March 16, 2007

Too much rock for one poll

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has a poll up asking whether we think twenty-five artists are future hall of famers...
  • Guns 'N' Roses - 60/40 (current poll results 60% yes/40% no) - Nope...one phenomenal album, Appetite for Destruction is one of the best hard rock albums ever...and Use Your Illusion was solid but overly long...too little product and too much internal destruction...five albums total - one legend, two very good - just isn't enough to overcome that
  • Jay-Z - 35/65 - I'm too far out of my depth in rap to even comment
  • Madonna - 76/24 - she's been too popular and relevant for too long to be anything but a yes...but she certainly doesn't feel rock to me in the least...
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - 61/39 - they seemed like such throwaway punk/ska in the 80s that I probably would've said no...but their late career rebirth (Californication, By the Way, Stadium Arcadium) puts them in for me
  • Mariah Carey - 45/55 - after ten albums, she still feels like a much lesser, much crappier Madonna...and she's not even close to rock...I'm thinking that the Hall should be changed to the Pop Music Hall of Fame...and she'd still not be in for me
  • Radiohead - 20/80 - again, I'm out of my depth...probably couldn't name a single song by Radiohead
  • Snoop Dogg - 37/63 - man, I'd say no, but his discography suggests that it'd be closer than I think it would be...again, I'm honestly out of my depth
  • Justin Timberlake - 30/70 - no way...he's put out two albums and been a member of a big boy band...the solo work doesn't come even close
  • Bjork - 12/88 (lowest positive reaction so far) - more a curiosity than a musician here in the US...no
  • Metallica - 78/22 - easy choice for me...yes..twenty years of making relevant, clearly rock music...some phenomenal albums in the process...easy, easy yes...
  • Beck - 22/78 - interesting choice here...I like the heck out of him, so I might be biased...I see the potential for Beck to continue to be relevant for decades because he is so stylistically diverse...is he a hall of famer? - no...will he be? - I think so...
  • Sheryl Crow - 57/43 - only five proper albums so far...her music is pleasant and non-offensive...seems cut in the same vein as the late 70's singer songwriters to me but with a little more guitar, a little poppier sound...I don't like her music, and she's not a hall of famer yet, but my guess is that she'll put out the same sort of music she's doing for decades...may end up with a career similar to Bryan Adams, honestly...
  • Green Day - 54/46 - only seven proper albums so far...two of which are awesome (Dookie & American Idiot - the latter of which is the best album to come out this decade)...tough call...I'd say that they're on track but not there if they got hit by a bus tomorrow, and before American Idiot, I would have certainly said no
  • Eminem - 40/60 - as much as I hate him, as much as I think he's white trash with millions of dollars, I think he's got a pretty good shot...he'll have to put out another couple of albums that are closer to his first ones, but his first ones were so revelatory, he was such a media presence that I think he's got a chance...and it's hard to believe that we've only know about him for seven years or so...
  • Pearl Jam - 72/28 - Googs would kvetch if I said anything but yes, and I'll do so easily enough...they are the greatest rock band of the last two decades and are still putting out great music...they've taken social stances and connected with their audience like no band since the Dead...their music isn't a direct connection, but their band is the living legacy of the Dead...
  • Beastie Boys - 46/54 - tough for me to separate my love for them from what they mean to the industry as a whole...I'd go with yes, though...sure, License to Ill was frat boy rap trash, but their 90's albums brought in an era of sampling that has rarely reached the heights of their own discs...the big problem is that they've only put out six albums in the last twenty years...if they'd've been a little more prolific, they'd be a slam dunk...as it is, they'll get in on artistic merit...
  • Mary J Blige - 45/55 - see Jay-Z but replace rap with R&B...
  • White Stripes - 13/87 - wow, way lower than I thought the poll would be...now? - no...eventually? yes...
  • R. Kelly - 14/86 - no, and if only because his two lasting images are of the friggin' "Trapped in a Closet" video and of Dave Chapelle's parody
  • Motley Crue - 70/30 - seriously?...80's big hair hack music...nope, no, nu-uh...and any late career, reality tv resurgance actually detracts from their chances
  • Joan Jett - 58/42 - I am amazed at the voting results now...c'mon, name two Joan Jett songs...I'll spot you "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", and I'll still bet that most of you (and me) can't name a second one...one hit, no matter how rock that hit, does not a hall of fame career make
  • Nine Inch Nails - 33/67 - there is a chance, but they'll have to have some commerical success - something they haven't seen since the early 90's...only five albums...probably not and definitely not in the "hit by a bus tomorrow" test
  • Alanis Morissette - 36/64 - Jagged Little Pill was a heck of a debut but very much dated now...and she's recorded an acoustic version of it which makes it somehow lesser...has the original seriously sold 30 million albums?
  • Oasis - 18/82 - too short a peak...though supposedly they came out with a really good album in 2005...in spite of title of that one (Son't Believe the Truth), they seem to have fallen victim to believing their own hype...
  • Destiny's Child - 30/70 - never had a great album...probably will go down historically as Beyonce's first group...nope

4 comments:

JGianoli said...

