Friday, June 20, 2008

Top Ten Fridays - Ass Bands

You all remember the late 1990s. The tech bubble, Bill Clinton, SUVs, vinyl siding and, of course, legendary music. The early 1990s was littered with medicorities like Radiohead, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, who peddled music weighted down by things like originality and musicianship. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the ass band arose with a simple goal: churn out music that sounds a little bit like Radiohead, Pearl Jam and Nirvana....

We all have our favorites. Here are my top ten.

10) Collective Soul - Their hit single, Shine featured a funky guitar groove that didn't really go anywhere. Fortunately, they learned a valuable lesson. No more funky guitar grooves. Why make make false promises? They also did a song about crying.

9) The Wallflowers - Bob Dylan's son carried on the tradition of grand musicmaking by covering David Bowie's Hero, and I think we're all glad he did that. Stripped of David Bowie's empathetic wail and Bryan Eno's chilling ambience, the cover was a perfect fit for the Godzilla (1998) movie soundtrack.

8) Gin Blossoms - If there were prize award for band averageness, the Gin Blossoms would have won it. The Gin Blossoms actually had several hits, but really you can get the gist by listening to "Hey Jealousy". In one song, they fulfilled, and utilized, the entirety of their potential.

7) Dave Matthews Band - The perfect band to have in the background while moving furniture into a suburban townhome. Years from now, our children will listen to "Ants Marching" and will not conclude that their parents were dull and uninteresting. That would be an absurd conclusion.

6) Vertical Horizon - What a great name! This band had all the right hits at exactly the right time (1999), but they mean nothing to me. I don't know why.

5) Bush - They incorporated strings into one of their songs, which was utterly necessary.

4) Better Than Ezra - This band was very famous and I can't remember a single one of their songs. Quintessential ass band. Seriously, though, did they do that "Tell me all your thoughts on God" song? Or was that Dishwalla?

3) Tonic - Had two hits with "Open Up Your Eyes" and "If You Could Only See". This is the ass band that assumed you were blind AND deaf. They were really great, though.

2) Creed - Set the tone for the next decade of Christian music, then stopped being Christian. And people say church is lame.

1) Matchbox 20 - The king of the ass bands. With 14,353 Top 40 singles between 1997-2002, Matchbox 20 managed the astonishing feat of being the only band on the radio for a string of 3 consecutive weeks. Lead singer Rob Thomas, with his dashing locks and Kennedy-esque warble, became a heartthrob, a testament to the tastes of teenage women.


Blogger Grundi said...

You forgot Sugar Ray, who has since left his band to cohost Access Hollywood, or some gossip show like that. Plus, he was the headliner for Taste of Minnesota a couple years ago -- which means he's definately done for.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Roger said...

"Tell me all your thoughts on God" was Dishwalla.

Better Than Ezra had "Good" and "Porcelain." I don't know if that last one was a radio release.

Apparently, I was an ass band major. I don't feel comfortable with that title at all.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

What about the Googoo Dolls?
Soul Asylum?

I've faced up to the 90s megacrop of ass bands, but I still love the songs.

They're good if you don't hear them for about 10 years and then you catch one on the radio and think about high school before you realize how lame the song is again and how lame high school was, too so you really liked the music because it fit the setting.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Jake said...

I have all those bands' CDs. Uh oh.

5:37 AM  
Blogger Adam Omelianchuk said...

The Goo Goo Dolls were lovable, and Soul Asylum rocked the house.

Now the New Radicals... they emodied the essence of the Ass band.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Thom said...

Yeah...Soul Asylum was actually more seen as innovative by plenty of the musical elites. They were more of the "Bands Music Snobs Hate When They Got Popular". In fact...Kevin should make that list.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Thom said...

And yeah...the New Radicals were such an embodiment of the "Ass Band" (right down to the "We are so extreme in our values! You other bands are posers!" attitude) to such an extent-it would be inappropriate to saddle them with a mere number.

12:43 PM  

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