There's no end of lameness in music news this week, but here are a few of the highlights.
Def Leppard for babies
NME reports that Def Leppard will soon release an album of their greatest hits re-recorded in a "softened style." The idea is that parents will use these tracks as lullabies, gently soothing their drowsy babes with "Pour Some Sugar on Me," "Bringin' on the Heartbreak," and, weirdly, "Stand Up (Kick Love into Motion)."
LAMENESS | Not just for kids — Baby Lep is lame enough to depress anyone into unconsciousness.
MITIGATING FACTOR | I'm pretty confident that nobody old enough to give a shit about Def Leppard is still fertile.
John Squire's celebrity abstractions
John Squire may be one of the great lost guitar geniuses of our time, but it's always been tough to stay mad at him for quitting music — everything he's recorded post–Stone Roses has sucked at least a little, whereas his career as a visual artist has remained fairly legit. However, it's impossible to read the press release about his upcoming gallery exhibition without your brain's most basic processes kicking in and forcing your hand to execute the classic "jerky-offy" gesture:
"Using patterns and symbols inspired by the ancient and mythical eight-pointed star, John Squire has created a series of abstract artworks as reinterpretations of famous and recognisable subjects" — which include Keira Knightley, Woody Allen, David Beckham, and serial killer Harold Shipman. "For traditional Islamic artists, this focus on pattern and geometry was a method of avoiding all forms of idol worship — since depictions of Allah and Mohammed are strictly forbidden in the Islamic faith." Says Squire himself, "I applied this concept to the gods chosen by modern Western culture."
LAMENESS | Pretty severe, but this isn't really much more pretentious than some of his later guitar solos.
MITIGATING FACTORS | The paintings look pretty cool. Woody Allen looks like a crumbling Moroccan wall, and Harold Shipman looks also sort of like a crumbling Moroccan wall. Keira Knightley looks less like a crumbling Moroccan wall. Also, slight chance that Squire's just fucking with us, because, seriously?
Cee-Lo thanks volunteer firefighters to the tune of "Fuck You"
Buddy Bolden's classic ragtime jam "Funky Butt" was so scandalous in its time that even the melody came to be considered offensive — you could catch heat just for whistling it in public. Now, in the same way that Bolden forever put a tune to the funk of a butt, Cee-Lo has masterfully tied a tune to the words "fuck you." If you ever wanted to say "fuck you" to someone without using words or off-color gestures, you've been given a viable alternative.
Here's the sticky part: Cee-Lo has teamed up with Duracell (lame) to create a tribute track for volunteer firefighters (not lame) sung to the tune of "Fuck You." (Lame?)
The words have been changed to be less hostile: "For a lifetime of service in the name of love, we wanna thank you." But doesn't a "thank you" sung to the well-known tune of a "fuck you" come off a little dissonant? If you sing it with the new words, it sounds sweet. If you hum the tune to a firefighter as he's carrying you out of your burning house, you'd better hope he's heard the new version.