musical taxonomy and debut singles that LIE


Evil has stood upon this stage . . . and not sucked. It can be done, Johnny-boy.

Today we delve into musical taxonomy and a situation all of you will recognize: you hear a cool song by an exciting new voice. You rush out to buy/rip said voice’s album—or, if you’re lucky, you hear it on someone else’s dime—only to discover the sum total of said voice’s output is trash. Gahhh-bage.

We’re not talking about one-hit-wonders. OHWs are charming failures, the Chicago Cubbies of the musical landscape, nuggets of fond memory we can hear and laugh at with the just slightest tinge of contempt for the artists involved. (“Seriously—Dexy’s Midnight Runners thought they were going to last? Those overalls? Ah ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha haaaa. Ha. Ha. Urrrm.”)

But no—that’s not what we’re dealing with here at all. Far from it, tragically. These are artists who trick your hungry ears only once, yet inexplicably go on to profitable careers slinging dreck over the airwaves. But that one song lingers on your iPod, refusing to be deleted, a bitter reminder of crushed hopes. Here’s to them.

The greatest (as in “to an extent or amount considered above the norm,” not “awesomest!!!”) such track haunting the Evil’s music stash is “No Such Thing.” Yep. John Mayer’s debut single. Interesting lyrics, unusual voice, video filmed at Athens’ own Georgia Theatre . . . seemed promising.

Then the rest of Mayer’s catalog started leaking out. Huh boy. “Your body is a wonderland?” “Fathers, be good to your dawwwwwghters?” These are the three-minute sonic nightmares that infest the background muzak of our lives. One gets the impression that he listened to “Wonderful Tonight” a thousand times before he turned ten. Worst of all, apparently Mayer is an absolutely brilliant guitarist, though you wouldn’t know it from his work. Kind of like if Michelangelo had decided to ditch painting and sculpting in favor of building sand castles.

And yet Mayer has succeeded wildly, been semi-adopted by Clapton, and bags Hollywood hotties by the . . . well, the bagful. Meanwhile, those who love him defend Mayer’s work like fierce little porcupines. (You know who you are, you prickly fiends.)

Got a similar track infesting your music? Tell all! In the meantime . . .

Enjoy the weekend. If possible, run through the halls of your high school, scream at the top of your lungs, and avoid felony charges for criminally trespassing on school property without a visitor’s badge.


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