Archive for the ‘Bad Music’ Category

BAD MUSIC – Karaoke

Karaoke is one of the great plagues of the earth. It has destroyed the lives of men. It has brought whole kingdoms to ruin. And it has spread more madness and pain than all four John Denver Christmas specials.

The basic notion is simple – you take a microphone, play some music from a box, and sing Top 40 hits to a crowd of drunken people. Now, this wouldn’t be too bad if everyone in the world could sing on-key. As you may have discovered, however, this is most certainly not the case. The vast majority of people can’t hold a tune to save their lives, and sound like a deranged howler monkey being shocked repeatedly by some sort of cruel torture implement.

That doesn’t stop karaoke from being a favored form of entertainment for the masses. Every night of the week, hordes of men and women descend upon karaoke bars so they can drink light beer and have a chance to sing ‘Hooked on a Feeling.’ They just love performing in front of a crowd and showing off their amazing musical talent. The dozens of people outside covering their ears and fleeing down the street in terror are obviously just suffering from an ill-timed ear infection.


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David Hasselhoff has many grand achievements to his name: he hung out with a talking car in “Knight Rider”. He showed off his surplus of manly chest hair on “Baywatch”. He also starred in “Baywatch Nights”, the spooky version of the program, in which vampires show up at one point. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment, however, is the solo album that he put out in 1997. It was a cover of Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling”, and the music video is one of the most disturbingly surreal things to have ever been created.

The poofy-haired singer jumps and spins through a variety of obviously blue-screened exotic locales. He spins giant animated cubes on his finger that are filled with his singing face. He flaps his arms to fly with a flock of geese while angelic children float nearby. He also rides his motorcycle past an alien creature that seemingly escaped from Area 51. The production quality for the video is beyond bad: it makes “Plan 9 from Outer Space” almost look impressive in retrospect. Copious amounts of eye bleach are recommended after viewing, along with an full frontal lobotomy.

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Milli Vanilli is a famous pop duo that took the music world completely by storm in 1989. Their debut album went multi-platinum and featured such amazing hits as “Girl You Know it’s True” and “Blame it on the Rain”. They even won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist, beating five other singers who didn’t have such dreamy hair. It seemed like there was nowhere for the dynamic team to go but up.

And then, during a live concert on MTV, the record skipped.

It turned out that Milli Vanilli weren’t actually singing their songs – that was Charles Shaw and Brad Howell. Those two didn’t have a marketable image, however. They lacked fake dreadlocks, and enormous pectorals, and the ability to shake their posterior in a thoroughly provocative fashion. Frank Farian (the music producer) therefore decided to go with Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan, who couldn’t sing on key to save their lives but did make the ladies swoon.

The house of cards quickly came crashing down. People realized that Milli Vanilli had been lip-syncing the whole time, prompting record sales to plummet. They lost their Grammy Award, they were dropped by Arista Records, and ten million buyers were granted a full refund on their albums. They were also ordered to stop appearing shirtless in public, because it was fairly ridiculous.

Milli Vanilli did attempt a comeback a few years later. They changed their name to ‘Rob & Fab’ and released three singles, but to no avail. For some odd, completely inexplicable reason, no one wanted to buy their music anymore.

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Robert Van Winkle wanted to be a rapper for as long as he could remember. He saw the success of Public Enemy and Run-D.M.C., and felt that he had something unique to add to the mix. More specifically, the fact that he was whiter than white bread with white food coloring and a huge heaping of mayonnaise on top. The young lad practiced his dance moves and made sure to place his baseball cap on backwards, but soon realized that he was going to need a cool name in order to properly break into the industry. There was Ice-T, Ice Cube, so what about… Vanilla Ice?

The name caught on. He quickly gained famed from his song “Ice Ice Baby”, which basically took the riff from “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Freddie Mercury and re-packaged it in an incredibly bland and talentless version. Mainstream music listeners naturally ate it up, and his debut album shot to #1. This would soon be followed by a Grammy nomination and an American Music Association award. His greatest accomplishment, however, would be when he rapped the theme song to the hit movie, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze”.

All would not remain well for Vanilla Ice, however. His sampling of “Under Pressure” had been done without legal permission, prompting a lawsuit to be filed. Reporters discovered that he had lied about his upbringing, and that he had been raised in white suburbia as opposed to ‘the hood’. Perhaps worst of all, people began to actually listen to his music, and realized that he sounded like a tone-deaf version of Paul from The Wonder Years. His fortunes rapidly plummeted, though he would experience some later success in Japan, as well as go on to star in The Surreal World with Ron Jeremy and Tammy Fae Baker.

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BAD MUSIC – Boy Bands

Boy bands are a mainstream musical phenomenon that emphasizes style over substance and tight pants over actual talent. Their fan bases tend to be huge and made up of screaming pre-teen girls who work themselves into a wild frenzy whenever they see one of their beloved idols appear on television. The songs they sing are almost always mind-numbingly repetitive, talking about how, baby, they’re gonna sweep you off your feet, because baby, true love can’t be beat, and baby, they’re sweepers in the street, and baby, true love they’d love to meet.

Members of boy bands are typically divided into the following designations:

The Cute One
The Funny One
The “Bad” One
The Macho One
The Talented One

Just kidding about that last one. They’re usually taken up by “The Goateed One” or “The One who will Descend into a Nightmare of Drugs and Pills and Later Appear on an E! True Hollywood Story”, though in some cases that’s the entire group. When it comes down to it, boy bands are perhaps best known for their mastery of synchronized dance moves. This is probably because a good number of them are completely tone deaf, and need to distract listeners from this fact by wiggling their hips provocatively.

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The 1970’s was a difficult period of time for many Americans. The war in Vietnam had taken a brutal toll on the country, while Watergate had shattered people’s faith in the role of government. Even worse, men and women everywhere had come to realize that most folk music was just a bunch of drunk college students shaking tambourines. They shuffled aimlessly from nightclub to nightclub, searching for a new sound that would demonstrate how they really felt and extol the true importance of “Stayin’ Alive.” Disco was the answer to their dreams.

Whereas previously music had relied on rhythm and melody, disco relied on giant afros and strobe effects. It naturally became the most popular musical style in the nation, as people everywhere Rocked the Boat to the Disco Inferno like some sort of Dancing Machine. They didn’t care that disco promoted apathy and escapism; these were some of its best qualities. People were tired of caring about the world around them, and there’s no better way to achieve this than by striking a dramatic pose to the sound of electroacoustic keyboards.

Disco is widely considered to have perished on July 12, 1979. This is “The day that disco died”, thanks to the good work of Steve Dahl and Garry Meier. These courageous radio DJ’s led a massive anti-disco demonstration at Comiskey Park in Chicago, where they launched disco records into the air and exploded a box full of albums in center field. The fans started to riot (joyously), and dozens of armed police officers had to be called in to get the situation under control. Most of them were just relieved that disco was finally dead, though, and joined in on the happy festivities.

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