Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Undeniable Suck Factor

The other night, after being provoked by a John Cougar Mellencamp song at the bar/restaurant we were visiting, Tara and I spent awhile trying to decide who our least favorite musicians were. Try it yourself, you’ll see that it’s more difficult than it seems. Every time you think you’ve come up with the sine qua non of atrociousness–say, for instance, Sting–you suddenly remember someone even worse: Kid Rock, perhaps, or maybe Megadeth. Then, when you’re all proud of yourself for finally settling on them, something makes you think of Limp Bizkit or Kenny G or that little French rapping kid from the early 90s.

As soon as you reach this point–the point when you’re picking on artists who have what I like to call “the undeniable suck factor”–you’ve lost it, because, while it’s obvious that the Dave Matthews Band, Creed, and Toby Keith suck thoroughly and absolutely, they suck in such a way that offends no one. In other words, you’re not invested in how they suck. Their hideousness does not personally offend you. As a result, they cannot be truly considered your least favorite band/singer/etc. No, you have a much more intimate relationship with your real least favorite musician. Whoever they are, they bother you on a deeper level than late-period Snoop Dogg ever could. Often it’s a band or singer you used to love, but now associate with awful and embarrassing memories. Other times it’s the kind of music enjoyed by an enemy or an ex-lover. Occasionally, it’s an idiosyncratic thing that makes no sense whatsoever.

So, let me ask all you fine people, who’s your least favorite musician? Don’t be shy and don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings. I want honesty here. I’ll tell you who mine is later in the day, if I get the time.