Wednesday, March 24, 2010

5 Musical Occurrences I Irrationally Dislike

This really has nothing to do with this piece, but it came up when I typed "bad music" on Google Image search.

1. Albums Named After Phrases

These phrases never really mean anything, do they? Feeble attempts at encapsulating some profound sentiment, yanked out of the ether. I can always picture the singer/band standing on some windswept cliff, gazing off into the burning sunset and breathing the title into a cascading echo. It's like a thrift store painting or something.

Examples: Ashlee Simpson's earfuck, I Am Me; Langhorne Slim's Be Set Free; Let It Go by pretty much everyone

Exceptions: Of course Let It Be; and I have to give some love to Tupelo's Still Feel Gone because at least it's grammatically unsound.

2. Monosyllabic Album Names

Usually but not always a verb, this trended for a while in the early 2000s. Was brevity en vogue? Or just laziness? I think it lent an air of concise psuedo-stoicism to bands that, in some cases, struggled to earn the same through their actual music.

Examples: Moby's "Play", Bon Jovi's "Bounce", Blues Traveler's "Bridge", Barenaked Ladies' "Stunt", Dave Matthews Band's "Crash", Phish's "Hoist"

Exceptions: Surely they are myriad. Bob Dylan's Saved might be one to consider since it's contextually worthy, although it isn't remembered as one of Dylan's stronger efforts.

3. Songs based around the word "Hero"

An easy way to score a hit, or at least to license your song to a trillion movies. It's my own bias, but I'm far too much of a musical realist to appreciate such lofty topics. Writing a song about a hero is inherently goofy if the hero in question is of the "super" variety. Assuming it isn't, I think there are ways to aggrandize someone or something without deeming them hero, which is about as subtle and clever as an F-350 painted like an American flag.

Examples: Chad Kroeger's musical donkeypunch from the Spiderman soundtrack; The Foo Fighter's "There Goes My Hero" (not a bad song of course); countless others.

Exceptions: Gotta give a pass to David Bowie's anthemic "Heroes", but not to Jakob Dylan's cover.

4. Rhyming Girl With World

Perhaps the single laziest lyrical choice, and I'll even put it ahead of the "love/above" go-to. While the latter boasts a higher cheese-factor, it's got more potential for versatility. The former is a method of pedestal placement that's high-schoolish. No matter the context of "world" within the couplet, it will suggest some grand-scale perception of the gal in question that could be achieved in so many better ways. In a word, it's settling.

Examples: Far too many to list...tune in to your local pop station.

Exceptions: Almost nonexistent. Generally I can only stomach it when I don't see it coming like a eye-roll inducing punchline. "Say Yes" by Elliott Smith comes to mind...I'm not even crazy about it's application there, but that song's just so damned great!

5. Beach Music

Maybe this isn't so irrational--try having this mindless breed of fauxldies siphoned into your skull for 20 years. You'll hate it too. In fact my feelings about beach music have been documented on this blog before. Read on.

Examples: All Beach Music that ever existed

Exceptions: I would say Van Morrison because for some reason "Brown Eyed Girl" has been adopted as a BM song [what a fitting abbreviation!], but whatever. Take "Brown Eyed Girl", just leave the rest of Van's stuff out of it.


In summation, it seems what truly sours me musically is perceived laziness. Lazy topics, lyrics, rhymes, titles, etc. Show me you want it, musicmakers. Kinda like when bloggers resort to list-form posts in lieu of longer comprehensive pieces with transitions and stuff.


Thomas said...

Sorry, I have to say I hate Brown Eyed Girl.

Also, Thank you for sparing David Bowie and Foo Fighters.

Finally, I hate it when "Beg, Steal, Borrow" Beg, Borrow, Steal," etc. etc are used.

George said...

Nah I'm right with you on BEG...that's why I'd gladly throw it to the dogs if it meant saving his other work.

Good call on beg, borrow, steal. For that matter, rhyming "borrow", "sorrow", and "tomorrow" bothers me too.