Rock Hall of Fame nominees: Good, bad and meh
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.