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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Charts: For Better or Worse Till Death Us Do Part

"What makes a pretentious album?" asks the UK's NME on-line magazine, academically, before it answers its own question. "A groan-inducing concept, lots of highfalutin waffle, and a ridiculous cover. If you’re lucky you get all three at once."

Lady Gaga's Born This Way tops NME's list of 10 albums that includes Terence Trent D'Arby's Neither Fish nor Flesh, Lou Reed & Metallica's Lulu and Peter Townshend's Psychoderelict.

"For a while Gaga was the most exciting pop star on the planet. Then on ‘Born This Way’ she seemed to believe in her own hype," NME says, "convinced that she had a message to share. Cue an album of unwieldy ‘anthems’ that couldn’t mask the fact the fun had left the building."

Well, I don't know who put a bug up NME's ass about Gaga but I feel her album doesn't belong on that list at all, never mind appearing as its #1 Most Pretentious album. Rather, I think bashing Born is a cynical attention-getter on a list that otherwise sports albums that have garnered public apathy and even scorn.

Today, Lady Gaga offered this great reply on Facebook: "Oh the irony of winning "Most Pretentious Album Ever" from none other than NME. *eyeroll* I might laugh forever + then return to narcissism."

But let's turn our attention briefly this week to another list: The Billboard Top 25 Dance/Club Play Songs chart. Kelly Clarkson forcefully takes over the #1 spot with "Stronger (Whatever Doesn't Kill You)" empowerment track, greatly abetted by her remixers; especially, in my mind, 7th Heaven. Last week's #1, the girl-group NRG number, "Dance On" by Blush, meanwhile drops to 9th place on a diva-challenged chart full of dross.

After securing the 7th spot last week, Erasure's "Be with You" drops to #13. However, Yoko Ono's back (always a good sign), bouncing into the Top 25 at #22 with her latest, "She Gets Down on Her Knees," which brings me then to Madonna.

"Give Me All Your Luvin'," prominently featured during Madonna's excellent Super Bowl half-time show, snags the 24th Billboard Dance/Club spot, hugely up from the 54th spot last week as it enters the Top 25 list.

Meanwhile, Cher just Tweeted she's touring in September. The Farewell Farewell Farewell Again Tour? (Where do I get my tickets?)

Until the next time, love, peace, happiness & disco to everyone, all over the world from Dj Buddy B!


  1. The boys at the NME unfortunately labour under the misaprehension that they have to create a fuss about music in order to merit the mantle of 'rock journalist' as invented by Lester Bangs, Nick Kent and Julie Burchill et al. Sadly their lack of context, historical knowledge and critical faculty makes them nothing more than impostors doomed to rewrite press releases and, as you wisely say, attempt to cash in on Gaga's success by dissing her and (hopefully) earning lots of page hits in order to up their ad revenue. So Monsters, don't go to the site, it's all they want!
    P.S. there is nothing so pretentious in music today as Coldplay and Radiohead

  2. Johnny, I remember reading Lester Bangs' column in The Village Voice, in the '80s, and doing my own eyerolls. Talk about blathering pretentiousness! Oh, brother!