Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Institute for Truth, Justice, America, Sunshine, and Puppies Presents Michigan vs. Ohio, Round 1: Music

The undisclosed location of ITJASP headquartersMusic uplifts, inspires, commiserates, and comforts. In fact, the ability to create -- and enjoy -- music is one of the supreme marks of our humanity, setting us firmly in a special place above the rest of the animal kingdom. Music has charms to soothe a savage breast. If music be the food of love, play on. Let's face the music and dance. Blah blah blah high-toned introduction blah blah blah.

Anyway, on behalf of the research team from the Institute for Truth, Justice, America, Sunshine, and Puppies (ITJASP), Suds & Soliloquies is proud to present, as part of Ohio State Hate Week, Michigan vs. Ohio, Round 1: Which state is musically more freaking awesome?

Because this segment of the scientific research was the most intensive and involved, and owing to the deep cultural importance of music, we've decided to tally this category by decade in order to get a fuller comparison of where the states stand. Without further ado:


Michigan. Detroit is an important contributor to the development of jazz, while John Lee Hooker singlehandedly re-invents the blues. Across the state, the "Black Eden" of Idlewild plays host to a who's who of soul, gospel, blues, and jazz royalty, from Cab Calloway to Sarah Vaughn to Della Reese.

Ohio. There is no evidence music existed in the primitive mud-towns of Ohio at this time.

Science says: Michigan. Count: 1-0.


Michigan. The Motor City remains at the forefront of cutting-edge music. Detroit native Bill Haley helps invent rock and roll in 1955 with "Rock Around the Clock." R&B legend Jackie Wilson said it was "Reet Petite" (1957) while crying through his "Lonely Teardrops" (1959). Guitarist Jack Scott pioneers the rockabilly sound with "Leroy" (1957). Little Willie John releases "Fever" (1956), made famous by Peggy Lee two years later, and Hank Ballard records "The Twist" (1959), which in 1960 becomes the #1 hit of one-hit Dino trumps everythingwonder Chubby Checker.

Ohio. Dean Martin. Dino. The King of Cool. He was from a border town considered part of the Pittsburgh area, but... still technically Ohio.

Science says: Ohio.
Count: 1-1.


Motown, bitches!Michigan. Detroit grabs the world by the lapels and says, "Motown, bitches!" Where do you begin? Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops... the list goes on. Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels climb the charts with "Jenny Take a Ride!" (1965), "Little Latin Lupe Lu" (1966), and "Devil with a Blue Dress On" (1966).

Ohio. The Isley Brothers find fame with "Shout!" (1962). Rick Derringer and the McCoys record the annoying "Hang On Sloopy" (1965). 1910 Fruitgum Company aka the Ohio Express crap out the turdalicious "Yummy Yummy Yummy" (1968). Some other shitty garage bands exist throughout the state, too, or whatever.

Science says: Michigan. Count: 2-1.


Detroit Rock City!Michigan. Detroit hits its stride as the epicenter of all things rock. Iggy Pop and the MC5 basically invent punk. Alice Cooper invents shock rock and goth all at once. Ted Nugent and Bob Seger own the FM airwaves and Flint's Grand Funk Railroad define the emerging "arena rock" subgenre. George Clinton and P-Funk/Parliament/Funkadelic emerge from the Motor City. Detroit garage band the Rockets also achieve huge regional success but fall just short of the big time.

Ohio. Joe Walsh and the James Gang "Walk Away" (1971). Power-pop band the Raspberries want you to "Go All the Way" (1972). Funksters the Ohio Players do the "Funky Worm" (1973) and, maybe inspired by the "Love Train" (1973) of Canton's O'Jays, ride the "Love Rollercoaster" (1976). Meh.

Science says: Michigan. Count: 3-1.


Bad clothes, but slutty. We like slutty.Michigan. The Romantics get in on the ground floor at MTV with their video for "What I Like About You" (1980); ditto with Dave Edwards and the Look with "We're Gonna Rock" (1981). Former Bay City/Rochester Hills resident and UMich student Madonna Ciccone defines a decade with dance pop hit after dance pop hit, sparking an awful fashion style but encouraging young women to be slutty. The Belleville Three invent techno.

Ohio. I dunno. Devo?* Psychobilly freaks the Cramps have a stopover in Akron on their way from California to New York. Chrissy Hynde from the Pretenders is from Akron, too. Irritating folk lesbian Tracy Chapman begins making ears bleed with her debut in 1988. Ugh.

Science says: Michigan. Count: 4-1.


Michigan. Detroit's Sponge and East Lansing's the Verve Pipe score big with "Plowed" (1994) and "The Freshmen" (1996), respectively. The annual Detroit Electronic Music Festival/Movement/whatever-it's-called-now is established. Rappers Insane Clown Posse shower audiences with Faygo bottles and dope beats, or something.
Over the Rhine: One of the admittedly good things from Ohio
Ohio. Guided by Voices (Dayton), Over the Rhine (Cincinnati), Nine Inch Nails (Cleveland). Kim Deal of the Pixies and the Breeders is from Dayton, and Maynard from Tool is from Ravenna.

Science says: Ohio. Count: 4-2.


I AM A BADASS!Michigan. Kid Rock and Eminem of Detroit popularize white boy rap. Mt. Clemens's Uncle Kracker scores rap-country-whatever hits with "Follow Me," "In a Little While," and a cover of "Drift Away." And Andrew W.K. goes from Ann Arbor to everywhere.

Ohio. Uh. Emo lamers Hawthorne Heights? Donald Duck Macy Gray?

Science says: Push. Count: 4-2-1.

Scientific reports always have summaries and tables. This one is no exception. This table summarizes the findings from Round 1:

Table A. Musical Genres or Styles Partially or Wholly Invented in or Popularized by Artists from...

Rock and roll
Punk rock
Shock rock
Goth rock
Arena rock
Techno (and ghettotech, etc.)
White boy rap
What's a genre? Fuck Michigan.

There you have it. Science has spoken: Michigan is the musically superior state by a mile.

Next up in Michigan vs. Ohio: political figures.

* It's also scientific to have footnotes, so here's an interesting one. According to Wikipedia: "Devo's big break came in 1976 when their short film The Truth About De-Evolution won a prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival; it was then seen by David Bowie and Iggy Pop, who championed them and enabled Devo to secure a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records."