Wednesday, February 13, 2008

No. 366: Mott

Band: Mott the Hoople
Album: Mott
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Boy, I wish I knew.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: Mott the Hoople is, in the grand scheme of things, insignificant. This record is boring and filled with a nasal, awful vocal performance. Ick.
Best song: "Honaloochie Boogie" isn't good, but it is mercifully short.
Worst song: "Ballad of Mott the Hoople (26th March 1972, Zürich)" is just terrible.
Is it awesome?: Nope.

Every band on this list has its ardent supporters. I honestly believe I've met someone who could vociferously sing the praises of any single artist here. Even Barry White and Carole King have their backers.

Even if you don't love an artist, it's hard not to deny the general place in rock histoy of any single artist, for the most part. I'm not a fan of Janis Joplin, but her popularity and mark on music are absolutely undeniable.

But, Mott the Hoople? Mott the goddamned Hoople? Come on.


I think everyone would agree that David Bowie is the pinnacle of glam rock. In addition to setting style trends, Bowie actually experimented a little with characters and sounds. I prefer T. Rex myself, but to deny Bowie's import on the culture and style would be idiotic.

On some level, though, there's a second level of glam. Sweet, Slade and Mott the Hoople fill this second level and I can't stand them. Glam rock has never been known for its musical stylings and most of the bands were folk bands turned electric or standard rock bands stealing Chuck Berry riffs.

In the case of Mott the Hoople, they were basically David Bowie's mentees and released music that sounded eerily like Bowie's. I don't like Bowie, why would I like a Bowie knockoff?

Even worse is that the record is is far too self-referential. The album opener, "All the Way from Memphis," is a song about a guitar player losing his guitar. Also, "Ballad of Mott the Hoople (26th March 1972, Zürich)" is a song entirely devoted to the band's near breakup. Please.

Mott the Hoople isn't very good without David Bowie writing songs for them ("All the Young Dudes" is a classic).


taotechuck said...

I don't understand why this album is on the list. Sure, it's good for what it is, but it possesses nothing that isn't represented by other artists in the same genre.

Given the number of omissions on the list (Fugazi/Minor Threat are the first that come to mind; I was also considering Massive Attack, but they start showing up at 395), I see no reason why Mott the Hoople is even here.

kellydwyer said...

I love this album. I absolutely do. In a lot of ways, I like it better than "All the Young Dudes," though I honestly prefer most of Ian's solo work to Mott. I listened to this album, loudly in fact, two weeks ago -- so this isn't some revisionist history going down.

And, while I haven't taken issue with any of the rankings or "why is this thing amongst anyone's top 500?" thus far in these comments, I can't understand how this is among the top 500.

A four star album for me, but ...