Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cougar...Cougar Mellancamp...Mellancamp...Oh Who the BLEEP CARES?

I went over the edge of the waterfall in the old musical barrel today.  One of my truest, closest friends, Jon From R-Va, had nudged me there, but never badly.  We agreed to disagree.  Then along came Lisa ("Along Came Mary" is a different tune - by The Association in 1966).  Though not the only person to help push this vehicle along (you can add my brother and a few others to the movement), she nonetheless gave us a priceless moment...

The Scene: Massachusetts Route 6A, between Truro and Provicetown.  A pleasant evening has begun, but on Rob's SiriusXM satellite radio, a warbling has commenced...  Lisa, a blonde in the passenger seat, reaches over and increases the volume.  Rob, the driver, sits there, silently, and for the next few minutes, with his hands gripping the steering wheel, turning his knuckles white, feeling leaving his fingers, says nothing.  His blood pressure increases with each second.  No other sound exists in the car, except the odious sound emitting from the radio.  Sean remains silent in the back seat, fearful that these might be his fathers' last moments on Earth.

Or he's not really paying attention at all.

Then came today.  Chris "Kato" Kaelin, my friend, WGCH colleague, and "Press Box Playmaker", who did a great job helping me with last night's "Clubhouse" show at Colony Grill, made one simple statement: he thinks Bruce Springsteen is awful, and John Mellancamp is better.


I mean, opinions are like, you know, but...really?

I'll spare you the build up.  I'd take Bruce's WORST song over ANYTHING by what's-his-name.

I've long-wanted to do a list of most overrated acts, and most overplayed songs.  No more suspense.  Winner, winner, mother-effing chicken dinner.

John Mellancamp..."Jack and Diane."  Admittedly, Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" and U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" are right there on the overplayed list, along with the Eagles' "Hotel California", "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin, "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  We could also throw in, maybe, "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd, "More Than a Feeling" by Boston, "Carry on Wayward Son" by Kansas and "Walk this Way" from Aerosmith (both with and without Run-DMC).  Then we could also say "anything by Bon Jovi", "1999" by Prince, and certain songs from Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey (ugh...double ugh), and ahem, Celine Dion.

Oh, I almost forgot about both "Start Me Up" and "Beast of Burden" by the Stones, and virtually anything from Bad Company.  And, yes, I read one poster say "Yesterday" by a little act called The Beatles is very overplayed, though, as he noted, much of that was due to the fact that recorded song.  Ever.  There are so many cover versions that I expect Chris Erway to eventually release one.

Interestingly, this discussion board post from 2009 seems to agree, and throws in "Glory Days" by The Boss, though I think "Dancing in the Dark" is more overplayed (although it is sounding better in concert - and I've never liked that song).

Yet I'd rather have "Dancing in the Dark" on replay then "Jack and Diane."

Or anything else by John Mellancamp.

I don't get it (that's another list - things I don't get, including Jackson Browne).  This clown is even in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, brought to you by Jann Wenner.  But, as anyone can tell you, that RnR HOF is a sham.  Cool museum (I was there in 1999), but hard to call it legit with Madonna included, along with the object of my ire.

Others share my feeling about him - he made this list of most overrated acts from 2006.

I think, when it comes to someone like John Mellancamp, the overplayed factor goes hand-in-hand with the overrated piece.  I actually like a few of those overplayed songs that I mentioned above, but there is something about Mellancamp that bothered me from day one.  Yeah, for a moment or two, I could tolerate "Pink Houses" or "Rain on the Scarecrow", or "Authority Song", but then you heard them again.  And again.

If you were around from, say, 1984-1986, you know what I mean.  Soon, he became the very definition of "Indiana Springsteen" to me.  A poor imitation, to be sure.

Bruce can rock.  He can roll.  He can get you into a trance during a live show.  He can raise you up like a preacher in a Baptist church (PRAISE GAWDAH!).  And he does it without smoke bombs and whatever else.  As for the songs, wow, what else can be said?  Brilliant.  I mean, if we're even going to battle this Springsteen/Mellancamp debate, then let's have at it.  How can these five songs be topped?

1) Born to Run (duh).
2) Jungleland (Clarence Clemons solo is reason enough).
3) Rosalita (Come out Tonight). (Pure joy.  Fun.  My son's favorite Springsteen song.)
4) Thunder Road (I hate to pick three songs from one album,
5) Darkness on the Edge of Town (starts with a thump, then explodes with the chorus).

Then there's the very underrated "Bobby Jean" (really the only song from Born in the USA that I'm a fan of), "Wrecking Ball", "Kitty's Back", "Candy's Room", "Tenth Ave Freeze Out" (hear it live with the tribute to Clarence and you will yell, clap, and cry), "Tunnel of Love", and so many others.  "New York City Serenade", "Incident on 57th Street", "Trapped", "Atlantic City", "The River", "Badlands", shall I go on?

Sorry, nothing in the Mellancamp canon can match that.

As always, it's all about opinions.  Some overplayed songs and (arguably) overrated artists are perfectly fine, and it's in the ear of the beholder.  Somewhere along the line I had had enough of hearing him and his music - seeing him looking so smug in interviews, with the cigarette in his hand (that's ANOTHER rant).  But I also know he is a very patriotic American, and has done a lot for veterans (and he was once on with Don Imus playing music to support the troops - I can respect that).

But all I need to hear is brother...Lisa...and Kato...and I feel it come back.  And then...THEN...have Kato tell me that John freaking Mellancamp is better than BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, and I sense that we need to call 911.


I put him in that list of Cyndi Lauper, the already-mentioned Bon Jovi, and a few others that boggle my mind.  I'm amazed that they stay relevant.

To each their own or, to use a saying that I love (thanks, Kenn Tomasch): "Your mileage may vary."

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