Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Actual Worst Records... Ever 

Stereo-phonic, Mono-tonous

Why are the Stereophonics so unbelievably awful?

Think about it, it's not as easy a question as you might think. Not because it's in any way hard to think of reasons why they're so bad, there are thousands of them. So many, in fact, that we once toyed with the idea of starting up a blog called 1,000,001 Reasons Why the Stereophonics Suck which would, over time, contain exactly that, only giving up on it partly because we realised that having to deal with such a wealth of awfulness would slowly but surely drive us mad, but mainly because we felt that using the word 'suck' made us sound like a character in a pisspoor American teen sitcom, and we really didn't want that. But no, the reason it's not an easy question is because of the impossibility of pinpointing just one satisfying reason as to exactly why they're so soul destroying without exploding in a mess of anger, frustration and boredom. In desperation we turned to the 82ASK who are, frankly, the font of all knowledge who can dispense judgement with a Solomon like wisdom and asked them that very question. They answered: "Subjective whether they are awful or not, but many people agree, hence why they have only had 1 UK #1, Dakota. Some say every song sounds the same", which is a little unsatisfying. We can only assume that the writer managed to resist the urge to append the phrase "And they're clearly shit" to the end of the answer.

We're going to ignore the Dakota point. The only reason people took that particular track to their hearts was the fact that, compared to every other Stereophonics single thus far released, it sounded quite good. Compared to virtually every single other record ever released, it tends to come up wanting. Instead we're going to focus on what is undoubtedly the absolute nadir of their career: Mr Writer.

Written by lead singer Kelly Jones in a rage after the music press continued to deride his music for being turgid nonsense with all the excitement and thrills of meat and potatoes, only lacking both the meat and the potatoes which might make the experience of chowing down even vaguely pleasurable, he struck back and proved his critics wrong with a song that was, umm, turgid nonsense with all the excitement and thrills of meat and potatoes, only lacking both the meat and potatoes which might make the experience of chowing down even vaguely pleasurable. It was like Kelly had taken the gristle which makes up the back of his throat and spat it out on a plate, with a side serving of bile for good measure. "Why don't you tell it like it really is", he moaned, without even stopping for a minute to step outside his plodding, pointless, workaday existence to think, for even just a second, that, you know what, they might have a point.

It's like listening to the elongated moan of a hippo's yawn, the sound of someone slowly committing suicide by pinpricks, or the needless mewlings of a man on the bus, moaning because someone got the last Metro before him. It's the aural equivalent of a nine to five shift in an accountancy firm, but at least they get a lunch break halfway through, all we get is Kelly whining on and on, barely striking any emotional tone other than being mildly irked and coming across like a toddler who, even if you're entirely opposed to smacking, you would still think really needs a good slap.

Despite this, and, indeed, despite the rest of their back catalogue, the Stereophonics still sell in solid numbers, which is perhaps appropriate for a band who could best be described as solid - and something which they'd no doubt see as a compliment, which perhaps says it all - so much so that Kelly is now even able to enjoy the luxury of indulging in a side project. Called Only the Names Have Been Changed it's a solo album which he recorded in 36 hours, so it's nice to see he's put some effort into this and it's not a quickly tossed off vanity project with which he hopes to fleece his fans who have more money than sense. And given that they're fans of the Stereophonics, anyone who's got more than £2.37 in their wallet fits the bill. Now, we've not actually heard it yet - and nor do we have any plans to - so we may well be doing it a disservice and it could be the most exciting album released this year, full of imagination and excitement, thrills and novelty, packed to bursting with the most hook-laden hits the world has ever seen, but somehow we don't think we're going to be proved wrong if we suggest it's probably the most godawful, self indulgent load of irrelevance to hit the shops since the last Oasis album and, while it may only have taken 36 hours to record, listening to it is going to feel like one hell of a lot longer.

And he's got a girl's name. Ha.

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