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

Dominic: I guess, but nobody can make it in Nashville these days unless it is shit.

Mehr: They're a good band, it's just a lousy choice for a cover.

Dominic: This is like one of those songs where you can't do anything new to it. And the Wall of Sound shouldn't have any pedal steel, that's a pretty firm rule.

Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines
"Lost in You"
A strangely feminine-sounding ballad from country music's reigning king. The song appears on the album Chris Gaines' Greatest Hits, the pre-soundtrack to Brooks' new "rock" movie project The Lamb.

Dominic: Who is it? A Rickie Lee Jones imitator?

Mehr: No.

Blake: Maria Muldaur?

Mehr: No.

Dominic: El DeBarge?

Mehr: No.

Blake: Tracy Chapman?

Mehr: No! It's a man. I'll give away that much.

Blake: Terence Trent D'Arby?

Mehr: I said it's a man.

Dominic: Richard Marx? Kenny Loggins? I give up. Who is it?

Mehr: Well, the song is called "Lost in You," and the singer is the biggest-selling recording artist in American music history -- Mr. Garth Brooks -- performing as the mythical Australian "rock star" Chris Gaines.

Blake: (choking, coughing up contents of his 40-ounce) You bastard! Are you trying to kill me playing that?

Mehr: The idea behind the record is that he's making a movie called The Lamb where he plays an Australian-born rock star named Chris Gaines, and this is the first single off of the pre-soundtrack to that film. Here's the picture from the cover.

Blake: Jesus!

Mehr: I always thought he had kind of a chubby face. But look at his chin in that picture.

Dominic: Oh, yeah, there's some airbrushing going on there. There's at least one chin missing in action from that picture.

Mehr: What was the verdict on the music?

Dominic: I didn't think it was the worst thing in the world.

Blake: Are you kidding? That was inexcusable.

Dominic: I'm not saying it's good. I'm just saying I wouldn't run screaming from the elevator it's playing in. But then again I would get out when my floor was called.

Blake: I should run screaming from you just for saying that.

Mehr: I have to agree with Blake on this one. It sounds like Babyface doing a Bread song. I'm pretty sure that's one of the seven signs of the apocalypse.

Dominic: What I object to is that he thinks that it's "rock 'n' roll" music.

Blake: So admit it then, it's shite.

Dominic: Yeah, it's shite.

Long John Hunter
"El Paso Rock"
An instrumental blues/R&B cut from a new Norton Records compilation album titled Ooh Wee Pretty Baby.

Dominic: That's garagey sounding.

Blake: This is great, what is this?

Mehr: It's a Long John Hunter, Ooh Wee Pretty Baby. He's a guitarist who played and recorded in El Paso, Texas, in the '50s.

Blake: This is the only good thing I've heard so far.

Dominic: I know, it's great. Listen to the drums. You could flick the flip top of a beer can and it would be louder than the drums.

Mehr: So, basically we're all in agreement that the stuff that a bunch of guys wrote and recorded in one night in a garage in El Paso is pretty much better than everything else you've heard.

Dominic: They should lock Garth Brooks in a garage.

Blake: And then start up the car.

Puff Daddy
"My Best Friend"
A gentle rap/sermon extolling the virtues of a higher power. The track is from his new Bad Boy Records release Forever.

Dominic: I already hate it. It's got wind chimes on it.

Blake: This is how I hear Puff Daddy in 10 years.

Dominic: Jeez, this is supposed to be rap. I hope the wind chimes don't turn into bitch-slappin' music.

Mehr: See if you can pick out the sample.

Dominic: So is this Puff Daddy?

Mehr: Yeah.

Blake: This is Puff Daddy? Goddamn it.

Mehr: But what about the sample? Can you pick it out?

Blake: Is it "Dust in the Wind"?

Dominic: Lionel Richie -- "Hello."

Blake: Oh, Mary mother of God. It's Christopher Cross, isn't it?

Mehr: You got it, Blake. The sample is from Christopher Cross' 1980 hit "Sailing."

Dominic: (incredulous) Of course he brings Christopher Cross back from the dead. Now we have to see his bloated carcass dancing in a shiny suit in those videos with Puff and Mase.

Blake: Man, I was only kidding when I said this is how Puff Daddy is going to sound in 10 years.

Mehr: Can you guess what the song is about?

Dominic: Is it about how money has changed everyone around him except for him?

Mehr: Yeah, he's keepin' it real with those parties he throws at his house in the Hamptons.

Dominic: Yeeaaah, most definitely.

Mehr: The song is called "My Best Friend." The press release says it "features Mario Winans, from the legendary gospel music family. Puff testifies to his salvation. It is a sincere rhyme about Puff's intimate relationship with his god -- "

Dominic: Who's that, Christopher Cross? I guess when you get caught between the moon and New York City, you just gotta get down on your knees and pray.

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