A Snob's Guide to Rock 'n' Roll

New Times' unholy critical trinity come down from their snooty perch to stop and sneer at the latest musical offerings

Bill Blake, Serene Dominic, Bob Mehr. Three sharply seasoned music critics. Together this trio of rock snobs has lauded thousands of deserving albums up to high heaven and drop-kicked 10 times that number down to the gallows.

But now they've grown tired and jaded, unwilling even to lay their eyes upon the ever-increasing deposits of drivel and dross that record labels dump on their doorsteps -- music reeking of self-importance and masquerading as entertainment. How they long for the days when intentions were pure, a time when they could listen without prejudice and not be reminded of washroom soft-soap dispenser George Michael.

The solution? Turn the whole thing into a game show. Our intrepid group of rock snobs has decided that from now on they'll listen to albums blindfolded -- and to only one cut from each selected at random. Only your host/editor Bob Mehr knows who the guilty music makers are.

Sample king Puff Daddy praying at the altar of MOR godhead Christopher Cross.
Mike Gorman
Sample king Puff Daddy praying at the altar of MOR godhead Christopher Cross.
Three angry snobs are we: New Times' unholy critical trinity. From left, Bob Mehr, Serene Dominic, Bill Blake.
Three angry snobs are we: New Times' unholy critical trinity. From left, Bob Mehr, Serene Dominic, Bill Blake.

Now you, dear reader, get the rare opportunity to eavesdrop on a bull session featuring three of the most catty, vain and scatological scribes to ever trash a Kenny G CD. Listen as they make arcane and obscure musical references. Marvel as they snort derisively at the latest pop phenomenon. Thrill to the chest-beating rock 'n' roll snobbery on display here!

Hang on tight as shocking thoughts are revealed and impossible questions answered. Will Bill Blake finally lose his predisposition to liking anything by Iggy Pop? Could Serene Dominic actually admit to enjoying a Celine Dion album? Will Bob Mehr be revealed as a closet Foghat fan? It could happen! So sit back, relax, and enjoy as our rock snobs play . . . Blindman's Buffet!

Richard Thompson
"Cooksferry Queen"
A twangy rockabilly number that kicks off the British guitarist's latest record, Mock Tudor.

Dominic: Ooh, this is Richard Thompson, right?

Blake: This is Richard Thompson? Sounds like John Doe. Makes me long for X. Take it off.

Dominic: Did he say she's his "Cursed Fairy Queen"?

Mehr: No, it's actually "Cooksferry Queen."

Blake: I like "Cursed Fairy Queen" much better.

Mehr: He's a limey, cut him some slack. What about the song?

Dominic: As a critic, you're not allowed to say anything bad about Richard Thompson or they take your promos away. He's good. He's one of those people you respect, but you don't want to hear very often.

Blake: For a guy who's supposed to be from England, he sure sounds like he's from Tex-ass.

Dominic: I like it, but I just can't get too excited over it because I know he'll depress me in the end.

Mehr: How about you, Blake?

Blake: Still makes me long for X. Next.

Incubus
"Privilege"
A none-too-rare (these days, anyway) sounding rap/funk/metal mix that mines Limp Bizkit/Korn territory. From the band's new Epic Records album Make Yourself.

Blake: That guitar gives it all away. It's got late '90s written all over it. It actually makes me long for Faith No More -- not a good thing. These guys have got to be from San Diego.

Mehr: The music is just bad rap-metal, but the singer kind of sounds like the guy from Green Day.

Dominic: Yeah, like he went to the Billie Joe school of elocution.

Mehr: Do you give up?

Blake: How about we don't care.

Mehr: The band is called Incubus and they're from Calabasas, California.

Blake: I was close enough.

Mehr: Well, the weird thing is that this Limp-Korn-sounding piece of shit was produced by Scott Litt -- the guy who produced R.E.M. and the Replacements.

Blake: Dear God, he must be hurting for his house payment.

Mehr: The press release says, "Dear enlightened one, after nearly two solid years of touring with the likes of Korn, Limp Bizkit, Sugar Ray, 311 -- "

Blake: As if you couldn't tell.

Dominic: They're kind of like the '90s version of Men at Work. Remember in the '80s when the Police record was taking so long to finish, Men at Work came along and got huge? This band is trying to fill in the void between the next Korn album.

Blake: They're all overcompensating for their lack of manhood. Listen to those guitars. It's like, "Jesus Christ, how much sperm can you put into those things?"

Mehr: Or lack of sperm.

Blake: And look at their picture. They all have pubes on their chins. Stay away from a band with pube mustaches.

Derailers
"Then She Kissed Me"
A country redux of the Phil Spector/Ronettes classic as it appears on the band's latest Sire effort Full Western Dress.

Dominic: What the fuck is this, the Bellamy Brothers doing the Ronettes?

Blake: Ooh, I'd pay to see that.

Mehr: Come on, Blake, let's keep it clean. There are kids reading. What do you think of the music?

Blake: Must they resurrect this song every three months? How many times can we hear this done in one lifetime?

Dominic: I'm just sick of Nashville country bands doing covers.

Mehr: The band is the Derailers, and they're actually from Austin, Texas.

Blake: Isn't Austin for people who can't make it in Nashville?

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