“I Don’t Think Sinead O’Connor Belongs in the RRHOF but I Still Might Not Be an A**hole”

We’ve come around again to what’s typically a pretty painful endeavor, the nomination enlistments for the annual rock and roll hall of fame induction. I don’t have anything against the rock hall existing, mind you, as some people do, and I don’t even think hip-hop should be disallowed, either, for that matter. If I know musicians, all of the really vital ones are fans of all genres of music, provided they issue bona fide, genuine motifs and touch people’s lives. 2023, anyway, was kind of a nadir of non-songwriting, aesthetically oriented pop stars crashing the party, a la Cyndi Lauper, Missy Elliott and even Sheryl Crow, who admittedly seems a little more wholesome in her cultural quests, in general. 

In light of all this, it didn’t really come as too much of a surprise to me to see Sinead O’Connor on the ballot this year. Similar to the aforementioned “artists,” if a term may be used loosely, O’Connor’s most famous song was written by someone other than herself. Now, short of getting into an argument about semantics of the hall, in particular, I would actually, on a broader scale, opine that this negates her status as a “rock and roll artist,” to begin with. The procurement of a song written by someone else and propagation thereof in one’s own name is a decidedly pop-oriented maneuver, in other words. In vastly disparate functioning, a rock and roll song, while perhaps just being credited to one tyrannical lead singer, in some cases (ahem, Kurt Cobain), is typically the result of jamming, of grooves, of production, and of any number of genre-related elements which would be foreign territory to the average pop singer. 

And certainly, I think, we want for the rock and roll hall of fame to embody the ideal of an original. This is important to me, anyway, for obvious reasons. Another note I’d like to mention is that I happen to enjoy the late Mrs. O’Connor’s original creations pretty well — they’re typically these slow, lugubrious, defiantly genuine numbers which stretch out within time and seem to make no attempt to mimic or to pander to commercial interests. But, let’s face it: almost nobody can name a single song O’Connor wrote. The “pop” element of song transactions and fame spawned by cover versions debases the spirit of the rock and roll hall of fame. If we can’t induct anyone in within a given year, who cares? Even coming up empty-handed for a whole year would be better than confusing art with celebrity culture. But, judging by the fact that Oasis still isn’t in (a fact I found astounding and didn’t even know until I just saw the listings), and certainly Jethro Tull, to say nothing of Jimmy Eat World, Cage the Elephant, Cat Power and Sharon Van Etten, I don’t think we’re in any danger of the well running dry anytime soon. 


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