Brian Tests His Music Snobbery … Fails?

Rolling Stone is known for a lot of things. The name, for many reasons, is inextricably tied to rock and roll. It’s the premier rock magazine in the country. If the cover photo isn’t of Bob Dylan, it’s probably of Bruce Springsteen. They like Green Day way too much.
As easy and fun it is to make fun of the magazine, they really do know their stuff. On, there’s a new quiz for those who dare to take it. “The Almost-Impossible Rock & Roll Quiz” is pretty much what it sets out to be. It’s probably the only time that having an obsession with Fleetwood Mac and the robot-film Short Circuit came in handy. It was also one of the few times I felt like a musical ignoramus.
Which of Jerry Garcia’s fingers is severed? See I thought I knew this one too. It would have to be his right hand so he could still maneuver the fret board. He’d need the index, middle and ring on the right for bluegrassing too. Right pinkie seemed so logical. I could even picture my token Deadhead friend from high school telling me all about it. But no, those Rolling Stoners got me; it was the right middle finger.
Even my pop music expertise was challenged. What was the only Britney Spears song that went #1 on U.S. charts? No, it wasn’t the debut “… Baby One More Time,” but the song that featured a memorable skin-tight red onesie, “Oops! … I Did It Again.”
After completing the hardest test I’ve taken since that integrative biology final freshman year, I earned the title of “whiz.” The pop up window suggested I read my liner notes over one more time; I shook my fist at the screen. Only getting 30 right, I still have a lot to learn. But really, how was I supposed to know Neil Young played the guitar solo on The Monkee’s song “Tear Drop City”?
I’m not discouraged, though. Any publication that gives Kid Rock’s new album a better review than Beirut’s isn’t that smart. They also really liked the new Band of Horses, and that’s nothing special; a step above Kid Rock, sure, but come on.
I remember sitting in the undergrad library freshman year and picking up a Rolling Stone. Remember when there magazines and books in the UGL? It was a best albums of the year issue. I thumbed through and saw Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens. The write up said that Stevens took a break from the state-themed albums to make this. That’s just totally incorrect; it was a reissue of an older album. That’s when I began to hate the front runner of music journalism.
I say hate in the way that you hate an older sibling or a really big dog, though. You don’t actually hate your brother or that slobbering black lab, you just don’t see eye to eye with it. You have to admire/fear it for what it does, and look to it when you need something, but there is that bit of conflict. Rolling Stone is overly commercial and puts U2 on its cover, but they know their stuff … its just sometimes it’s stuff that no one should give a shit about. Did you know Metallica’s album Kill ‘Em All was originally entitled Metal Up Your Ass?

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