Friday, July 29, 2011

Journey Sucks

Yes, there's a "Journey" bump out there in the popular media. How delightful. I am not on board.

There are a lot of factors that go into why a song is used on television or in the movies. Would you believe that one of the biggest factors is the ease with which a producer can get the rights and get the song added to a production within the budget of that production?

I mean, let's face it. You can probably get George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone" without too much fuss as long as you pay the fee for the song. Now, go out and get "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison and see if it's just as easy (you will have to negotiate with his estate and his publishers, I would imagine) and you will probably have to pay a little more. It's not a question of which is the better song (My Sweet Lord is, of course, the better song but it isn't as popular because it hasn't appeared on anywhere near as many television shows or in a bunch of movies. See how that works?). Quality is not affected by anything like sales or how many proms featured Journey songs or George Thorogood songs (there are no proms where George Harrison's solo recordings are featured). 

So, judging something based on how many times it has appeared on TV or in the movies is ludicrous. George Thorogood does not suck at all, by the way. Journey sucks, of course.

But, let me go over a few things. Ease of access is a huge factor. It's extremely easy to get Thorogood's song, and I suspect that it is just as easy to get a song by Journey. I think that this ease of access explains a great deal. And it most certainly has nothing to do with quality. Nor does it have much to do with sales. The album from which "Bad to the Bone" originated was certified gold, meaning it sold at least 500,000 copies. What might surprise you though is that the single for My Sweet Lord sold over a million copies. That doesn't include sales of Harrison's sprawling three-record set All Things Must Pass. 

Now, was that because it was a great song? (It is). Was it because it was one of the first singles to appear after the breakup of the Beatles in 1970? (Yes, more than likely). But it could also be called a great song. A recording of great merit and quality.

Anything by Journey in that category? No. The entirety of Journey's musical catalog can be piled on one side, and George Harrison's My Sweet Lord can be placed on the other and these two things would not be equal. My Sweet Lord is, in and of itself, better than everything Journey ever did (no fair subtracting Raised on Radio in order to give Journey an edge, by the way).  

Journey sucks. See headline.

So, what difference does it make if Journey songs appear in movies and if My Sweet Lord doesn't appear in as many? None at all. Lots of people have done versions of My Sweet Lord and that doesn't factor into the discussion either. Just because everybody and their brother has done a version of it doesn't change the fact that the song is great. period.

Stolen? Yeah, maybe. I'm not aware of anyone accusing Journey of stealing one of their songs. My Sweet Lord was probably lifted from someone else's work. Does that matter? No.

It's not as easy as it looks. But, perhaps--just perhaps--Journey makes it easier than many other artists to approve of the use of their music. If that's the case, does that make them popular? Better? No, it means that, in order to make money, they have made it easy for people to use their crappy songs. That's all it means.

Why? Because Journey sucks. They sucked thirty years ago and they suck now. And whether or not their music appears on television or in movies does not have any mitigating effect on the inherent suckitude of Journey, which is permanent and unaffected by the approval of the masses.

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