In scouring the world each month for the worst in music journalism, we here at the Sampler try not to hit too close to home, but sometimes it's just unavoidable. Case in point: our own Everett True was in New York Press last month, and was for some reason reviewing a Bryan Adams concert that took place, not in New York, but in Melbourne, Australia. And, it should go without saying, doing a bang-up job:
"For starters, he has such a rapport with his working-class audience. Frequently, he stops a song and entreats his fans to sing louder, not continuing until he's satisfied the requisite volume has been attained." -- He yells "everybody sing," and some of them do. That's the kind of rapport you seldom get at a rock concert. And when the fans all hold up their lighters, it's symbolic of the way he illuminates their working-class lives with his cheesy pop ballads.
"For the unrepentantly nostalgic 'Summer of 69,' the audience sang the first two verses, with virtually no accompaniment. It's touching to be privy to so many shared dreams." -- It is touching. I was thinking the same thing about shared dreams the last time I saw a crowd do the Wave at a hockey game.
"On another occasion, the bassist/singer becomes diverted by a passing cricket, instructing his lighting engineer to shine a spotlight on the insect until it has scuttled to safety." -- In other words, the show's so boring even the singer's mind is wandering. It makes the crowd's shared dreams somehow less touching when they've been upstaged by a small insect.
I suppose we can't fault Everett for occasionally spewing out drivel. Lord knows everyone else does it:
"Don't Bogart that life, my friend, pass it over in the telling, the timing, the hearing, the cause and effect of the universe; where understanding wears through, you still have to follow. At best, you enter the song turning into itself, as the poet Al Young puts it. At worst? Well, if bum notes, cold feet, and sure shots still get more cheers than jeers, or even if they don't, long as that's the worst, why, you're just lucky. That's all." -- When the Dead finally stopped touring, we wondered what would happen to all the acid casualties who followed them around all those years. Apparently, they got jobs writing for the Village Voice like Don Allred did.
Seattle Weekly's beloved Metro Gnome gave us a detailed report from the SxSW conference, giving us a detailed report on what Sub Pop's publicist ate for lunch, as well as this bit of insider info: "Elliott Smith debuted his new touring band, which includes Sam Coomes of Quasi on bass, and an unfamiliar keyboardist and drummer." -- Breaking news: There are two new members of Elliott Smith's band, and I don't know who they are!!! (We're going to assume that MG knows Sam Coomes of Quasi was also in Smith's last band -- we'll pause a moment while the all-knowing Gnome looks up their name....)
Finally, we would congratulate Spin on their 15-year anniversary, but they're self-congratulatory enough as it is: "In 1985, Spin was founded to fill the void in music journalism, with a premise that the underground was as interesting as the pop charts...." -- Which is why the issue's four collect-'em-all covers feature those paragons of the underground, Madonna, the Beastie Boys, token dead black man Notorious B.I.G., and, of course, Nirvana (who are required by law to appear on the cover of any music magazine's "special issue"). Never saw any of them on the pop charts....
"...that smart and passionate music fans deserved smart and passionate music writing, that there was a need for an antidote to the smiley-faced, brown-nosed rock 'n' roll coverage everywhere else in the media. Fifteen years later, these ideals are still in the heart of every issue." -- They sure as hell are. Good thing we've got Spin to give us such cover stories as "Kurt's Still Dead, But He Also Still Sells Magazines." Now that's smart passion.