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the matthew show

Wizards & Warriors

We here at the matthew show have developed a shiny new theory. Wanna hear it? Here it is anyway: In music, artists can be divided into Wizards & Warriors. An explanation:


Wizards -

They are often awkward and confused in youth, knowing what they want but having no idea how to achieve it. But they collect spells over time, and eventually rise to prominence on the strength of their accumulated musical powers. Though they can get a bit insane in advanced age, if they're not careful.


Warriors -

They are strongest when young, exuding raw energy and brute musical force to dazzle one and all. Unfortunately, their appeal tends to decline when the new-car smell wears off and the old bones don't wiggle like they used to.

We now present a listing, by way of example. Behold!:



Largely stumbly and unknown at first, they eventually amassed an arsenal that whapped the charts on the head like a hopped-up monkey. Starting to go a little loopy, though.

Elvis Presley

Elvis' searing energy & amazing talent was enough to knock the world on it's ass, but when it ran out, it ran out.

Pink Floyd

Clunky & a bit ridiculous early on, their collected skills eventually owned the 1970s like Don Corleone. Here's a big run-on sentence about 'em.

Michael Jackson

Hard to ignore a little kid who can sing like that. He kept the energy all the way through the Thriller era, but the severe drop-off immediately thereafter proved him to be a world-class Warrior.

Peter Gabriel

Brilliant and energetic but rather uneven with Genesis & in his early solo career, he hit stride a bit later in life, and is still kicking quite a bit of tuckus. Here's a review of his latest.

Joe Cocker

You see a young man jerking around and screaming like that, you put him on stage. You see an old man doing it, you put money in his cup and walk away quickly.

Tom Waits

Tom had a tough time there in the beginning, and eventually got over the hump in the mid-'70s with albums like Small Change. But then he just kept getting better. When will it stop? Tell me!!

The Rolling Stones

Ooooh, I hear the hate mail whooshing down the chute. But here goes: Satisfaction, Ruby Tuesday, You Can't Always Get What You Want? Damned good tunes. Start Me Up, Shattered, The 800th Cock Rock Anthem? I hear that chain mail sagging.

Aimee Mann

'Til Tuesday wasn't the worst pop band in the '80s, but they definitely weren't the best. 10 years after Voices Carry, Aimee started kicking arse with albums like Whatever & I'm With Stupid. Long live the queen of cranky love songs.

Elton John

Though a bit of a softie for a Warrior, he was nonetheless a force to be reckoned with in the '70s. But then came the '80s. Where did it go, Elton? Where? And brushing creative willies with Tim Rice ain't the way to bring it back, I promise you.

Ben Folds

You could always tell that Ben and his Five had something going on, but sometimes you weren't sure when it was going to show up. However, Rockin' The Suburbs is about the most perfect pop album you'll ever hear. Here's hopin' we got us a Wizard.

Pearl Jam

Stone! Jeff! Mike! Eddie! EDDIE! (who's the damn drummer nowadays, anyway? It's like Spinal Tap or something) Oh, my friends, you are Warriors if there ever Warriors there were. Ten & Vs. will forever prompt my rokken gland to secrete pure ecstasy, but lo, the heroes have gone to Grand Funk Railroad Land.


Now, on the odd occasion, there will be a Warrior who figures out he's headed for the scrapyard, and decides to learn some spells. These are Warrior Wizards, and they are few in number, but damned hard to beat:

Warrior Wizards


Dispute me if you must, but these guys could've easily let their Warrior weight drag them down after The Joshua Tree. Instead, we got Achtung, Baby. And I defy you to find me a Warrior putting out a single as good as Beautiful Day 20 years after their debut.

Paul Simon

Many years later, The Sounds of Silence is still damned catchy, if a bit twee. Simon & Garfunkel put out some of the most adventurous and melodic albums of the '60s, and Simon did nothing but improve his tight songwriting during his solo career in the '70s & '80s. Unfortunately, he's dogged by a weakening voice nowadays, & I fear he may fall out of the Wizards' Council soon.


Got a nominee? Think we got one wrong? Lemme know.

Mo' Features