Grading the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2014
5) KISS - GRADE: D
I expect the Kiss Army to burn crosses on my lawn for dissing this band. In fact, I've even drawn outlines for those crosses, so they don't touch off the house. Yes, there are a couple of Kiss songs I like. Yes, the band has sold so many records and so much product that its GNP just surpassed that of Trinidad-Tobago. But if you love smart, street-level rock & roll (like the New York Dolls), there's no way you don't despise this group of cement heads. Kiss is the starting point for when rock gave up and decided fake was easier than real. The lyrics are dumber than the worst Steven Seagal movie, and Gene Simmons once wrote a whole song about anal sex, which makes my Linda Ronstadt dream seem beatific in comparison. This makes me ill. Again, Kiss Army, follow the outlines when you burn those crosses, and no hard feelings.
6) CAT STEVENS - GRADE: D-
A little lower than Kiss, for the simple reason that at least that band sometimes make you laugh intentionally. Craftsmanship be damned. This guy represents everything I despise about the ickiness and hypocrisy of "soft rock." Where to start? His desecration of Sam Cooke's "Another Saturday Night"? His being spotted wearing a swastika a year after recording "Peace Train"? How does a guy who mewls like a lovesick heifer and plays a nylon-stringed guitar get put in a place devoted to rock & roll? Greater minds than mine have been working on that for years, and have yet to come up with anything.
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