Songs That Trash the Critics
by Dan Weiss | November 21, 2013
Surprise: Musicians hate having their art scrutinized! But the artist-critic relationship has produced some great and often hilarious art in itself. Legend Robert Christgau has been ritually slaughtered by both Lou Reed (in a live, monologue-filled "Walk on the Wild Side" that wondered aloud if the critic is a toe fetishist) and Sonic Youth (whose early '80s "Kill Your Idols" is the cleaner version of a nastier call for his assassination that mentioned him by name). One of Guns N' Roses' most fun songs, "Get in the Ring," could've been a whiny slog, but it's such a rousing barnburner that by the time Axl starts listing enemy staffers from Hit Parader by name, you almost want to side with him. Likewise, The Academy Is… could've drowned in their own complaints on the anti-press "Black Mamba" if the hook weren't so great that it even held up in remix form on the Snakes on a Plane soundtrack. Oingo Boingo's "Imposter" was uncalled-for meanness at its most fun, with bizarre key changes and tempos that bring to mind a proto-Dismemberment Plan built with Devo's parts. Ludacris' winking Bill O'Reilly disses "Blow It Out" and "Hoe's in My Room," along with Jay-Z's Rick Rubin-produced classic "99 Problems" -- which attacks people who "wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight" -- are rap at its sardonic finest. And back when rockcrit was as new as rock itself, Lynyrd Skynyrd ("Don't Ask Me No Questions") and Dr. Hook ("Cover of the Rolling Stone") tried to make sense of it with humorous results. Enjoy this playlist of artists turning the tables on the music press.