Monday is Yom Kippur, one of the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar, a day when Jews around the world atone for the sins of the past year by fasting, abstaining from sex and driving (not necessarily together), and avoiding leather shoes. While I will not be spending any time at temple myself, I would like to designate Monday a day of musical reckoning. On this solemn occasion, let us take to task those artists who have committed various offenses against the gods of rock.
In Jewish culture, kaparot is an ancient (and controversial) custom performed the day before Yom Kippur in which a sinner waves a hapless white chicken over his or her head three times while reciting a prayer that basically says, "Chicken, you're my sin repository. You're going to die so I can go home and be happy and watch Seinfeld." It should be noted that most Jews today do NOT slaughter chickens and have substituted money wrapped in a white napkin for the poor chicken.
As you might expect, animal rights activists are less than pleased about the chicken slaughter, and the ceremony has become rather controversial. However, kaparot is no more controversial than the ways in which the following bands and artists have sinned against our eyes and ears. Behold, those fallen from grace. May they be forced to wave chickens above their heads for such offenses as these:
1. Inexplicable Album Art
(Brooke Hogan, The Redemption )
Even waving a chicken above her head isn't going to redeem Brooke for this one. Then again, I think her soul has already been airbrushed away, anyway.
(U2, No Line on the Horizon )
Perhaps this should read "No hope for the future of this band on the horizon." Sorry, U2. You will always hold a small horcrux of my soul, but this album cover looks like your music sounds these days.
(Neil Young, Fork in the Road )
He may be one of the patriarchs of rock 'n roll, but here he just looks like someone's crazy uncle who escaped from basement lockup during a party.
(Fischerspooner, Entertainment )
Are you not entertained? Casey Spooner dons a 1920's straw boater and wires it into some sort of electronic man magnet.
(Empire of the Sun, Walking on a Dream )
Please don't tread on their Siegfried-and-Roy-inspired dreams. If this album cover doesn't glow in the dark, it should.
2. Song Mauling
Confide takes you to "Such Great Heights" in their Postal Service cover. It all goes horribly wrong around the 40-second mark.
Please, don't confide in us. Tell it to the chicken.
3. Ear Spamming
- Snow Patrol. Every time a Snow Patrol album is released, a television soundtrack producer gets her wings.
- The Fray. It sounds like Isaac Slade is eating the chicken alive, and he can't quite swallow it, and it hurts—those big chickeny talons hurt! (This band also contributes to the wing-getting of television soundtrack producers.)
- Dan Black. Huh? Black presents the world with "HYPNTZ," a musical marriage of Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize" and Rihanna's "Umbrella." (File also under "Song Mauling.")
- Queen Ifrica. And the award for most uncomfortable song/video goes to...
(All chickens forced to bear the brunt of any musical transgressions have been released into the care of mandolin-playing organic farmers who only play in the privacy of their own living rooms, would never sin against the musical powers that be by creating bad album art or releasing sub-par song covers on YouTube, and appreciate fresh eggs.)