Here’s just a partial list of rock musicians who appeared during the golden age of Saturday Night Live: Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Jerry Garcia.
That's a pretty impressive list.
But that was then and this is now, so let’s take a look at which musicians have performed on the first three SNL shows of 2010: Katy Perry, Kanye West, and Bruno Mars.
Now that’s some cutting-edge stuff, wouldn’t you say?
Let’s begin with Katy Perry. Now this is not rock music by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s OK, because there’s always room for a little pop music.
But here’s the weird thing that is just bugging the crap out of me: She appears on SNL, which is such a quintessentially New York show. Everything about the show just oozes New York—the opening credits, the house band, the attitude. Even the musicians’ stage on SNL is a mini-version of Grand Central Station.
So, what does Katy sing? Her massive annoying hit, “California Gurls.” It’s tolerable as a piece of studio-produced pop confection on the radio, but performed live it’s just shallow and embarrassing, and the song was exposed for the piece of innocuous fluff that it is. What’s more, if she had any integrity, she should send half the profits from this song to Brian Wilson for ripping off his title.
But if it’s not bad enough that she’s singing such an mediocre song on SNL, at the end of the song, while she’s repeating, “California/California Gurls,” she finishes by yelling out “West Coast!” and triumphantly holding her fingers like a “W.”
Now why would she do that in front of a New York audience? Is she really so clueless that she expects that audience to enthusiastically cheer a shout-out to California? I don’t get it.
The next episode of SNL featured Kanye West. For his number, the stage was transformed into an all-white background with a bunch of attractive ladies vacantly swirling around him.
I would comment on his lyrics, except for the fact that I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL HE WAS SAYING. That’s right, “saying,” because Kanye doesn’t really sing, he just kind of talks.
Just last week, SNL featured Bruno Mars. He performed his (pop) hit, “Grenade.” Now take a look at these lyrics:
I’d take a grenade for ya,
Put my head on a blade for ya,
Jump in front of a train for ya,
I would die for ya,
But you won’t do the same.
So here’s my question: DO YOU KNOW ANY GUY WHO THINKS LIKE THAT? Am I missing something here, or should Bruno call a suicide hotline pronto? And I love the fact that the girl won’t do the same for him. She’s no idiot.
The funny part is that he seems so disappointed and hurt that the girl won’t take a grenade for him. By the way, where is Bruno getting these grenades? Oh, I guess it rhymes with blade and train, so that makes sense.
He was also sporting a bright blue suit and a skinny black tie. That’s the same thing I wore to my sixth grade graduation in 1967. As I watched this performance, I thought, “Hey, that’s my suit! I thought they burned all of those!”
…Not to digress or anything, but while we’re on the subject, here’s another song that drives me crazy: “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy. Here are some (annotated) lyrics for your enjoyment:
I want to be a billionaire,
So freakin’ bad…
(Um, who doesn’t?)
Every time I close my eyes,
I see my name in flashing lights,
A different city every night.
(Every night? That sounds like a real pain in the ass.)
I want to be on the cover of
Hanging out with Oprah and the Queen.
(And what are you and Oprah going to talk about, exactly? Dieting? Her love of Maya Angelou?)
Well, this is what happens when you become an old fart and are forced to listen to Top 40 radio with your 12-year-old son.
Back to SNL: They have aired only three shows so far this year, so all hope is not lost. But once they book Justin Bieber, I’m outta here.