Sunday, May 3, 2015

Schmuck! That's how you write a blog post!

Today I will deconstruct the creation of a blog post so you all can see how the magic happens.

First, I will devise a topic which will appeal to a small number of people but will do so by asserting my expertise over something you never thought of so even those not intended will be suckered into reading it. Notice, I already started with a reference that most people won't get.

"Artists whose music is better performed by others"

Then, in order to establish my expertise, I will start with a broad statement about history that might be true, but I say it with such confidence that you will not question me.

"Back in the day, a song existed in various forms, as performed by any number of bands. When you liked a song, you prefered a version over another -- the notion of a song belonging to one particular writer/performer was alien."

Then I will move to a transitional sentence, inevitably tying it to some specific example/fact that you wouldn't dare question.

"Now, songs are closely associated with the specific performer of that song, a trend which finds as its source, the Beatles."

Next up, my thesis -- revolutionary and revelatory, and controversial, but because I'm an expert, you are wrong.

"Some bands, though, should leave the performance of their songs to others as the ostensible cover versions are unequivocally better than the writers' performances of the music."

Now, the examples, cherry picked to support my contention. I will ignore counter-claims, others' subjective responses or anything which doesn't conform to what I will establish as the truth. I might throw in some smarm so as to deflate any other opinions before they happen. I will also put in details you didn't know so you will feel dumb.

"Springsteen. Come on, you know this is true. His forced delivery and amateurish band butcher his work while others, rescuing diamonds from coal make songs like Blinded by the Light, Light of Day and Fire into genius. The fact that no one important has tried to get famous covering Tunnel of Love should show you that even Bruce's writing skill is a crap shoot.

Bob Dylan. The Byrds made an entire career out of being better Dylans than Dylan. My Back Pages and Mr. Tambourine Man turn into real songs. Even Manfred Mann made Quinn the Eskimo sound good...Dylan is just that bad. Except when he covered Band of the Hand. That song was so good that even he couldn't ruin it.

Johnny Cash. Here is a list of songs of his that others covered. I haven't heard of most them, but because I am citing an authority and I'm never wrong, you should assume that this list is great. Thing is, I actually like some covers of his songs (Like Social Distortion's Ring of Fire) but he didn't actually write all the songs he is known for, or even perform them first, and he has covered so many others' songs that it is a wash.

I'm not even discussing Kris Kristofferson.

A few artists are on the bubble because they have some songs of their own that are brilliant and some that others do better:

Stevie Wonder. Yes, he's lovely and wonderful on many songs, but don't look me in the eye and say that his version of Superstition or Higher Ground is the best one out there.

Some artists write stuff made popular by others but whose "original" version, even if recorded after the famous version, is superior, such as Mellencamp's I need a Lover and Palmer's You're Gonna Get What's Coming."

Throw in some gratuitous links to things unrelated but which I like and show the authority of my judgment.

"If you appreciate the subtleties in music which I have pointed out, you should also read this book and this one."

Finally, solicit feedback which I will never read.

"If you have other artists which you think should go on this list, please leave a comment."


And there you have it. Condescending and arrogant, irrelevant and irreverent, useless. A perfect blog post.

1 comment:

  1. A note for anyone keeping score at home. Manfred Mann's Earth Band also did a version of "I came For you." It is no where as good as Bruce's original version. That should tell you how bad it was.


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