Originally published June 20, 2004. Updated February 14, 2011.
For some time – a few years, to be honest – I’ve been trying to imagine how some artists get better with age (or at least retain the level of energy and creativity they exhibited when they were younger), while others go completely to hell. Peter Gabriel, Graham Parker, Van Morrison, Don Dixon, John Hiatt (and even Bowie, to a lesser extent) – these are people who you can still count on, even if you think that the old stuff was better. All of them have had high spots in recent years that at least nudge the 4-star mark, and you might justifiably nurture a sense that the next thing they release could turn out to be brilliant.
This column isn’t about those folks. No, this little list is dedicated to the First-to-Worst Club, a set of artists who once ruled, but somehow found a way to deteriorate as the years passed. In some cases – and these are the ones you’ll find at the top of the list – you have people or bands who went from legitimate greatness to breathtaking suckitude. In other cases you have people who simply lost their edge or were abandoned by their muse. They may not be forging new frontiers in suck, they’re just muddling along, mere shadows of their former selves.
So here it is – Lullaby Pit’s Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen list, with thanks to a few friends of the Pit who contributed suggestions and pointed out artists I had somehow overlooked (or repressed, as the case may be….) The criteria are subjective, as always, but fairly simple – who soared the highest, then fell the lowest?
1. Elton John Read more
So, Rush Limbaugh just got married. Congrats, Rush – we wish you well.
We wanted to note this momentous occasion because, as you know, Rush is a big proponent of family values, and few things say family like walking down the aisle and publicly expressing your lifelong commitment to the person of the opposite gender that you love.
Especially when you’re so committed to traditional values that you do it four times. Wow.
Sir Elton John, whose raging queerness makes him incapable of family values, was allegedly paid $1M to play the reception. Read more
In Part 1 we noted that 2009 had produced some really good music. In Part 2 we explained that the past year had given us some really great music. Today, though, we take an unprecedented step, because a few of the platinum-level releases from 2k9 were simply a cut above the rest, necessitating the creation of a Super-Platinum LP award. But that’s okay – if artists keep cranking out more exceptional music than we have categories to deal with, we’ll keep inventing new ways of honoring their efforts.
IAMX – Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction
Darkness? Yeah, Chris Corner knows a thing or two about darkness, and in Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction he’s kind enough to escort us through a blasted, perversely alluring landscape of addiction, lust, self-loathing, sexual degeneracy, spiritual poverty and alienation that’s about as dark as it gets. And the landscape is distinctly British in a way that recalls perhaps the greatest portrait of England ever painted, TS Eliot’s The Waste Land. Read more
You may not have heard of Adam Marsland. You may not have heard of his former band, Cockeyed Ghost. But as we’ve tried to demonstrate, time and time again, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Radio is a wasteland, the RIAA is waging a toxic war on the artist, and the explosion of media and Internet channels has so fractured and nichified the listening audience that the Second Coming of The Beatles probably wouldn’t be noticed by more than a few hundred people. Upshot: there’s a lot of great music out there that you and I haven’t discovered yet (although I’m searching as hard as I can). Read more
There are all kinds of fun arguments to be had over which band is best or whether one’s taste is critically defensible (*cough*Brian used to listen to Madonna and Gloria Estefan*cough*) and, of course, my favorite – can we separate what we like from our critical faculties (that is, is your “favorite” list different from your “best” list)?
But there’s one sure measure of what music we really care about the most, for whatever reason, and that’s how much of our money we spend on it. So today’s TunesDay question is this: what artists do you own the most music from?
Feel free to answer however makes sense, and yes, we take into account the fact that you may own everything from a band that quit too soon. I have one of those myself. Here’s my list: Read more
The results of last week’s Name Those Bands contest are in. In first place we have … a disqualification, sorta. Our friend Ubertramp logged in with an impressive 47 of 53. Seriously, that’s pretty damned good. But he has disqualified himself because I’m the one who turned him onto most of these outstanding artists and he felt like he might as well be cheating under the circumstances.
Wow – sportsmanship. What a concept.
So our next highest scorer, and the official winner, is … Read more
My old friend Adam Marsland has just released Daylight Kissing Night: Adam Marsland’s Greatest Hits, a greatest hits collection that draws from the best of both his solo and Cockeyed Ghost efforts, and boy howdy, am I jacked. If you don’t already know Adam’s music, let’s go ahead and get the triangulation out of the way. He’s kinda like a modern-day cross between Elton John, Brian Wilson, KISS and Todd Rundgren, with a dash of Elvis Costello, Raspberries, Big Star and Foo Fighters sprinkled in for good measure.
And now, for my favorite Adam Marsland moment. Read more