As if convincing countless innocents to spend nights crushed into dilapidated warehouses, waving glowsticks and bouncing along to the same monotonous groove wasn’t bad enough, ecstasy also taught a generation of dance-music auteurs that songwriting was as easy as looping a beat, then taking a nap.
4. Neverland Ranch
It’s not as though everything was hunky-dory for MJ before he moved here. But somehow, the star’s retreat into a llama-stocked, Ferris-wheel-equipped, 2,600-acre Southern California funny farm in 1988 didn’t help his psyche. Wacko Jacko may since have emerged from his rustic Xanadu — dangling a baby off a balcony here, facing child-molestation charges there — and moved to Bahrain, but the great pop star he used to be has been lost forever in this multimillion-dollar shrine to childhood.
3. “The Star-spangled banner”
Here’s an idea: Let’s have the theme song for the world’s biggest and most diverse democracy be: 1) boring; 2) violently militaristic; and 3) next to impossible to sing. Not enough? OK, now let’s bring in Roseanne Barr to perform. She’s too busy? Get me William Hung!
2. Suge Knight
Here’s some advice: If Suge Knight offers to bail you out of jail, wait for a better offer. After doing this for Tupac Shakur, the bullying head of Death Row records molded a talented 24-year-old rapper into a doomed gangsta cartoon, fanned a preposterous coastal rap feud (fuck the Bering Strait, too, while we’re at it!) and steered his young star on a confrontational course that ended in a bullet-riddled BMW 750. Whether or not Biggie Smalls’s subsequent murder was related, Knight drafted a tragedy hip-hop never got over.
1. Kids Today!
Back in our day, we didn’t have any of yer fancy iPods and ringtones and downloads. We didn’t have the luxury and convenience of your scrotum-rings and your World Wide Web logs. When we wanted to steal the new Uriah Heep album, we couldn’t just troll the Internets for it, we had to do it the old-fashioned way — by hiking to the store (uphill, both ways) and shoving 12” of vinyl under our sweaters (which we had to knit ourselves). That’s why you sniveling whipper-snappers don’t appreciate the real value of music. Or Uriah Heep. Now get the hell off our lawn!