There's one superstar each in Angry Ranting Music Journalism and its bastard sub-genre, Paranoid Jerk Metal Journalism. Late Monday yesI'mstillworking, in rolled the latest newsletter from Bob Lefsetz, music industry gaddabout. The Lefsetz Letter examines the music business, shredding RIAA pretenses and scolding the fossils atop major labels. In today's "That Nickelback Song," Lefsetz, with his barely-veiled anti-hipsterism, declares a war on egghead rockists and his love for 'Mutt' Lange, producer of Def Leppard and ex-producer/ex-husband of Shania Twain. (He banged the maid, remember?) It's so entertaining that I believe I shall post the entire fucking thing right down there. It's all part of my sick god complex.
A reminder: Lefsetz is talking about music business, not music. A caution: Beware the run-on and under no circumstances undertake reading aloud without proper training. The HooM! Chair recognizes Bob Lefsetz:
Imagine crossing Shania with "You Shook Me All Night Long" and adding in a guy who can barely sing who made his name singing anthems for guys who believe in brewskis and girls who have more dreams than triumphs. You'll end up with Nickelback's new song, entitled "Gotta Be Somebody".This is a head-turner. It's not the Nickelback you've known, but something more akin to Boston, a sweeter, rocking sound. And I'd like to tell you it sucks, but IT DOESN'T!First time through, you're scratching your head, because it's so DIFFERENT from what's come before. But the SWEETNESS enraptures you, the same Beach Boys sunniness/singalong quality that Mutt added to AC/DC.And, once you've finished deciding it's trash, but that you've got to hear it again to be sure, you dial it back up and you say... FUCK, they're gonna get a TON of airplay. MUTT'S DONE IT AGAIN!Where could Nickelback go? Their first hit was by far their best. If this were a different era, with more rock on Top Forty, they would have been a one hit wonder. But in an era where you've got to scream like James Hetfield or be an emo boy to have any cred, no one makes straight ahead rock anymore. Nickelback's got the field to itself. And, because Chad Kroeger is just too old and too unattractive to play the sold out pretty boy, he can't, and they end up with some weird CREDIBILITY!Not to you. You hate Nickelback. And I can understand your position. But no one is listening to you, except maybe your spouse. And rock purists are known for being single, for being geeks. But, if you've got a life, if music is not the number one thing in your pantheon, you're going to drive down the boulevard with "Gotta Be Somebody" cranked and you're gonna feel GOOD!If you hate hip-hop, if you hate Mariah/Christina melisma and Pussycat Dolls confection, you're going to gravitate to "Gotta Be Somebody" like a rock star to K-Y.Even though the downloadable MP3 is ripped at a 260 VBR, the track still sounds pretty bad. This isn't mastered for quality, not for acute listening environments, but shitty car stereo systems. The girls with big hair and the guys who are waiting for mullets to come back will be banging the dashboard and Nickelback will be counting the dough while you sit there with your sinking portfolio, bitching.This ain't that different from Def Leppard's breakthrough, "Pyromania". Rick Rubin might get all the press, but the real record producer, the giant in stature not size, is Robert John "Mutt" Lange.He cut his teeth doing soundalikes in his native South Africa. He can write every song on your album and sing it too. He's the ultimate hands-on operator. Which Rick Rubin's clients might not need, but so many do.The more you listen, the more the flourishes reveal themselves. What's that distant, crying sound in the intro? Like a guitar played over the hills and not quite so far away? The Cher-like bed to the verse, with Chad singing an actual melody. The disco-like drums and then the way everything drops out and you're ASSAULTED when everything comes back in. This is the sound that sold in excess of 100 million albums. It's Mutt's signature. Credible rock/country with a poppy sheen laid on top. If Chad weren't straining his vocal cords and you got a nineteen year old babe to sweetly vocalize it would sound exactly like PURE POP FOR NOW PEOPLE!Actually, just like all those profiteers covered and sold covers of Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" on iTunes popsters should IMMEDIATELY cover "Gotta Be Somebody". It would be much better with even...Avril Lavigne covering it. Better yet, SHANIA TWAIN!Shania's done. Hate to say it, but Mutt had the talent.Don't evaluate this musically, but as a business proposition. And you care about business, otherwise you wouldn't be ranking out all the big Top Forty hits. Mutt and Nickelback have threaded the needle, made the perfect song for TODAY! And I'll bet the album is loaded with tons more. So, while everybody on TMZ and Perez can barely go platinum, this album will sell and sell and sell. [all sic]