Page views are lollipops. Of this, I am convenced.
I was tagged in a Facebook post earlier today about a list posted on LA Weekly’s Web site for the 20 Worst Bands of All Time. I’m not going to link to it because I’m not going to promote it. I did look through the list, and came away with a few things I needed to get off my chest.
The article was like watching someone carrying too many bags of groceries on the way to their car start to loose control, with fruits and vegetables falling from one bag and the hapless owner desperately fumbling to both catch the falling goods while holding on to their rest of his bags … only to end up with all of them on the ground, dealing with cracked eggs and, of course, spilt milk.
My point – besides showing that I can craft an excellent run-on sentence – is that the article is a subpar piece of (cough) music journalism that was sadly effective.
I, myself, am not a fan of lists. They are arbitrary and overdone. But my, must Joe Q. Public love them, because they are the go-to article of choice for many online publications. In this case, LA Weekly farmed out (or spread out, I don’t know their staffing) to a handful of writers, 20 seeds, with each of the bands accompanied by a couple of paragraphs about why these individuals thought they were so horrible they should be considered as one of the worst bands of all time.
I understand why LA Weekly did it. I really do.
They used seven or eight click-throughs to get you from 20 down to their worst band of all time. To top it off, at least four or five of the bands have huge cult followings. It’s the online world’s version of a TV station’s “Live Apartment Fire!” (A nod there to friend and Atlanta-based writer/reporter Doug Richards and his fantastic site.)
Ah, ratings, er, page views gold!
Not only do you get the general public’s love for list, but now you mix them in with band’s whose cult followers will go complete apeshit over the article. Throw in the other multi-million album selling bands – always good for a name grab – and the dumbasses who take to their little dust-filled corner of the online world to complain about how targeting the lowest common denominators is always a profitable endeavor.
In case there is any confusion, one of the dumbasses is me.
I’m not going to sit here and debate the merits of the bands on the list. At least a quarter of them are some of my least favorite bands, too. But that’s the real problem I have with this list. To create an article about the 20 worst bands of all time sound great, but every band on that list is or was commercially successful. Even the least successful of the band’s on the lists are still huge darlings of the commercial music critics of the world.
You know who are the 20 worst bands in the world?
I have no idea!
You know why? Because they were so horrible, they were never bands to begin with. Like the band I was in with three other guys when I was 14. One guy could play guitar, barely, and the other two guys couldn’t hold a drumstick right-side-up. Me, I was probably the worst of the four. Hell, maybe WE were one of the worst 20 bands of all time.
If the LA Weekly article had been “20 Band We Hate” then you’d have never heard a peep out of me. Hate a band? That’s your opinion. Maybe a band you love is a band I hate. Or maybe it’s the other way around. It is an expression of opinion.
But “worst” implies a definitive conclusion – or at least it does to me. And randomly assigning 20 bands that most everyone knows and most everyone detests (at least at some level) is just a marking ploy disguised, poorly, as journalism.
And I’ll-be-damned if it probably doesn’t post the best numbers on LA Weekly’s site, this week. Even though you probably don’t have to take too big of a guess to figure out what I think about that article, I’ll give you a hint: It rhymes with horseshit.
With that said, coming next week to DeadJournalist: Top 20 Lists! Hey, if you can’t beat them …
2 comments on “Worst of All Time! Click to Read More! (Editorial)”
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