Rock Hall of Fame nom­i­nees: Good, bad and meh

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - INSIDE | VOICES - Con­tact Shawn Ryan at mshawn­ryan@gmail.com.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has an­nounced its new­est batch of nom­i­nees, and it’s well into its sec­ond-string list of artists.

Def Lep­pard is al­most guar­an­teed to get in on first bal­lot, if only for its record sales. But the band’s dumb, fun rock is not a bad thing, es­pe­cially when it’s crafted as well as “Py­ro­ma­nia” and “Hys­te­ria.” Deep think­ing has never been Def Lep­pard’s forte.

Ra­dio­head lost me af­ter “OK Com­puter.” The next re­lease, “Kid A,” sounded like a thumb on the nose to fans: “We’ll do what we want and you’ll buy it any­way.” I know Thom Yorke had a ner­vous break­down be­fore writ­ing the mu­sic, and the me­an­der­ing and frag­mented songs re­flects an un­sta­ble mind. Doesn’t make it lis­ten­able.

I can’t un­der­stand some of t he fa­nat­i­cal l ove for Devo. “Whip It” was a quirky, one- off ear­worm, and its video gave MTV a big push. But paving the way for the power of the mu­sic video i sn’t a good thing. Videos are mar­ket­ing tools, de­signed to sell more records or in­crease an artist’s pro­file. That’s good for those who make a liv­ing play­ing mu­sic, I ad­mit. But in the end, videos are com­mer­cials that have noth­ing to do with mak­ing mu­sic.

Ste­vie Nicks did her best work with Fleet­wood Mac, some songs on her first solo re­lease, “Bella Donna,” were above-av­er­age. Roxy Mu­sic’s “Avalon” is a good record to play when you and your sig­nif­i­cant other are frisky.

J o h n Prine, nom­i­nated for the first time, is Shawn Ryan such a great and re­spected song­writer, he may ac­tu­ally get in this year.

Kraftwerk is on its fifth nom­i­na­tion, which seems odd con­sid­er­ing that they es­sen­tially in­vented elec­tronic mu­sic, even if you had to lis­ten hard to find any rock ’n’ roll.

Janet Jack­son is on her third go- around as a nom­i­nee; brother Michael is in and she’s as much rock ’ n’ roll as he was, which is not all that much. First- time nom­i­nee Todd Rund­gren will even­tu­ally get in, if only for his work as a pro­ducer.

MC5, on its fourth nom­i­na­tion, was a pre­cur­sor to punk with a side of tear­down- the- sys­tem pol­i­tics. Al­though not as well-known as other nom­i­nees, t hey should be in the hall for their in­flu­ence.

Revo­lu­tion­ary pol­i­tics are also the back­bone of Rage Against the Ma­chine, which may not get in this year but al­most cer­tainly will be in­ducted at some point. The Cure will be in­ducted, prob­a­bly this year, for lead­ing the tor­tured charge into goth rock.

For a com­plete l i st of nom­i­nees, go to: https:// www.rock­hall.com.

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