Live Last Night, On TV - Episode 4

I'm glad I restarted this feature. Not because it's easy -- DVRing, watching and blurbing 20 or so performances is a much bigger pain than you think. But it's becoming increasingly possible to surround yourself only with music you like, or would be inclined to like, so this exercise is a good reminder of how much truly boring and simply bad stuff is out there.

1. TV on the Radio - "Dancing Choose" (Letterman, Friday)
The best part of this performance is the hilarious "Hello Deli Concert Series" sign hanging above the band as it performs on a fire escape. TVotR's arty stuff isn't really that arty or interesting, so the newfound focus on hooks and simpler songs is welcome.

2. Hot Chip - "Ready for the Floor" (Carson Daly, Monday)
Hot Chip is such an '80s band, right down to its great electro-pop singles, goofy-looking singer and pretty forgettable everything-besides-the-singles.

3. Jamie Lidell - "A Little Bit of Feelgood" (Ferguson, Wednesday)
Jamie Lidell:Robin Thicke::Matt Cain:Tim Lincecum? Eh, maybe, but probably not. Just a cheap ploy to get a Tim Lincecum mention.

4. Little Feat - "Dixie Chicken" (Conan, Monday)
Hey, it's a Dixieland party! A Dixieland party for old people, but still. A Dixieland party!

5. Lenka - "The Show" (Conan, Wednesday)
This is like a bouncier, less-nuanced version of Thao Nguyen, I thought. Turns out the two are on the Hotel Cafe tour together out west, so that makes sense. With a little love from Madison Avenue this could be 2009's "1, 2, 3, 4."

6. My Morning Jacket - "I'm Amazed" (Leno, Monday)
What's with the cape, Jim James? And why are you amazed by "a divided nation" or "the TV stations"? And don't tell me it's that they rhyme with each other! Even mediocre MMJ -- and this almost qualifies -- is still better than most, but we've been down this road before.

7. Seether - "Rise Above This" (Daly, Friday)
Straight up grunge. Soft, loud, screamy, long, dyed-red hair, painted fingernails, Chuck Taylors. Perfectly competent, but says more about the rest of the crap that this ranks so high.

8. Kings of Leon - "Sex on Fire" (Letterman, Tuesday)
The title of this one might make Beavis's head explode and it's the one redeemable song on the band's new album, but even that might be pushing it. KOL were never too much but at least you could say, hey, it's rock-and-roll. I don't even think you can say that anymore, though.

9. Jennifer Hudson - "Spotlight" (Leno, Friday)
This was the guy who outlasted her by a week on "American Idol." His favorite album of all time? "Don't have one."

10. The Hives - "Won't Be Long" (Leno, Thursday)
The Hives own their gimmick to the point where it's not a gimmick anymore, it's just their identity. Not many bands get to that point. This song just never takes off.

(More after the jump.)

11. Jakob Dylan w/Norah Jones - "War Is Kind" (Conan, Thursday)
He sounds more like the Boss than his dad. This really isn't a bad song. There's just enough of a spark between the two to make it interesting. Still, if it's 1:30 a.m. and you're trying unsuccessfully to fall asleep, it's a great song.

12. Duffy - "Mercy" (Saturday Night Live)
They tried to make her beg for mercy, she said no no no.

13. Nelly - "Body on Me" (Kimmel, Monday)
Nelly, with special assistance from Akon and Ashanti. This song really, really wants to be your ringtone.

14. Lady Antebellum - "Lookin' for a Good Time" (Ferguson, Friday)
A pure Nashville creation that exists to move products to a defined demographic (think puking Sugarland fans), but at least the song has a pulse.

15. Amos Lee - "What's Been Going On" (Conan, Friday)
How to say this? It's an OK song, I just wish it weren't so mind-numbingly boring.

16. Delta Goodrem - "In This Life" (Letterman, Wednesday)
Tori Amos + Alanis Morrissette - 20 years + Australian.

17. Glen Campbell - "Times Like These" (Leno, Tuesday)
He ain't Johnny Cash and he ain't Prince, that's for sure.

18. Moby - "Disco Lies" (Daly, Wednesday)
All Moby's doing is playing bass for this one. Even he can't be bothered. The girl going crazy in the front row must be trying to catch the eye of some casting agent, right? And to the dude in the second row, clapping a minute before the song over won't make it end sooner, sorry.

19. Plain White T's - "1, 2, 3, 4" (Leno, Wednesday)
This song and performance could honestly be from 1961. Not a Feist cover. Unfortunately. Never thought I'd say that.

20. Atmosphere - "You/"Yesterday" (Kimmel, Tuesday)
I think Barack Obama said it best when he said, "You can put jazzy hip-hop beats on an annoying, whiny emo song - it's still a whiny, annoying emo song."

21. Morningwood - "Sugarbaby" (Letterman, Thursday)
Seven years later, this is what the "New York Rock Revival" is reduced to.

22. Bo Burnham (Daly, Tuesday)
A grown-up Haley Joel Osment lookalike playing an acoustic-guitar/comedy song about having sex with an 83-year-old woman. Oh, and he's a YouTube sensation. As awesome as you'd expect.

23. Unwritten Law - "Shoulda Known Better" (Daly, Thursday)
It's no surprise that Carson would have a soft spot for rap-metal garbage since he was the one who presided over that horrifying era on TRL. Which lyric do you like better: "Abortion clinic, I shoulda forced the issue/But she did it with the hanger and some tissue"? Or "It was the last time I'd ever see her/I'd try to thank her, for gonorrhea"?

By David Malitz |  September 30, 2008; 9:50 AM ET Live Last Night, On TV , Rankings , TV Music
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Re: Duffy - her second song was even worse.

Posted by: Hemisphire | September 30, 2008 11:06 AM

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