By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
7. Sufjan Stevens' Illinois. Argh. Cynical hipsters preprogrammed to embrace fey indie stars and their concept albums rushed to embrace this latest installment in Stevens' ill-advised "50 states in 50 records" project, as if it were a keg of PBR at a house party. Had they listened a bit more closely, they would have heard an admittedly talented musician and arranger with an embarrassingly naive outlook and a willful lack of knowledge about his subject matter. The songs sound like the musings of a seventh-grader who got Daddy to produce his album. I mean, an earnest ballad that humanizes John Wayne Gacy Jr. because serial killers are people, too? Hey, Pitchfork, face it: You got Punk'd.
8. The Bravery versus The Killers. This was some real what the fuck? madness. Each sadly derivative, eyeliner-wearing, copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy fashion band lobbed highly publicized accusations at the other for being, well, a copy. It was like a Triscuit getting in a fight with a Wheat Thin.
9. Diddy and Jessica Simpson. A lot of people think these two are famous pop stars, but they're not. They're two people who have gotten famous playing the roleof famous pop stars; they're all star and no pop. Diddy doesn't even bother to attach himself to records anymore, preferring instead to bullshit with singers, dancers, and rappers about their careers and to hang out at parties. There used to be a name for such talentless people whose sole ability is a knack for getting close to musicians. We called them groupies.
10. R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet series. This was the worst of all. Remember in Back to the Future Part IIwhen Marty returns to 1985 to discover that evil Uncle Biff has single-handedly created an alternate reality of fake boobs and bombed-out ghettos, which he presides over like a Mafioso meth-head? That's Marty's worst nightmare. The disturbing success of this tuneless, melodramatic song cycle -- its fans, critical and otherwise; the amount of attention it receives in print and on TV -- is mine. I'm not saying that this crime is worse than its perpetrator's allegedly peeing on a minor, but it's close.