By Michael Alan Goldberg
Britney Spears: This one’s obvious and way too easy, but Brit’s had a spectacularly bad year, so I’ll get it out of the way first. The head-shaving, the booze-and-drugs-gobbling, battling Federline in court and an automobile with an umbrella, the allegedly bad parenting, the rehab stints, the stunningly lackadaisical VMA performance, the laughably awful, “naughty” video for “Gimme More,” and, finally, the indignity of having a number-one album snatched away at the last minute when Billboard decided to change the rules and allow that horrendous new disc by the Eagles, which is only being sold at Wal-Mart, to claim the top spot. Perhaps only Senator Larry Craig and that astronaut lady had worse years.
Clive Davis: So what if you’re the executive emeritus of the music industry -- feuding with one of “your” biggest stars, Kelly Clarkson, because “Miss Independent” had the chutzpah to -- gasp! -- pen her own songs and take artistic control over her career, as opposed to bringing in the army of writers and producers and “hitmakers” you insisted upon, is simply bad form. Actually, it’s kinda douchebaggy. Just because Clarkson won American Idol doesn’t mean she has to be your pre-fab sprout her whole career. Go resurrect Carlos Santana for the 18th time, and leave her alone.
Bono: Okay, so St. Bono is the new Mother Theresa (and, apparently, believes in Jesus more than she did) -- for that, he’s to be commended. But how lame is it when he runs around demanding more tax dollars be spent to aid the world’s poor, and then word comes that U2 moved its music publishing company from Ireland to the Netherlands, the trendy new tax-shelter locale, to avoid levies on their own disgustingly massive income? And by the way, after seeing Bono’s smug mug in the new Joe Strummer documentary The Future Is Unwritten say (yet again), “There would have been no U2 without the Clash,” I wished I could go all Terminator, travel back in time, and kill the 14-year-old Strummer. Nothing personal, Joe. Rest in peace.
Amy Winehouse: Nobody in America knows or cares who Pete Doherty is, so why would you want to be the female version of him and go on a permanent bender? Based on Amy’s suspect talent, people watch her like they watch those huge sugar sculptures being constructed on the Food Network -- they only wanna see if they’ll topple over and fall apart completely.
Eddie Van Halen: Who knew that happy-go-lucky bassist Michael Anthony was the big problem in Van Halen all along, not David Lee Roth? Okay, maybe not, but Anthony’s fraternizing with the enemy (that’d be Sammy “Red Rocker” Hagar, who must’ve gotten on Eddie’s bad side by refusing to ship him a few cases of his tequila) earned him a snub for VH’s reunion tour. Even worse, he got replaced by Eddie’s 15-year-old son, Wolfgang, who’d only been playing bass for three months or so. Why not shitcan your brother, too, and bring in Zac Hanson? Anyway, like I’ve always said -- no Jack Daniel’s bass, no Van Halen!
The Police: The first concert by the reunited Police was “unbelievably lame,” and that wasn’t a rock critic’s take -- it was Police drummer Stewart Copeland’s! On his Web site, he went into great detail about how shitty they played at the tour kickoff in Vancouver, and then flippantly concluded, “Funny thing is, we are enjoying ourselves anyway. Screw it, it’s only music. What are you gonna do?” Of course you’re enjoying yourselves -- you’re raking in the GDP of a small country after every gig! I got a ticket from the actual police (speeding) that cost me less than a pass to your show. Asshole.