The Truth About Beets


I love beets. Fucking love them. Pickled beets, beet salad, borscht. You say you got beets, I’m there.

The truth is that most people hate beets and think they taste like radioactive dirt. I am well aware of that and I have no ill-will towards the beet-hating people who surround me. I like to think of myself as a mature adult, above all these petty conflicts of taste. I also want my readers to know that I have never denied sexual access to anyone, male or female, solely because of their beet preferences. You can interview all of my lovers and you will find no one who will describe a dramatic scene where I cry out in anguish, “If you loved me, you’d at least try them!”

To quote a friend of mine, “People are different, not better or worse.” I love beets. Okay. You hate beets. Okay. Surely we can look past our beet preferences and accept each other for who we are. I’m happy to report that my tastes in relation to beets have never been a serious bone of contention in relationships with other humanoids.

I wish I could say the same about human tastes in music.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been attacked, screamed at and threatened with abandonment because I don’t happen to share someone else’s tastes in music. People think I’m crazy that I don’t believe Bruce Springsteen walks on water and Nirvana fans think I’m a total sellout because I think Nevermind is a better album than In Utero. I vividly remember being subjected to a full-hour rant because I told this old fart at work that I didn’t think The Doobie Brothers were very good. “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” he screamed at me. He pulled up “China Grove” on his Mac and forced me to sit, listen and appreciate.

“Meh,” I replied when the song ended. He turned beet red.

This is why I hate calling this song “the greatest” and that band “the best.” I have my tastes, you have yours, and I make no claim to superior discernment when it comes to music, literature, film or cuisine. That said, I do write a blog about music and think I owe my readers a full disclosure of my preferences. Because my sphere of operation is popular music from 1920 to the present, you may wonder why your favorite artist never earns a spot in my rotation. It’s either because I haven’t gotten around to it or I simply don’t care for their music. I may respect them as musicians, but they’re not my cup of tea.

So here is a list of some of the artists who have received rave reviews throughout their careers, and have fans who love everything they do but leave me unmoved. No offense meant; I’d just rather listen to someone else.

  • AC/DC
  • Aerosmith
  • Alice Cooper
  • Asia
  • Beastie Boys
  • Beck
  • Ben Folds Five
  • Black Sabbath
  • Bon Jovi
  • Bonnie Raitt
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Captain Beefheart
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash (but I love Neil Young)
  • David Byrne
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • The Decembrists
  • Deep Purple
  • Def Leppard
  • Doobie Brothers
  • Eric Clapton (solo)
  • Eurythmics
  • Fleetwood Mac (the Nicks-Buckingham years)
  • Foreigner
  • Frank Zappa
  • Graham Parker
  • Heart
  • Journey
  • Kiss
  • Meat Loaf
  • Morrisey
  • Mötley Crüe
  • Mountain
  • My Bloody Valentine
  • Pere Ubu
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • R. E. M.
  • REO Speedwagon
  • Rush
  • Simple Minds
  • Smashing Pumpkins
  • Styx
  • Survivor
  • Talking Heads
  • Ted Nugent, Kid Rock, etc.
  • The Band
  • The Eagles
  • The Smiths
  • Tom Waits
  • U2
  • Uriah Heep
  • Yo La Tengo

I now have a standard response whenever a fan (short for fanatic) starts working up a head of steam in preparation for a full-scale attack.

“Can I interest you in some beets?”

21 responses

  1. I wonder if you’ve ever heard Tom Waits’ song “Rainbow Sleeves”. He never recorded it, but Ricky Lee Jones has. It’s a complex song, but not cryptic. And it has a big heart.

    1. My issue with Tom Waits has nothing to do with his lyrics; as it is with Springsteen, I can’t stand the sound of his voice. I listened to the Rickie Lee Jones version and I can’t stand her voice either, but it’s a fine set of lyrics.

  2. First time I’ve seen this list — caught the referral in one of your responses to a comment on Morrison Hotel. I was scratching my head and wondering if this was perhaps the only list in history to contain the combined likes of Aerosmith, Beck, Bonnie Raitt, REM, the Smiths, and the White Stripes. (Not the Police? — surprised Sting made the cut!) Guess you really aren’t into higher-pitched male vocalists — I can respect that. Still love your writing and glad to see how prolific you’ve been on the reviews lately.

    1. Thank you! The Police were on that list but I decided to do a New Wave series and couldn’t exclude them. That will be my one and only Police review. The rough falsetto of early 70s hard rock is a definite turn-off (Plant, Tyler and others), but I don’t mind Jon Anderson or Brian Wilson’s falsetto.

  3. You remind me so much of a girlfriend I had way back who totally refused to countenance even listening to one minute of music from certain artists – she had a list of them, like you. Her utter musical intransigence did for our relationship, despite her through the roof sexual appetite. I simply couldn’t tolerate her musical stubbornness so she had to go. I did sort of regret that, though!

    You and her would have got on like a house on fire, no doubt becoming lovers, attracted by each other’s musical didacticism 🙂

    1. Glad I read this before my temporary shutdown: the no-fly list isn’t fixed in stone. Tom Petty, Paul Simon and Peter Frampton were once on the list, and every now and then I’ll listen to Springsteen, the White Stripes and a few others to see if I get a buzz. I never know when something’s going to click. Cheers!

  4. […] you find yourself pissed off at what you consider to be my complete idiocy, please read my essay, “The Truth About Beets” before you […]

  5. Great! Well can ‘o beats, er, beets for you then!

  6. Courageous ‘hate’ list or ‘not care for list.’ I agree w/some. Anyone to question Led Zep,FMac has got my attention.
    But on the subject of beets there was this great bar band The Beat Farmers, which seemed much funnier a long time ago. Still elicits a chuckle tho:

    1. Oh, god, they’re a hoot! Hubba hubba! Kazoos! Gargles! I love The Beat Farmers!

    2. I like beets, beck, talking heads and white stripes…wouldn’t miss the music of anyone else on your list if they disappeared. You surely know the pathetic Eagles stole ‘hotel caifornia’ from Tull’s ‘we used to know’.

  7. I can live with your list providing you remove Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.

    1. That definitely won’t happen with Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath, as I loathe the high-pitched whine of both lead singers. Deep Purple has just never really grabbed me.

  8. Michael Chaney | Reply

    ARC, welcome back. I’m glad you’ve resurfaced. None of the email addresses that used to work for you are good any longer, and I’ve wanted to get you a bunch of new songs from your former favorite artists, including The New Trocaderos, The Connection, and The Dahlmanns. Please email me at your convenience and let’s TCB.

  9. My first time I ate beets, I forced myself to eat ’em, because I had read they’re nutritious. ARC, you are completely correct, they did taste like dirt – but I liked them all the same. As for your list – you might like some early Fleetwood Mac, 1967-1970, when their founder Peter Green was with them, they sounded quite different to the later Buckingham/Nicks line-up, some tremendous songs and playing. I’m going to read again your “Tommy” review, so as to remember why that one pissed off some (one?) reader(s). So great to have you back in (writing) action!

    1. Good point—I loved Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. I will make a note! I should do a review!

      The “Tommy” review won’t be in my book so this is the only place you’re going to read it. It’s just so awful I could stand to do a track-by-track analysis.

      1. Bob Welch had a good run too. The song Hypnotized is one of my all-time favorites.

  10. Like the new look! 🙂 I see Led Zeppelin on this list…steam is building. No thanks on the beets. 😉

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