Nigel Tufnel Day: 11 Loud Moments in Music
Today, music fans are getting loud and turning it up to 11 in an homage to Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel's awe-inspiring line in the classic 1984 mockumentary "This Is Spinal Tap." It's 11/11/11, or "Nigel Tufnel Day," and here at Billboard we're celebrating too, with a superlative list of music's loudest mouths, songs, moments, bands, and more. From the Loudest Rapper Alive to the Most Regrettably Loud Album, here are 11 things in music that crank the volume far beyond that wimpy 10.
Loudest Song Shorter Than Two Seconds
Grindcore, a particularly grating subgenre of hardcore punk, is often characterized by loud, brief songs. "You Suffer," a 1987 song from genre trailblazers Napalm Death, holds the Guinness World Record for shortest song ever recorded, at 1.316 seconds. Appropriately enough, it was chosen as the band's debut single, released as a 7" on Earache Records. [CP]
Loudest Mouths In Rock
Oasis bandmates Liam and Noel Gallagher have been publicly feuding since the group's first American tour in 1994 (and that's not including the bros' personal squabbles before Oasis). While younger brother Liam handled vocal duties, older brother Noel wrote the band's music and generally controlled their creative direction. But egos and grudges got in the way quickly, leading to public fights (including a recorded argument on a 1995 bootleg single and Liam's last minute withdrawal from Oasis' 1996 "MTV Unplugged" performance), personal ridicule, and constant conflict that's never let up since the band's start. Even after Noel quit the band in 2009 to start his own solo project, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, the siblings have hardly backed down, and it seems we can never go a few months without another outburst. [RC]
Loudest Career Transition by an Easy Listening Singer
Norah Jones isn't typically known for keeping it nice and easy. Her smooth and soft Jazz albums are typically rocked at Starbucks rather than a dive club. However, Norah has to get that aggression out somehow, and she does with rock band El Madmo. Donned in a blonde short wig and raccoon makeup, Jones fully transforms into a rock star in this band. With their post punk inspired sound, it's quite not 0 to 11, but it's enough to raise some eyebrows down at the coffeehouse with songs like "Rock Yer Balls Off". [MD]
Loudest Rapper Alive
There's nothing quiet about DMX. When he speaks, it sounds like he's yelling. So when he's yelling, you definitely pay attention. When Complex did their ranking of Loudest Rappers Ever, DMX took the crown from other rambunctious rhymers like Lil Jon and Mystikal. That's a pretty deafening statement. [MD]
Most Regrettably Loud Album
There was possibly no louder album in 2010 then Sleigh Bells' "Treats". The power pop duo of Derek E. Miller and Alexis Krauss won over hearts, minds, and ears with their fuzzy cranked-up jams. But if they had to do it all again, Miller told The Atlantic no way. "Our song 'Tell 'Em' came on a friend's playlist once sandwiched between a few songs, and I jumped," Miller said. "It kind of annoyed me." Even though he enjoys the overall sound they achieve, as far as the volume goes, Miller said "I'm done blowing things out. Not a single thing is in the red, and I couldn't be more excited about it." [MD]
Best Album Titled "Loud"
Rihanna may not be known for blasting your eardrums, but 2010's "Loud" has certainly been cranked to 11 with several hits like "Only Girl (In The World)", "What's My Name?", "S&M", "Man Down", and "Cheers (Drink to That)". Rihanna told Entertainment Tonight that the "name of the album definitely reflects the attitude of it, it's really sassy and flirty and it grabs your attention and that's why I enjoy it. It takes you through a really really interesting ride." Aren't we all a little flirty and loud? [MD]
Loudest Method to Mess With a Dictator's Head
During the United States' 1989 invasion of Panama, American forces were having a tough time getting military dictator/drug trafficker Manuel Noriega out of his Panama City hideout until they tried a new, totally rocking' kind of psychological warfare. Tracks like Van Halen's "Panama" and Guns 'n Roses' "Eyes of Destruction" were played continuously at deafening levels, leading Noriega to turn himself in after ten days in refuge. According to army intelligence (or so we hope) Manuel was a big Winger fan, who clearly wouldn't be able to handle some "real metal." [CP]
Loudest Band Known to Hold Audiences Hostage
An awful lot of loud, aggressive bands came out of New York's early 80s no wave punk scene, though the loudest and most aggressive were probably Swans, whose early shows were sometimes shut down by police due to threatening decibel levels. Said frontman Michael Gira: "There was one European show in a barn that only held 400 people. The stage wasn't wide enough to put the entire PA in front, so we put half of it in the front and half of it at the back, so the audience was smashed between! The walls, ceiling, everything was shaking, raining down years of collected dust. That was good." [CP]
Don't let the name scare you. Boasting a regular lineup of four guitars, bass, and drums (and a live lineup that's featured as many as six guitarists and two bassists!), Nashville scuzz rockers Diarrhea Planet pack inescapable hooks, hoards of guitar, and charismatic punk rock energy into bite-sized two-minute nuggets. Their debut, "Loose Jewels" (Infinity Cat), is pure rock rapture, drawing from garage, metal, punk, and (almost) all things shred while injecting serious Top 40 sensibilities into each track. The band's live sets often devolve into all-inclusive sing-a-longs with countless fans onstage and more guitar solos than your face can handle. With so much axe, there's limitless potential. No one rocks quite like the Planet. [RC]
Loudest Band (International)
Guitar Wolf live the loud life (say that six times). Three guys from Japan playing fast and furious garage inspired punk rock may be something that could potentially cause hearing damage. In fact, their 1999 album "Jet Generation" is said to be so loud that Matador Records claimed that, "The levels exceeded the theoretical maximum possible on compact disk audio. In other words, 'Jet Generation' is the loudest CD in history." These guys definitely turn it up. [MD]
Loudest Band Ever
Spinal Tap, of course.