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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

It's that time of year again, as The Onion has unleashed it's Least Essential Albums of 2003 on an unsuspecting world.

The jokes come fast, furious, and more or less with no effort whatsoever on behalf of its writers, year in, year out. But it somehow doesn't matter since you can derive infinite laughs from this formula, even if it's easy to deconstruct. Every year it's pure comedy gold, even if this year's version is missing any references to Aaron Carter. Because you know that every year:

• One or more hack celebrities with no musical talent is going to try a mount a singing career (or at least attempt to cash in on his/her newfound fame) and fall flat on his/her face.
Bonus points if said celebrity is a professional athlete, or, like a pro wrestler, pretends to be a professional athlete. (Kobe Bryant? Randy "Macho Man" Savage?)

• One or more members of a once-loved but now half-forgotten group is going to release a widely ignored solo album.
Bonus points if the member in question wasn't even a key member of said group. (Danny Wood?)

• One or more acts who have clearly seen better days is going to release a new album that even people paying attention probably won't notice.
Bonus points if it's a band whose membership has changed significantly from its glory days. (Journey without Steve Perry?)

• One of more acts that most assuredly do not need the Greatest Hits treatment (or worst, the Box Set treatment) will release a Greatest Hits CD. (Well, actually, the record label is often the one truly at fault.)
Bonus points if said collection fails to include one of their biggest hits, particularly it's only truly notable hit. (A best of Tag Team that omits the original version of "Whoomp (There It Is)?")

• The dregs of someone's catalog are going to be raided by a third party to produce something that did not need to see the light of day.
Bonus points if this catalog belongs to Tupac Shakur, who, judging from how much of his product hits the market on a regular basis, is probably not dead.

• Several bloody awful "tribute" albums will be released.
Bonus points if the band or artist being paid tribute is a flavor of the month with nothing even resembling a track record. (Mudvayne?)

There you have it. No wonder the recording industry is struggling.


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