Thursday, March 13, 2008

Top Ten Artists Suffering The Lindsey Buckingham Paradox

Fifteen minutes ago, I was explaining the Lindsey Buckingham Paradox to Malav.

Malav, like most people, furrowed his brow and asked what, exactly, this paradox might be.

The Lindsey Buckingham Paradox is what happens when otherwise brilliant musicians decide they're better than their bandmates (creative differences, natch), strike out on their own with solo "careers", and somewhat curiously never again manage to grasp his or her own genius in the way we all know is possible.

Lindsey is a goddamned genius. He strives for constant musical evolution, always pushing the creative envelope, and is unto himself an origination point on the great conceptual flowchart of musical evolution in the last 40 years. But, solo? Mania. I mean, oh dear god, concept albums. He's a one-man Plastic Ono Band, all by himself.

It is when Lindsey Buckingham's lunatic genius is tempered by Stevie Nicks (and even Christine McVie) that the magic happens, because the whole of Fleetwood Mac is so much greater than the sum of its parts.

Once this is explained, people grok the Paradox immediately and offer up their own suggestions for musicians who suffer from the same.

After numerous discussions with numerous people over the years, I thought to start making lists of artists with a terminal case of the LBP. Lindsey, of course, goes without mentioning, as he is the namesake. There are many many more, these are just today's starting point.

Today's Top Ten Artists Suffering The Lindsey Buckingham Paradox:

#10 Steve Perry (Journey)
Oh Sherry notwithstanding, just... what? Diva, untamed.

#9 Glenn Frey (The Eagles)
Where, oh where, has our Desperado gone?

#8 Tim Finn (Crowded House, or even Split Enz)
Crowded House undoubtedly achieved its great(er) success after Tim left the band, and while they were never the same, Tim... didn't. And wasn't. While Tim's brother Neil is a creative genius in his own right, somewhere in the collaboration? That's where the miracles live.

#7 Art Garfunkel (Simon & Garfunkel)
The haunting magic that Art brought to Paul Simon's artful mastery was like the unexplained awesometasticness that bursts out of, say, dipping french fries in chocolate milkshakes. There's no reason that these two things should be any good together, but they ARE. Unlike this example, however, both of those ingredients are better on their own. Not so with Mr. Garfunkel.

#6 Peter Cetera (Chicago)
Sorry, Matt. I know you're going to drive to South Carolina expressly to poke me with a very sharp stick over this one, but, man. I know even you will agree with me when I say: If You Leave Me Now? The apex. There was nowhere Cetera could go but down, down, Karate Kid down.

#5 Dennis DeYoung (Styx)
Remember when Styx was groundbreaking? Then remember how Dennis DeYoung put on the +20 Perm of Suck and went all concept album on our collective asses? Yeah. Me too.

#4 Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
Say you want a revolution? Well, you know.

#3 Jon Anderson (Yes)
The mere existence of that Jon Anderson lyrics generator is enough said.

#2 Sting (The Police)
Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers brought their own special flavors to the Police party, and without them, Sting is just a big bowl of goddamned puffy cheetos. Like Bono, maybe, without the passion or, you know, cred.

#1 Billy Corgan (The Smashing Pumpkins)
"My band is a bunch of mean-spirited drug addicts! H8erade! Solo Career! Wait, oh noes, where'd my career GO? Come back! I'll stop being an insufferable diva with a superiority complex, oh my god, I swear, just take me baaaaaack (wah)".

There are many (many) more, of course. Who do you think suffers from the Lindsey Buckingham Paradox? Let me know in the comments.