Maybe we’re just curmudgeons, but there are a lot of things happening in music right now that piss us off. As the end of the year approaches, we hope we can leave these terrible trends behind and start off 2013 by not looking like a bunch of culturally corrosive assholes.
By Confusion with contributions from Luis Tovar
Old Artists Trying To Find Cheap Ways To Stay Relevant
LL Cool J is using the word “ratchet,” Fat Joe is trying to talk about, “Instagram That Hoe,” and countless rappers with receding hairlines are trying to keep up with hip-hop’s young stars. The problem? It’s fucking embarrassing, like the time I was in middle school and my dad tried to prove that rapping was not a talent by rapping himself. His plan backfired, and I sat there laughing as he made up nonsense raps: “Yo, yo, yabba dabba doh/Badda dabba doh dabba doh doh doh.” Fuck outta here, Dad.
It’s not just in rap. Madonna has been reduced to a troll lately. She’s latched her crusty old lips to the teet of Current Trends and she hasn’t stopped sucking since. She’s tried to “beef” with Lady Gaga, tactlessly injected the hottest new EDM sounds into her music, and even tried to jump on the molly bandwagon. Madge, all those little tweens in the audience who love to take molly and rub their parts on sweaty strangers—they don’t care about you, and that’s okay. You are a music legend, but you’re turning yourself into a joke.
Rap Songs About Molly
If you just discovered molly because some other rapper made a rap song about molly, do NOT go and make a rap song about molly. The problem here is not with molly, it’s with rappers copying other rappers to such an extreme that everything sounds derivative. Also, bath salts thing was kind of entertaining for like, two weeks. Just leave it alone now. Go rap about DMT or something.
Only Liking “Real” Hip-Hop or “Real” Rock Music
There’s no such thing as “real” hip-hop, and when you say that, most of the time it just means that you’re obsessing over old shit. Illmatic was cool, but we can’t have a new Illmatic every year forever, and if we could, we’d probably start tiring of the same sounds.
Same goes for rock. There is something sacred about bluesy, guitar driven rock and roll. That doesn’t mean that the music is any more “real” than glitchy pop, jumbled garage rock, or crawling shoegaze.
Music evolves. Influences get stretched and twisted into new shapes, and for anything exciting and fresh to be made, it takes some deviation from places we’ve already been. Illmatic and the blues aren’t going anywhere. Let’s keep it moving.
Bands That Throw Hoedowns on Every Song
Looking at you, Mumford. Hoedowns are fucking rare. When you hear one, you should be like, “Ohhh shit, I didn’t see that coming.” When you put them in every single song, you’re taking all the fun out of it. It’s like if eating icing for breakfast was an every day thing. The first few times it’s like, “Ohhh hell yeah, fuck everything, icing for breakfast!” After a week of that you’re bloated and getting headaches every afternoon and you’re in the mood for nothing but beef jerky and a hand job. Icing for breakfast is no way to live life. And hoedowns in every song is no way to be a band.
Covering Frank Ocean
Just stop. At this point in time, if you’re considering putting up a “Thinkin Bout You” cover on your YouTube channel, you need to take a long, hard look at how you’re presenting yourself. Because you’re presenting yourself like a little insect asshole on the back of an ant, seeing nothing but dust flying as that little ant gives life his all. Step up, get creative. Don’t settle for YouTube covers of Frank Ocean. Now’s not the time. Sometimes you just need to let it sit for a while. You saw what that Birdy girl did to “Skinny Love,” right?
Reinventing Oneself as an Indie Muse After Several Failed Starts at Pop Stardom
No shots, we like Lana Del Rey, but hers shouldn’t be a blueprint for how to succeed after failing. If you were set on becoming the new Katy Perry and things didn’t work out, you can’t just delete your old MySpace account, soak yourself in an Urban Outfitters aesthetic and get your publicity team to sell you as some mysterious new indie enigma. People will find out, and you’ll just be in an awkward situation when that happens.
Boy Bands 2.0
We thought this was over. Is it not over? Is it coming back? Please, no. We look at pictures like this and think, “Wow, what an embarrassing stain on pop culture.” Then these guys come along. We know tween girls need this kind of stuff to get them happily through the harsh realities of freshman year in high school, but maybe if we gave them something a little less awful they would be better people and would stop squealing so much.
Top Pop Stars Using the Same 1-3 Producers
We are not 100% on this, but we have a strong suspicion that there are more than three people in the world who know how to produce pop records. We understand wanting to work with “the best,” but over the past few years the big radio-friendly pop hits have started blending together like the memories in our atrophying brains.
Remastering Old Stuff and Packaging it as a New Release
“Hey, let’s take all these old songs, make them sound slightly better, add a few loose tracks that weren’t worth including the first time around, and sell it on iTunes with a cool new cover!” As necessary it is to try to make money from quality music, but a “new” release of music we heard last year is hard to get excited about.
Just make some new music.
Dubstep Remixes of Everything
There are people in the world, let’s call them assholes, who think that every piece of recorded music is better with womp-womps and massive drops. Adele’s music does not need to be sloppily flipped into filthy, face-melting bro-step. Stop it.
BONUS! Internet Music Writers Trying To Tell Musicians What To Do
Oh, so you write about music on the World Wide Web and you think that gives you the right to tell musicians, especially massively successful ones, what they should be doing differently? Go pick up a guitar, you nerd.