The infinite awfulness of Billy Joel

One man’s theory as to why the annoying little bastard is the worst pop singer ever:

I think I’ve identified the qualities in B.J.’s work that distinguish his badness from other kinds of badness: It exhibits unearned contempt. Both a self-righteous contempt for others and the self-approbation and self-congratulation that is contempt’s backside, so to speak. Most frequently a contempt for the supposed phoniness or inauthenticity of other people as opposed to the rock-solid authenticity of our B.J….

He thinks people can’t stand him because he dresses wrong or doesn’t look right.

Billy Joel, they can’t stand you because of your music; because of your stupid, smug attitude; because of the way you ripped off your betters to produce music that rarely reaches the level even of mediocrity. You could dress completely au courant and people would still loathe your lame lyrics.

It’s not that they dislike anything exterior about you. They dislike you because of who you really are inside. They dislike you for being you. At a certain point, consistent, aggressive badness justifies profound hostility. They hate you just the way you are.

Far be it from me to dispute the idea that Billy Joel sucks with all the force of a thousand desperate, impoverished strippers chasing a Vivid contract. But I have to admit that I never contemplated the possibility that it was his lyrics behind the monstrous black hole of his despicable suckitude; I always thought it was the music itself that was so ear-bleedingly awful. Fortunately, I never listened to enough of his steaming stinkocity to even be passingly familiar with the greater part of his dreadful ouevre, but if I had to pick just one song as the nadir of the lot, it would be “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. Or maybe “Uptown Girl”…. Wow, it is really hard to choose just one… no, it’s got to be “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, because if you’re choosing between two equally bad songs, the list song has to be worst by virtue of its intrinsically annoying format.

Although I will confess that since my first exposure to rock music was “In a Gadda Da Vida” and my first record album was “Back in Black”, I had absolutely no idea what the hell Billy Joel was going on about in “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”. Is this supposed to be rock or something? Really? Sounds a lot more like a Debby Boone/Sean Cassidy thing to me. Wait a minute, don’t tell me the freaking Monkees are supposed to be rock and roll?

Speaking of “Back in Black”, has there ever been an album or CD that has TWO songs that begin better than “Hells Bells” and “Back in Black”? I don’t think so. My favorite song on the album, however, has always been “Shoot to Thrill”.

Blades in the back

Where do you think they will land?

Death and rebirth

The Original Cyberpunk shutters The Ranting Room:

This, friends, is the final week of The Ranting Room. Come Saturday, January 31, this site will be going dark. The content will remain online for some unspecified time to come, but after four years of doing this blog, it’s time for me to hang the ‘Closed’ sign in the window and move on to other things….

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to making The Ranting Room the sort of underground cult-classic semi-success it is today; it’s you, the community, who really make this thing work. I especially want to thank everyone who has contributed a guest column in the past year. I did give a lot of thought to the idea of changing the rules, opening up the posting permissions, and expanding The Ranting Room to be more like an online magazine. But in the end, I came to the conclusion that this blog is just too personal and idiosyncratic to be opened up in that way, and it would be better to bring it to an end and begin something new.

So, the news is not all bad – indeed, for fans of the OC’s fiction, it’s downright good news – and denizens of The Ranting Room will no doubt be pleased to know that their community will live on, in an even more open and flexible form, at its appointed successor site. I congratulate the OC for The Ranting Room’s successful run of four years, and I hope to see many familiar Ranting Roomers at the new blog in the future.