I confess. I don’t like Led Zeppelin. If you are a fan of music and rock & roll, chances are good you do like Led Zeppelin. Chances are you like Led Zeppelin a lot. I mention to friends that I am not a fan, and they are confused and frustrated, often to the point of exasperation. I promise, I am not trying to exasperate you.
There are probably musicians you don’t care for that others do. Are you trying to make a statement with your musical tastes? Of course not. I hope you listen to music that excites you and makes you happy, and I hope you ignore music that you find troublesome, puzzling or just a bother.
With your kind understanding and compassion, here are some musicians and groups I don’t care for that are loved by people around the world. This is my confession.
I don’t like heavy metal music, so it would stand to reason I would not care for the group that many consider to be the starting point for all heavy metal bands to follow. Much of the music of Led Zeppelin is firmly steeped in the electric and acoustic blues legacy of the American south, which I love, but I find their music to be overly bombastic, hedonistic, and forever steeped in a foggy, frothy brew of surface story and style reminiscent of the British Middle Ages. I don’t get it. I don’t enjoy it. I only ever bought one of their albums, and I might have listened to it once.
Dave Matthews Band
If you like the Dave Matthews Band, chances are good you like them a lot. Their concerts are the stuff of legends. Matthews is followed from concert to concert by fans, and the band is known for their improvisational style and excellent musicianship. In fact, I had the opportunity to see Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds perform an acoustic set at a recent Farm Aid concert, and I was amazed by the fluid and dexterous guitar playing.
Yet I don’t care for the music. Let’s face it, most long, instrumental jams at rock concerts are boring affairs, primarily giving musicians a showcase for their skills while serving the song and audience very little. And mercy on your soul if you are in a band that features a drum solo. Except for the drum solo in “Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight” by The Beatles, there is never a reason for a drum solo. Ever. And, I should also mention that I find Matthews’ singing style to be silly and derivative at best, and I have never found a way to connect to the songs.
I like music. I like bands because of the music they play. I like music that is theatrical. But Kiss is not a band. Kiss is a make-up wearing commercial conglomerate who happen to play music, such as it is. This is the one band on my list who I will say is bad. Their music is bad. They are bad musicians. Moving on.
Mumford & Sons
On paper, this is a band I should love. The band formed around a common inspiration from the amazing Bruce Springsteen Seeger Sessions concerts, which to this day is one of my very favorite concerts I ever attended. Mumford and Sons write and perform music firmly based in the acoustic folk music tradition. This is my music, this is my wheel house, this is my comfort zone.
And yet there is no joy in the music of Mumford and Sons. There is no humor, there is no levity. They never seem to have very much fun playing the music, and I certainly don’t have any fun listening.
It’s as if every band who ever played progressive rock got together and said “Let’s see how far we can take this ridiculousness.” Though the members of Yes are all excellent musicians, their songs are often overblown affairs that feature silly lyrics that ramble on and on. For instance:
“The Revealing Science of God can be seen as an ever-opening
flower in which simple truths emerge examining the complexities and
magic of the past and how we should not forget the song that has
been left to us to hear. The knowledge of God is a search, constant
Ugh. Give me a break. Though Yes had moments of delight, surprise and fun in their music, those moments were too far and few between for me, and they made my list.
Jay Z is one of the most popular and successful artists in the history of rap and hip-hop music, and I could not be more surprised. I applaud his wealth and his success, but I don’t think he is a good rapper. Though I am by no means a rap music aficionado, there is a lot of rap music that I like a lot, and I find Jay Z’s raps to be poorly written and poorly phrased. It often sounds like he does not even know when and where to breathe. As a result, we lose continuity. We lose story. How did we get here?
Led Zeppelin? Yes? Now, The Doors? I fear I will forever be exiled from the middle age guys classic rock fan club…but seriously? The Doors? Even more so than Led Zeppelin or Yes, this is a group that took itself way too seriously, and their songs don’t come close to living up to their own hype.
“Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, now touch be baby.”
“You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn’t get much higher”
“People are strange when you’re a stranger
Faces look ugly when you’re alone”
The Doors came to believe their own hype. To listen to surviving members talk about the music of The Doors today, you would think they were the greatest poets and musicians of their time, but sadly the songs come across as little more than syrupy pop songs, not very well written.
So, now I owe you an apology.
If you are a fan any of these artists I’ve just mentioned, please don’t stop listening on my account. You’re a fan for a good reason, maybe for your own, personal reason, and you should keep on listening.
At the same time though, don’t feel like you can’t confess yourself. Think Bruce Springsteen is a hack? Let me have it. Think The Beatles are a syrupy, sonic mess? Yell it from the mountain top! Think Bob Dylan is a screeching relic of a time we should just as soon forget? Say it loud, say it proud.
Ok. Maybe keep your opinions about Bob Dylan to your own blog. These are my confessions.