“He looks like a transsexual minotaur.”

So says a poster at my favorite online den of negativity, The Velvet Rope. And he/she is correct.

Fuck you, Rod Stewart! You had real talent, you asshole! Goddamn it, those Faces records were great–even some of the early solo stuff. And then you got lazy–Foot Loose and Fancy Free, Foolish Behaviour, Body Wishes. Ugh. I thought you’d reached bottom with 1986’s “Love Touch,” a song so bad it still makes me grit my teeth with rage 18 years later, but no. Now we’ve got these “Great American Songbook” albums. You crapped out the first one as a stopgap introductory release on your new label, and every QVC-watching housewife and senior citizen toddered off to get themselves a copy, so here we are at volume three.

Shame on you, Rod Stewart. This isn’t even coasting. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out you didn’t even show up to sing these classic songs, you hack, and instead decided to have some engineer splice together words and syllables from previous recordings. An interpretive vocalist is supposed to demonstrate empathy and feeling for the songs he didn’t write, not just swan around in a dinner coat and tie. I’m amazed you still manage to put forth the effort to breathe.

I hate you, Rod Stewart.

Just look at the river of shit you’ve loosed on the American public. Your contemporaries have started to imitate your artistically bankrupt career choices. I blame you for two of this week’s new releases:

Daryl Motherfucking Hall and John Goddamn Oates put out their covers album this week, optimistically titled Our Kind of Soul. Never mind that soul isn’t something they’ve even bothered to approximate since their 1985 Philly gig with Ruffin & Kendricks. Never mind that their 1997 “comeback” album was distressingly high on modern (read: awful) R&B gloss, and its wretched followup, last year’s Do It For Love, had nothing whatsoever to do with anyone’s soul. Even as he’s settled gracelessly into bloated, puffy-faced middle age, Hall has remained a thousand times more prolific than his peers. Oates, even if he’d obviously rather be riding a mountain bike somewhere, is still an underrated vocalist. Up ’til now, it hasn’t been unreasonable to think these two had one more good album left in them. Not anymore. Who wants to spend $15 to hear Hall & Oates versions of “Ooh Child” or “I Can Dream About You”?

Probably the same people who are buying your dreck, Rod Stewart. You asshat.

Then there’s this shit. Listen, I don’t care what you say, Michael McDonald wrote some rock-solid songs back in the day. “It Keeps You Runnin’”…”Takin’ it to the Streets”…”You Belong to Me”…I know, I know, you can’t listen to them anymore without flashing back to fern bars and hipsters in velour shirts, but don’t blame the songs themselves. He fused classic (read: actual) R&B with boogie rock, not an easy thing to do, and was very good at it for awhile.

I mean, “What A Fool Believes”? One of my favorite songs ever.

But he lost the plot in the ’80s, along with damn near everyone else, and wound up buried underneath a roomful of synths, tangled in patch cables, completely adrift. People stopped buying his records. He lost his deal, started a label with Jeff Bridges(!), moved to Nashville, and started surfing. (Yes, I know it doesn’t make any sense. You tell him.) I’ve met the guy, spent a couple of hours talking to him. I have his phone number around here somewhere. He’s very nice. But nobody needed that Motown shit a couple of years ago, and they definitely don’t need Motown Two right now.

Couldn’t he even try to come up with an actual title?

Look, you dicks, knock this shit off right now. If this keeps up, everyone from your generation is going to start doing it. We’ve already got Billy Joel thinking he’s a classical composer–next, he’ll be releasing Up on the Roof: The Songs of Goffin & King in time for the 2005 holiday season. Then it’ll be Joe Jackson doing an album of skiffle classics, or Elvis Costello covering his own songs with an orchestra. Jackson Browne will do an album of Eagles covers, Don Henley will record one of Jackson Browne covers, and Glenn Frey will cover Don Henley. (No one will cover Glenn Frey, ever, not even to be funny.) Pretty soon, all I’m going to be left with is Tom Waits trying to contact the mothership, Neil Young mewling about fictional towns, and Springsteen popping out of his hole every ten years or so.

Pull yourselves together.
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