I’ve just popped into the local Co-Op to pick up a few bits that may well have looked suspiciously like crisps and wine. The fact I was on my way back from the gym tells you a great deal about me. As I queued up I started to realise my ears were bleeding and I had suddenly developed an intense migraine, as well as the urge to commit violence on the nearest object to me. Which in this instance was an 83 year old woman. A lesser man would have caved in and let his urges overwhelm him but I’m made of stronger stuff, and besides it only took me a couple of seconds to locate the source of my misery.
The sheer brain frying screech of Bjork’s ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ is enough to make it one of the grimmest moments in musical history. As a student I once shared a house with a hippy epileptic called Alice and she loved that song. Which kind of makes sense. Years later I was talked into buying a ticket to see Bjork at the Hammersmith Apollo by an ex who had almost no taste in music whatsoever. It remains the single most disappointing form of entertainment I have ever paid for and she rides high in my premier league of the most bewilderingly over rated musicians of all time. Not the worst, just the most over rated. I know you’d like to hear the top 10, so here they are. Ignore the numbers, this lot are all equally filled with disappointing hot air.
- Bjork. It’s not that everything she has done has been crap it just there’s an awful lot of crap stuff of hers out there that people say is good without really thinking about it. To say you enjoy Bjork singing at full pelt is to say you enjoy the sound of a thousand babies being savaged by a thousand hyenas, projected using the planet’s most powerful amplification system. She’s made a career from being weird, which isn’t a crime in itself, but it is when her music makes you clench your arsehole with resentment.
- Joss Stone (an inexplicable bee in my pretty little cotton bonnet). Remember her? I haven’t heard her name for a while, which is good news. Her first album was called ‘The Soul Sessions’, which is quite misleading as it suggests you’re about to hear some soul. Sadly Joss Stone is bereft of any soul and instead has the voice of a small woodland animal compared to, say, Aretha Franklin. Did she think it was OK to pass herself off as white soul because Dusty Springfield could do it? Miss Stone also has all the charisma of a bowl of Shreddies and whichever corner of Islington she now calls home is exactly where she should stay. Preferably not singing.
- Nirvana. I feel satisfied that over the last 2 years of writing on this site I have made myself abundantly clear how I feel about Nirvana. It is my opinion that if Kurt Cobain had wanted to do the world a real favour he would have stuck that gun in his mouth a few years earlier. Mind you the MTV Unplugged album is OK, but that’s a relative thing.
- Michael Jackson/Prince. Sorry, I just don’t get either of them. Both have made some very good music but weigh up each whole career and there’s way too much crap to contend with. ‘Thriller’ is great but ‘Billie Jean’ is just dull. ‘Kiss’ is incredible but ‘When Doves Cry’ is not so much. To put things into perspective – when Jacko died I was too busy reading all the jokes that flooded the world to worry too much about his musical legacy. When Prince pegged it I tried to look like I was a fan out of respect, but deep down I knew I wasn’t, so stopped. And I never really seriously considered buying up his back catalogue. Between them they occupy 3 albums in my collection. And 2 of those are best of’s.
- The Doors. For a ‘major’ band The Doors’ musical highlights are remarkably thin. Over the years my heart has slowly thawed to some of their better efforts but they’ve still got some cheek. Jim Morrison was a first class dick too, which puts them in the league of good little bands with arseholes standing in front of them (U2, The Smiths etc).
- The Sex Pistols. Just noise and spit and actual bollocks. A nasty little band of nasty little thugs whose reputation rests on one of the slimmest catalogues of music in the business. However…….’Pretty Vacant’ is bearable. I also love that when ordered to write a song called ‘Submission’, to tap into the S&M market, John Lydon wrote a song called exactly that, but made the lyrics about a mission in a submarine. Beyond that it’s a squall if indifference from me and rest assured Sid Vicious was a particularly shitty, talent free, little individual and if you’re someone who holds him as a role model then you’re very likely a prick.
- Bob Geldof. The art of trying to make it work when you’ve got nothing to work with. There is not a single thing I like about The Boomtown Rats and ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ is a dreadful song. I suppose if they’d been any good then Geldof wouldn’t have felt the need to change his career and ‘help’ a bunch of starving Africans. There are plenty of people who have openly questioned just how much good Live Aid did in tackling poverty. Geldof is too up himself to let that kind of thing get in the way of his ego. Live Aid was also responsible for reviving Queen’s career, which is handy.
- Queen. And still people tell me how great AND important Queen were. And still I know that they’re lying to me. For a band that have released so many albums and have a 3 volume greatest hits series it’s remarkable how few killer tunes they produced. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is crap. ‘We Are The Champions’, ‘I Want To Break Free’, ‘I Want To Ride My Bicycle’, ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ and so on. Novelty offerings all and this from a band that fans claim to be an significant rock band. It’s not that I hate Queen, I just don’t hear why they’re so highly regarded. Which is the point of this list.
- Amy Winehouse. She may have had a distinctive voice and been prepared to rip open her chest and bare her soul to all and sundry but look where it got her. If her second album hadn’t been accompanied with a concrete mixer’s worth of drama and unravelling to pour on top then her career would be a minor footnote. ‘Rehab’ is, underneath the bluster and posturing, a very limp song. More so if you compare it to ‘Back to Black’, for which she should remembered. Having said that I should have replaced her on this list with the equally tragic and over rated Janis Joplin, but it’s too late for that now.
- Morrissey. Morrissey is a twit. And a prat. And a lot of other things that I won’t go into here. I’ve made that very clear before so I’ll avoid repetition and just direct you to his new single ‘Spent The Day In Bed’ which claims to be the product of a serious artist. The lyrics are cobbled together and it sounds no more accomplished than the theme tune to ‘Neighbours’. I could be here all day talking about Morrissey but I have better things to do and I expect you do too.
Consider that I could also have included The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Sting, The Beatles, Squeeze, Sam Smith (expect a special edition on him soon), Ed Sheeran (I’ve already done a special edition on him, it just wasn’t long enough), U2 and The Pogues. And they’re just off the top of my head. I’d love to hear what you think. Well, that’s not really true but feel free to tell me anyway.
G B Hewitt. 26.10.2017