A few days ago, web lady extraordinaire Cathy Resmer sent me a link to a feature by the Boston Phoenix in which they weighed in on the best musical acts in each of the fifty states.
Here is me weighing in on the feature: It blows.
I didn't read each state's wins. But I did read those of the four states I have lived in. And of course, I paid particular attention to the choices from our great state of Vermont.
And so without further ado, here they are:
All-Time Best Band: Phish
All-Time Best Solo Artist: Rudy Vallee
Best New Act: Yvel
Let's break this down one category at a time, shall we?
Ok. Phish. We've discussed this before. And while I'm not a Phish fan myself, I get it. They were huge, and they came out of Vermont. If notoriety is what makes them best, then yes, they are the best. Job well done, Phoenix.
Rudy Vallee, on the other hand . . . are you freaking kidding me? I have nothing against Rudy Vallee as an artist. I would even go as far as to say that I admire his work, and have an appreciation for his influence in early to mid century music.
All that said, dude's not a Vermonter.
Ok, yes, he was born in Island Pond. But he spent all of his formative years in Westbrook, Maine. And his music career? That took place in New York. I mean, I guess if he was schooled in Vermont and then moved to New York I would kind of get it, but the guy's birth is literally the only thing connecting him to our state. He's even buried in Westbrook, proving that "home" to him was always Maine.
Phoenix, are you suggesting we've had no notable solo artists in residence?
Best New Act: Yvel. See above? I get that some people move away to make it big. And I get that this guy is good and hey, he came out of Vermont! But, Phoenix, COME ON. You are within four hours of Burlington, and two of the Vermont border. You seriously couldn't find someone who lives IN STATE and is talented? It's insulting.
You know that part in "Wedding Crashers" when the dick-head fiance yells, "CRABCAKES AND FOOTBALL! THAT'S WHAT MARYLAND DOES!"
Well . . . isn't art (i.e. music) what Vermont does? Or at least what Burlington does?
I went to Maine over the weekend and ran into Chris Gray who writes a column for the Portland Phoenix. I immediately asked him what was up with this feature. And also what motivated a Boston paper to assume responsibility for naming the best music acts in 49 states in which the paper is not distributed.
"Bridget, do you have any idea how much web traffic that feature drives to the site?"
Ooooooh. You mean like the additional traffic I just sent them by linking to it in my blog? Got it. Chris went on.
"Have you seen the thing they do where they name the 100 Unsexiest Men? The content is nauseating. But everyone reads it."
Yeah. I have seen that thing. Because blogs as big as VH1's Best Week Ever link to it. I was just too naive to realize that the main point was to drive people to their site.
I guess I shouldn't waste any more time being put off by the poor choices assigned by the Phoenix, all in the name of web traffic... but I still am.
After all, MAPLE SYRUP AND ART! THAT'S WHAT VERMONT DOES!