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Twattery in Pop: Michael F. Bolton

You are right: Michael Fucking Bolton (as his mother doubtless calls him) is far too easy a target. But that doesn”t mean he shouldn”t be marked out for rank twattery in pop.

For all I know, Bolton is a very nice man. After all, he has given the proceeds of some recording to a children”s charity in Britain. He probably is no Dick Cheney, no matter what his mother calls him (actually, she”d probably call him by his real name, Michael Fucking Bolotin). So I could forgive the chap many things.

And that was a GOOD hair day

And that was a good hair day

I could forgive him his hit How Am I Supposed To Love Without You. It”s not a bad song (not very good either, but not hatefully bad), and his vocal performance on it is not infinitely objectionable, if one is willing to pardon the “soulful” overemoting which comes naturally if one has been exposed to the oeuvre of Patti LaBelle (he once sang with her about the absence of sex in their lives). I can forgive Bolton his mediocre voice, and indeed hold in some regard many singers who have overcome the handicap of even more revolting voices (hello there, Mr Dylan; good morning Mr Waits). Perhaps there is a legitimate market for singers who can successfully emulate the pained groans that emerge from many a toilet occupied by wailing men afflicted with painful constipation.

I could forgive Bolton for working with Kenny G; Mr G seems a perfectly pleasant man who makes music so bland, it would be admirable only as a novelty if he actually were a poodle. I could forgive Bolton for allegedly plagiarising the Isley Brothers” Love Is a Wonderful Thing (unlike the judge in the court case, Tim English in his fine book Sounds Like Teen Spirit reluctantly lets Bolton off the hook). I could even forgive Bolton for that hair, because it happily never gained fashionable ubiquity outside parts of central Europe (and, frankly, to hate somebody on hairstyling grounds alone is just stupid).

What I cannot forgive Michael Fucking Bolton for is his serial rape of other people”s music. I”m down with white MOR artists trying their hand at a little soul music. I won”t necessarily listen to it, but, hey, if you need to do that to express yourself artistically, rock on. But, for the sake of all that is good and holy, don”t fucking release your cut-rate karaoke ejaculations as singles designed for radio airplay! And don”t make albums consisting of sodomised versions of such classics as Reach Out I”ll Be There and Georgia On My Mind, cleverly issued to coincide with the revival of “60s soul two decades ago.

For some impenetrable reason, many people seemed to think that Michael Fucking Bolton had soul, man. That would be true only if one were to rank the jazz stylings of Kenny G on a level with Joe Sample or Joe Zawinul. A studied groan and a calculated scream do not make a soul singer. The obvious question I would pose to those who spend money, time and precious electricity on listening to Bolton”s soul renderings ““ and any album of soul covers ““ is this: why should one listen to pantomine renditions of Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay when Otis Reddings” original is so easily obtainable? The success of Bolton”s soul covers has had a deplorable effect: it lowered the expectation of what soul should sound like “” even among singers who came through the soul tradition. For that you may thank the idiots who awarded Bolton a Grammy for his stool-wrenching cover of When A Man Loves A Woman.

Having stained soul music with his vocal spunk, Bolton turned his malfeasant application to opera. Really. Bolton”s talents may be charitably described as being open to dispute, but nobody can disclaim his cunning knack for spotting a bandwagon. So it was at the height of the Pavarotti and Three Tenors hype that Michael Fucking Bolton recorded an album of opera tunes, with Nessun Dorma as the showpiece, naturally. Because the world would rather have pavarotten Bolton sing Nessun Dorma than Pavarotti. How much more can an ego be inflated before it bursts, pouring forth an erupting volcano”s worth of self-regarding miasma?

opera_singing_twatTouchingly, Bolton gushed about his epic opus: “I hope you will feel the rapture of this classic, timeless music created for all of us to enjoy [even when you sing it, fuckface?]. And I hope you will join me in sharing what has become “” and remained until now “” my secret love, my secret passion.” I share his now no longer concealed passion, but that does not incite me to broadcast to the world my aggressively tuneless bathroom antics involving the subject matter of Spanish hairdressers and weeping clowns.

More recently, Bolton decided that the world does not really need Frank Sinatra when it can have Michael Fucking Bolton. So he recorded an album of standards which Sinatra once sang. And he called it Bolton Swings Sinatra. If I had the fortitude to listen to it, I might propose that it be retitled Bolton Swings A Dead Horse. Or Bolton Swings From A Ceiling Fan As He Lubelessly Defiles Sinatra. There are 200,000 people in the United States who bought that album. If after the electoral triumph of George W Bush in 2004 and the grotesquery of Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin in 2008 there still exists any doubt about the compulsory disenfranchisement of stupid people, Michael Fucking Bolton has provided us with a most persuasive argument. And for that service to mankind, we ought to thank him.

Some songs raped by Michael Fucking Bolton:
Bill Withers – Lean On Me (live).mp3*
Dobie Gray – Drift Away.mp3
Ann Peebles – I Can”t Stand The Rain.mp3
Al Green – Let’s Stay Together.mp3
Luciano Pavarotti – Nessun Dorma.mp3

* From the great Save The Children concert recorded in 1972. Hear how Withers mis-hits the first note!

