Brad Paisley. It took me a LONG time to warm up to this guy. He's a traditionalist, and I remember hearing some quotes from him early in his career that ticked me off. Specifically, while onstage at an awards ceremony, he said, "I have no desire to be played anywhere other than country radio," which was a slap in the face to artists like Faith, Shania and the Dixie Chicks who had branched out into pop. It made me think he was full of himself. That feeling started to wear off with 2002's "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)," which revealed a side of Paisley I hadn't seen - the funny side. Now, with the humorous single "Online" and his acclaimed new album 5th Gear, I'm firmly in the Paisley camp - he's a breath of fresh air from the other men ruling the genre. Toby Keith's a pompous ass, Kenny Chesney's a fraud-committing wacko, but Paisley is genuine.
Kanye West. By moving up the release date of his album, Kanye created a September 11 showdown with 50 Cent, and in turn got people talking about rap music again. His new song Stronger samples Daft Punk and shows that he is still trying to break new ground and provide something fresh. Like Brad Paisley, I used to hate Kanye, but eventually I had to give in and accept his brilliance.
Backstreet Boys. Please give it up guys! They've lost Kevin, but the other four Boys are carrying on, and their new single Inconsolable sucks. Just like everything they've done since 2001. Except for "Just Want You to Know" - the video for that was excellent. A fluke, I must say...
The MTV Video Music Awards. I give them thumbs down because they actually did something right - they included an obscure song among the nominations for Video of the Year - Justice's "D.A.N.C.E." I was disappointed because now the whole friggin' world knows about an awesome band that I was hoping would stay a small, little-known indie act. See, even when they do something right, there's reason to be mad at MTV. (It'll probably lose to Beyonce, anyway...)
Tuesday, September 4, 2007