Pearl Jam belongs...but are they still putting out great music? Never would I have dreamed saying so, but I must say that I think their new stuff is good but not great. Last great album was binaural. It pains me to admit it...but it is true. They still put on one helluva show, but their music is no longer as relevant to me...perhaps that just means I've grown up.

I am not saying they are on some Aerosmith-like descent into moneygrubbing crap, but they have definitely reached their zenith. Not sure what the criteria is for HOF and music, but NIN certainly deserves more consideration, IMHO, because they were groundbreaking and influential. Much like Rage Against the Machine (who defined a whole new genre, rap-metal) deserves some consideration. Not sure they belong, but they merit discussion.

PHSChemGuy said...

And therein lies the problem...

Any attempt to define "Rock" and/or to quantify a group/artist's popularity / worth / influence is almost impossible.

For example, I look at the Beastie Boys output and see six albums in twenty years. I love those albums, see all sorts of nuances that many others would totally overlook and think that they're Hall of Famers.

I look at Jay-Z and see him as one of a hundred rap acts that are generally faceless and blank to me. I couldn't name a single song he's done and don't know if/why he's any better than any of a dozen other rappers.

I simply have no idea how popular / worthy / influential he (or any of a thousand other bands and artists) are for Rock Hall status.

Looking at the list of inductees we have a number of no-doubters: Dylan, Beatles, Beach Boys, Elvis, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder, Rolling Stones, Temptations, Credence, Led Zepplin.

Then there's a bunch of people who are legendary but who certainly aren't Rock: Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, Michael Jackson.

Then you've got the people I have heard of but have no frickin' clue about: Solomon Burke, The Flamingos, The Dells, Gene Pitney, Gene Vincent, Little Willie John, Lloyd Price, and lots more.

The bands who had short but supposedly influential careers: The Doors, The Band, The Velvet Underground, Cream (together for two years).

The individuals who were great in bands but really not all that great solo: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison - ok, pretty much just Beatles there.

The bands that I don't think of as anywhere near great but certainly long-lasting: ZZ Top, Bob Seger, James Taylor.

How the heck do you ever try to look at the entirety of popular music (funk, rock, rap, pop, rap-metal, metal, R&B, reggae, every possible blend of them) and judge who's good, who's bad, who's influential, who's great?

It's an all-but-impossible task.

coachsullivan said...

Considering that our musical tastes are wildly divergent at times, we were surprisingly like-minded when it came to inducting people. I saw this poll two or three weeks back and called Meg in to have a look-see. I thought locks to get in out of that group were Madonna, the Chili Peppers, Mariah Carey, Metallica, and Beastie Boys. With two or three more significant albums over the next ten years, I think outside shots go to Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Green Day, and Pearl Jam (where the hell was Dave Matthews on this list? Nirvana? Motley Crue on there and not Poison--a far better and terribly underrated group). Has Run-DMC gotten in?

PHSChemGuy said...

Okay, if we're breaking it up into locks, probablys, and doubtfuls...(still ignoring the two rap artists because I know nothing there)

Locks: Peppers, Madonna, Metallica, Pearl Jam

Probably: Beasties (I don't know taht they've had enough popular success since License to be a lock), Carey (seriously, Sully, a lock?), Crow, Beck (but not yet), Green Day (again, another album or two needed), Eminem, White Stripes

Doubtful: Guns, Timberlake, Bjork, R Kelly, Motley Crue, Joan Jett, NIN, Morissette, Oasis, Destiny's Child

As to omissions, I kind of assumed that Nirvana was already a lock (I don't entirely see it, but they're mythical status as some sort of band of the moment, holder of the zeitgeist like the Doors) was assured in my head when Cobain offed himself (best thing Jim Morrison ever did, by the way, as he ensured his imortality). We never had to see Nirvana hit any sort of creative block or put out a crappy album. It's be like Albert Pujols getting hit by a bus tomorrow.

Dave Matthews truly is the legacy of the Grateful Dead. Admittedly, he's probably more deserving of HoF status than a lot of this poll's members. I'd put him in the probably pile and say that he needs to hang around for another five or so years putting out commercially successful albums before I lock him down.

Run-DMC is not in yet but certainly will be as the rap era starts to roll into the Hall - begun with Granmaster Flash's induction this year.