Last night I witnessed one of the wrongest (I know it’s not a real word) things I’ve seen since Cartman giving Ben Affleck a hand-job in an episode of South Park. The sight of former Smiths guitar-slinger Johnny Marr getting down with “the kids” alongside his new band mates The Cribs was both surreal and harrowing.
Now, I’m no fan of The Smiths (pseudo-intellectualism and average tunes) but to see a man who was half of one of the most celebrated writing partnerships in modern music slumming it with a second tier indie band just didn’t sit right. Where once he had Morrissey’s poetry he now shares the boards with a band who finish 85% of the choruses with “uh oh oh oh”, where The Smiths dictated fashion for students throughout their 80s, The Cribs have haircuts that make them look slightly retarded.
I’ve never really had anything against The Cribs – some nice enough tunes and they did rope in Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo for their last album (plus points for anyone), but last night the sight of Marr hip-shaking it through their hour and a half set made me view them with less complementary eyes. When lead singer Ryan Jarman started slating indie-runts The View all I could think was – you pretty much sound the same but with more feedback. When he chastised the security for throwing out a stage invading fan I was left feeling that they really should have stopped playing the moment he got kicked out and refused to go on until he was let back in, not waited two songs to have a word. Better still he should have done a Kurt Cobain and actually started wrestling with them. Later on, the band did manage to get some fans onstage which has been reported in the press today as some punk rock statement but I couldn’t help but think that it was too little too late – and it all felt a little safe. Even the brilliant ‘Hey Scenesters!’ made me proclaim “oh, the irony”.
So it got me thinking – can misjudged collaborations affect your respect/love/mild-liking for a band? The answer is obviously yes but what are the worst examples?
Here are my top 5 worst team-ups ever:
1. Jimmy Page and Leona Lewis performing ‘Whole Lotta Love’ at the Beijing Olympics – guitarist in possibly the greatest heavy rock band of all time, meets charisma-free Cowell protégée. Only matched for horrendousness by the sight of David Beckham kicking a ball from a double decker bus.
2. Beth Ditto and Mika performing ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’ at The Brits – From credible art-rocker to corporate whore in less than 3 minutes just by stepping on stage with one of the most annoying pop stars of the last 50 years. Expect a slating in the NME for the next album….and hopefully an end to Mika’s career (fingers crossed)
3. Mick Jagger and David Bowie ‘Dancing In The Streets’ – two icons of British music miss the mark entirely with this Martha and the Vandellas cover and what the fuck where they wearing in the video? I know it was the 80s but Bowie looks like a flasher and Jagger….words fail me – this man sang ‘Gimme Shelter’ possibly the most jaw-droppingly awesome song of all time, I feel violated.
4. Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman – Somethin’ Stupid – not affecting my appreciation of a musician as I will always loathe Williams with every fibre of my body but Kidman is a brilliant actress and the way she slated Tom Cruise’s height after their divorce was priceless. Why she would want to sully her good name by teaming up with the ‘fat-dancer’ from Take That is beyond me.
5. Akon and Eminem – Smack That – the world’s greatest White Rapper helps out the human-chipmunk and pretty much obliterates all the credibility he’d built up. Lame rhymes and that annoying voice come together in probably raps worst collaboration ever.