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  1. fulltext
    June 9th, 2009 at 08:44 | #1

    You kind of don’t like him, huh?

    lol that was such a great spewing forth of vitriole. I’m glad someone else holds that douchebag in utter disdain.

    Who did he have to blow to get a recording contract anyway? I understand some of those mob-connected guys at Sony like that sort of thing.

    Good job!

  2. June 9th, 2009 at 09:41 | #2

    Thanks, those are nice tracks.

    I had no idea Michael Bolton covered them, as I don’t recall every having heard him sing (perhaps in a supermarket one time, who can tell). In fact, I didn’t realise that was his thing.

    The only Kenny G I know is the 20 seconds or so that plays on the Pixar ‘Cars’ soundtrack. That 20 seconds worth I actually like!

  3. jb
    June 9th, 2009 at 14:13 | #3

    On Judgment Day, those of us who programmed adult contemporary radio stations in the early 90s will have to answer for Michael Bolton. Sucktastic though they were, his records were staggeringly popular amongst the thirtysomething females of the day and we had little choice but to play them. Over and over and over.

    And since the opera record didn’t cause them, Judgment Day and the Endtimes must be arriving after Bolton makes a hip-hop album.

  4. secondroad
    June 9th, 2009 at 14:22 | #4

    Michael Bolton, the “Pat Boone” of soul music.

  5. KathyR
    June 9th, 2009 at 15:45 | #5

    If you haven’t seen it, you really must read Pat Metheny on why Kenny G sucks: http://www.fanpop.com/external/3220

    He does suck. Verily.

  6. June 9th, 2009 at 15:51 | #6

    I have no doubt that Kenny G sucks. I have no urge explore beyond that 20 seconds.

    But according to Pat Metheny? Excuse me, he sucks just as bad! And I actually like him – but in an embarrassed ‘I-know-he-sucks-but’ kind of way.

    Sorry, it just makes me laugh. It’s like Donny Osmond criticising Kylie Minogue.

  7. June 9th, 2009 at 16:45 | #7

    Oh yes. Oh yes.

    Who was it who said, Bring Me Michael Bolton’s Head On A Stake?

    Hicks or Leary… I can’t recall.

    But yes.

  8. June 9th, 2009 at 17:52 | #8

    That Metheny essay is great. It takes a while, but once he lets rip, he truly does.

  9. June 9th, 2009 at 19:17 | #9

    Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh!

  10. KathyR
    June 9th, 2009 at 21:06 | #10

    Halfheart: Yeah. It’s as if he just gets more and more sputteringly angry until he can’t contain it any longer.

  11. June 9th, 2009 at 21:28 | #11

    You’ve said it, dude! Anymore ‘victims’ around?

  12. Ric
    June 9th, 2009 at 22:39 | #12

    Best fucking rant I’ve read in ages. Amen!

  13. Sheila
    June 10th, 2009 at 01:18 | #13

    Thank you! This was long overdue and very well done. I can forgive people for a lot of things but I will never, never forgive Michael Fucking Bolton for releasing an album of his version of opera. What he did to Nessun Dorma was…was…there are no words. And the biggest problem is thanks to him we have Paul Potts, Josh Groban, Il Divo and the many, many more who think they can sing. It’s like Blink 182 or Simple Plan thinking they can play Mozart. As my mother used to say, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Noel Gallagher once called Phil Collins the Anti-Christ but I think it’s really Michael F. Bolton.

  14. June 10th, 2009 at 03:15 | #14

    One thing I remember from that awful time MFB was on the radio, was the comment “I prefer the original” so maybe Percy got a boost out of it.
    These days I cannot understand the interest in the actress Joss Stone who plays a “blues” singer on CD’s. Maybe its Bolton’s mamagement behind her?

  15. Elvis
    June 10th, 2009 at 20:43 | #15

    Dude, Why did you delete all the music websites links?

  16. June 11th, 2009 at 13:42 | #16

    Problem fixed, with a couple of new links added: Darryl Cunningham Investigates (under “Stuff”) and the exquisite Old Weird America.

  17. Dane
    June 11th, 2009 at 18:57 | #17

    Ok, so I was roaring with laughter for most of this beautifully invective-filled, bilious ragefest (richly earned by Michael Fucking Bolton) until I got to the part where he’s apparently assraping angels with his “music” now.

    Sinatra? Really? One can only hope he’s offended some still very spry old school mobsters with that CD.

  18. June 13th, 2009 at 23:38 | #18

    Hilarious!

  19. Richard
    June 14th, 2009 at 01:20 | #19

    Good work HHD, I loved reading it. Unfortunately it’s not just in music but in every line of work that useless twats get away with it. I suppose they need a modicum of talent to pull it off, but most people with any taste wouldn’t have the gall to try it. I wonder if he actually thinks he’s gifted? Whatever he thinks he’s crying or laughing to the bank, as Liberace said, and I envy him that.

    Cheers.

  20. Dan
    June 23rd, 2009 at 17:08 | #20

    15 or so years ago I was doing stand-up and opened for Chris Rock in Connecticut and M. Bolton was in the audience. Afterwards I spoke to him briefly and he was very nice.
    Chris Rock was also very nice.

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