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Kyle Motor » Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:09 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:(although I defy him to name anyone who he's influenced.)

Ropin' Rodeo Nate.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:10 pm

Kyle Motor wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:(although I defy him to name anyone who he's influenced.)

Ropin' Rodeo Nate.
Billy Joel has never heard of Ropin' Rodeo Nate.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby ilikebeans » Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:18 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:(although I defy him to name anyone who he's influenced.)

Plenty of pianists; Ben Folds immediately comes to mind.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby minicat » Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:35 pm

I loved both Hall & Oates and Billy Joel a metric ton growing up. Burned out on both.

Came back on H&O a lot, partly due to Wagstaff (and he's right, early '80s is a good cutoff for the most part). They are one of the more consistently solid acts of the '70s, ridiculous albums covers and all. I really like "War Babies."

Joel ... weeeell, I still say I like a few of those albums a lot when the argument comes up, but have a harder time defending exactly why -- particularly if I go back and actually listen. I recently spun "The Stranger," which I probably played approximately one million times 25+ years ago, and some of it's pretty cringe-inducing ("Just the Way You Are" ... I had to skip it). "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" is so over the top it's charming. "Only the Good Die Young" rules, especially if you are Catholic. "Movin' Out" is definitely love it or hate it territory.

If I'm gonna pull one out, it's probably "Glass Houses," which is entertaining fake New Wave. "52nd Street" is entertainingly bitchy at times. And the one that originally came out with the Chipmunk vocals ("Cold Spring Harbor") is actually pretty solid.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Kenneth Burns » Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:46 pm

minicat wrote:some of it's pretty cringe-inducing ("Just the Way You Are" ... I had to skip it)


If you don't like soft rock ballads you'll never like that tune, but I think it's pretty much perfect for what it is, a dreamy love song with a dynamite hook, right up until: "I don't want clever conversation / I never want to work that hard." Those lines encapsulate what is grating about Billy Joel. The condescension. Woman, you'd better not be smart.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby massimo » Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:48 pm

Kenneth Burns wrote:"I don't want clever conversation / I never want to work that hard." Those lines encapsulate what is grating about Billy Joel. The condescension. Woman, you'd better not be smart.

Interesting. Never looked at it that way. I always thought that line was meant to be a bit self-deprecating, i.e. I'm just a simple guy and don't want to have to pretend otherwise, but yeah, coming from Billy Joel I guess you may have a point.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Kenneth Burns » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:00 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:And as a fan of actual doo-wop, I cannot abide his lame imitations.

I dunno, is a well-executed, musicianly doo-wop pastiche like "The Longest Time" lame solely because it's not actual doo-wop? I could see what you're saying if Joel had made a career of doo-wop mimicry.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby uwstudent » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:13 pm

Billy Joel - '80's yuppie music. "Keeping the faith" blech.
I call him Mr Mediocrity.
Used to work with a guy who listened to him at work all the time. Wanted to throw the CD player in the garbage compressor.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby doppel » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:29 pm

Hall and Oates, fuck me, some of the worst crap ever I heard. Used to refer to them as Haulin' Goats. "Your Kiss is on My List". Make me puke, buckets.
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