Getting Retarded

This week, I've caught myself taking more than a few bitter glances at Reunion Arena. You might think this has something to do with the political goings-on surrounding Ray Hunt and the possibility of the building crumbling to make room for a parking lot, and I could try to sound city-savvy and say that's it, but I'd be lying.

No, my issue with the Arena is a lot more juvenile, because I'm throwing an internal hissy fit about Friday's Gwen Stefani and Black Eyed Peas concert. In fact, I was prepared to write a big, nasty piece bashing both über-popular acts, but a co-worker took me aside after I pitched the story at a meeting and stared me down: "Why?"

I drew a blank, and when I tried to cover with one of my "well, you know" gestures, he didn't buy it. I realized I had absolutely no good answer in my arsenal, relying solely on the impressions I've taken from both groups in passing glances on MTV and, well, their fame, too. I panicked--had I already become one of those crotchety music critics who can only get his kicks by trashing popular bands while sitting at home alone listening to records by obscure German avant-garde composers (all from their original pressings, of course)?

Twenty-two minutes of research later, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. I can't deny the crotchety part, but after subjecting myself to Love Angel Music Baby and Elephunk, I felt more comfortable declaring Friday's double bill a sign of the Apocalypse, equivalent to recent hurricanes, Bratz toys and Karl Rove.

Stefani has never exactly been a saving grace of dignity in pop music, milking all the money she can out of ska, reggae and pop ballads as lead singer of No Doubt, but LAMB's pseudo-hip style is just too much--it makes Christina Aguilera's ghetto-fab transformation look legit in comparison. Seriously, Miss Prettyface SoCal, do you really expect us to believe that you ponder what it'd be like to "have all the money in the world"? And, no, honey, this isn't your shit. It's Pharrell's.

Meanwhile, the Black Eyed Peas are perhaps the biggest musical embarrassment in America. Guys, you have become the Cuba Gooding Jr. of music. A Best Buy commercial? Tie-ins with EA's The Sims videogame series? Let's not forget the willingness to change that "Let's Get Retarded" song to "Let's Get It Started" so the NBA could play it a million times during last season's playoffs. You guys may as well star in Radio 2 together and portray a token black soul group that cheers white football players on to victory.

Thus, I have to apologize to Dallas, as I have begun supporting the effort to blow up Reunion Arena. In fact, I'm lobbying for explosives to be set on Friday, November 11. Hunt, make it happen.

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sam Machkovech