Tis' the season for complaining! Who wants to be THANKFUL for anything, after all? Who wants to give anything but scorn and anger? Come this time of year I'm only interested in the terrible, the rotten, the stinking and the reeking; like a pig, I wallow in it. I'm the kind of guy who WELCOMES coal from Santa and then carries it around like a badge. Hell, I've got so much of it this year I may as well give it away! Here ya go, musicians: each of you's getting a piece of coal for being the worst/most hateful/most idiotic/most shameless/most sadistic musicians of this, the year of our Lord 2014. May Krampus have something less than mercy on your souls.
10. Nick Jonas: For The Most Unasked for Reinvention
- Did anyone want Nick Jonas to reappear as some kind of would-be stud? No, probably not; God, I don't even think HE did! The way he's always walking around without a shirt, so stiff and uncomfortable
, you'd think someone was pressing a cattle-prod against the small of his back and forcing him through this "revival."
9. OK Go: For Being As Obnoxious as Hell
- Forget the mess that was Hungry Ghosts
. I'm not even mad about that crap anymore. It's their extra-musical antics: from releasing an album in the form of DNA
to making one of the most self-indulgent (and creepy: why the hundreds of Japanese schoolgirls in short skirts?) music videos of all time
, these goons are that obnoxious hipster roommate you had Freshman year of college who somehow made it big.
8. Ariel Pink: For Not Shutting Up
- Look, Pink, I actually don't think you're the monster everyone else thinks you are (sometimes you even make a point or two!) but work on choosing your words: you're not exactly the great communicator and so anything you have worth saying often gets lost in torrents of nonsense. Maybe get a speech writer or a good PR guy (hey, I'm always looking for gainful employment!).
7. EMA: For Being Shameless
- I haven't been sick yet this year but after witnessing EMA crawling around the stage of the Bowery Ballroom and extending a hand to her fans in a display of the worst kind of sanctimonious and messianic pretense imaginable I was ready to check myself in at NYU's Medical Center for fear of spreading Ebola.
6. Bob Marley's Family: For Grotesquely Capitalizing on his Legacy
- Is there anything as ugly as a family picking at the bones of the deceased in hopes of finding a few more scraps of meat? No, not really, especially when the family is taking something (here, marijuana) the artist (here, the late Bob Marley) found sacred and making it a hot commodity.
5. U2: For Giving Everyone an Album They Never Wanted
- I still haven't listened to Songs of Innocence
(Bono's preening reference to William Blake is unearned and meant more to flatter himself than pay homage to a real and literal visionary and so of course this just makes me angry) so who knows if it's good or not but come on: there's something disingenuous about giving half the damn world a "gift" they never asked for. Bono's "generosity" is just narcissism writ large.
4. forgetters: For Another Year Without A Release
- Two years have passed since forgetters
released their perfect first LP and what have they done in the meantime? I have NO clue. Nobody does! They aren't talking! All we got from them this year was a concert the NIGHT before I moved to town and a post that shows lead singer Blake Schwarzenbach supporting Palestine. I'm thrilled you're still politically active and as impassioned as ever, Blake, but damn it, I want more from my favorite post-punk band!
3. Robert Plant: For Crushing My Hopes and Dreams
- I respect your integrity, Mr. Plant, and I'd never want you to undertake a reunion tour with Led Zeppelin for anything less than love but Lord if I can't HELP but be disappointed with your decision. Here's hoping you come around and sooner rather than later: you and the rest of Zep' are looking pretty old
2. Dean Blunt: For Releasing the Worst Album of the Year
- You were probably thinking I was gonna go save this spot to go off kvetching about sell-outs and corporate schills but you know what? At least even the most idiotic Charlie XCX song is scientifically engineered to be catchy. "Rapper" Dean Blunt's newest album, Black Metal
, is too "smart" to bother with that: instead of listenable music you get childish raps layered over the kind of music you'd hear in a cheap Chinese restaurant. It might not be bad if he hadn't convinced half the world that he's "deep"
but he did. Somehow. Score one for pretentious, humorless chumps.
1. Lucero: For Reducing Me To A Blubbering Mess In Public
- It was a tumultuous year for me -- moving across the country to stake my claim to this Rotten Apple, losing friends and family, dealing with a really ugly break-up -- but I managed to keep a pretty sound head despite everything. Until I saw Lucero in concert at the Bowery Ballroom
, anyway. I can't remember what, exactly, set me to sobbing, I feel like it was a cumulative effect more than a single song, but damn it, thanks, you assholes, for bursting an emotional dam that had been building for half a year and making me look like a chump in front of half the city.