Saturday, July 30, 2005

List of the week, 7/30: Band names

(Listening to: Radiohead, OK Computer)

A new feature here: I take my obsession with lists to the next level and provide you with a new one every Saturday. How 'bout that. Not like my big mammoth lists, of course -- these will be just top fives or tens, depending on my mood.

I'm sure you'll disagree with my choices, but hey -- that's the point. To inspire discussion. Plus, you're wrong.

This week: the best and worst band names of all time. I'll try to divorce my opinion of the music of each of these acts to focus just on their names -- just because someone is on the best list here doesn't mean I don't hate them.

The best:
  1. The Who. ("Who's playing tonight?" "Yeah!" "Who?" "Yeah!" "No, what band is playing tonight?" "Who!" "That's what I'm asking you!")
  2. Soundgarden. (Apparently taken from an outdoor art installation in Seattle that makes noise when the wind blows through it. A perfect name -- dark, mysterious, and instantly memorable. Just like their music.)
  3. Megadeth. (Fueled by alcohol and anger over his expulsion from Metallica, Dave Mustaine managed to come up with a name even more perfect for metal than his former mates [and Lars even stole theirs from someone else]. Unfortunately, the other guys blew him away musically, but hey: at least he got the cooler name.)
  4. Public Enemy. (Chuck D couldn't have put his group's militant hip-hop anymore succinctly than that. Bonus points for the logo, depicting a black man trapped in a sniper's crosshairs. And honorable mention to Rage Against the Machine, who also chose a great political name.)
  5. Ben Folds Five. (Sure, there's nothing original about a lead singer naming a band after himself. But the genius of the name lies in the fact that the Five only featured three members -- Folds had a knack for smirking, sarcastic songwriting, and the great name spelled that out flawlessly.)
And the worst:

  1. Limp Bizkit. (Just about everything Fred Durst does pisses me off, and the idiotic band name is no exception. Dig the totally hip misspelling! And putting the word "limp" in your name is asking for your music to be described that way, isn't it? And a million extra bonus points for what a "limp biscuit" supposedly is. If you don't know, don't ask. It's gross.)
  2. Hoobastank. (Yeah, a band name is supposed to be easy to remember, but not like this. "Hoobastank" -- which doesn't mean anything, if you were curious -- is like a rotted watermelon thrown against the wall, splattering out in all directions, creating a giant, disgusting mess that you will never get rid of no matter how hard you try. Just like their music.)
  3. Jethro Tull. (The story is that Ian Anderson would come up with a new name every time his band got booed out of a club. The one time they happened to play well and get asked back, they'd called themselves "Jethro Tull," and so were stuck with it. Poor bastards.)
  4. Jefferson Starship. (Jefferson Airplane wasn't so bad, I guess. But Jefferson Starship? Thanks, but no thanks.)
  5. Yes. (No. No no no.)

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