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Hurricane Mixtape

Music to drown by

It is written. -- The Ayatollah of Rock

THE BLACKLIST
A glossary of overused crit-speak

Let us now discuss the labyrinthine, in-your-face, introspective, esoteric, head-bobbing, fist-pumping, booty-shaking, genre-defying mélange of the Rock Critic Cliché milieu. (Riffage. Let us also discuss riffage.)

R.E.M. sees the end.
R.E.M. sees the end.
Critical Fatwa
Critical Fatwa

Like any other, this profession suffers from its own unique lexicon of ridiculous, impenetrable jargon. I am certainly not immune to this disease, nor can I suggest a foolproof cure. But perhaps I can diagnose specific viruses and prescribe medicine for…lousy metaphors. (Gotta knock it off with the lousy metaphors, too.)

As we behold 2005's shimmering, hypnotic, melodic dawn, I pledge to you: Every bolded word in this article, I will never use again after this week.

Angular: Frequently describes guitars that sound, well, pointy. Sharp, unpleasant, of or like Fugazi. As opposed to "circular."

Coruscating: Really, really angular.

Listenable: "I didn't like it."

Unlistenable: "I didn't listen to it."

Seminal: "I sold it back for $5 without listening to it, but then everyone else wrote about it, so I had to buy it back for $12 and pretend I liked it."

Minimalist: Describes any song that does not employ a full string orchestra. "Hall & Oates' 'I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)' is a seminal, coruscating slab of minimalist pop."

Slab: Indeed.

Danceable: "I couldn't dance competently if my pants were on fire."

Beatlesque: (Fires rocket launcher at head.)

Radio-ready: "This is the only song I remember."

Anthemic: Really, really radio-ready.

Jangly: Fate intertwined with R.E.M. Adios.

Drops (e.g., "Tone Loc's new album drops January 25"): Knock it off; you're white.

Wheels of steel, as opposed to "turntables": White white white white white.

Lush: Boring.

Soundscapes: Pretentious.

Swirling: Conjures lush soundscapes of boring pretentiousness.

Cerebral: Yes, sir: Brian Eno is smarter than you.

Cinematic: What -- like Meatballs?

Eclectic: "From polka to bluegrass to baile funk to death metal! It's a floor wax and a dessert topping!"

Crunk: White white white white white white white white.

And while we're at it, a few bonus tropes:

_______ -esque/ish: "Dude, I gotta finish this: Aqua Teen Hunger Force starts in 20 minutes."

Like _______ on acid: "Dude, that giant bag of fries totally just said 'crunk.' "

Wanton hyphen overuse: An ordinarily calm writer friend of mine flies into a rage whenever this technique is employed. Specifically, he refers to it as "I-can't-think-of-what-to-write-so-it's-time-to-just-say-'fuck-it'-and-hyphenate-the-shit-out-of-a-whole-mess-of-words-that- might-come-close-to-an-accurate-description-of-something-that-I-might-be-able-to-work-out-myself-if-I-read-real-books-instead-of-Spin-while-I-go- poo-poo." He'll be fine, honest.

_______ yet ________: Increasingly common. Angry Hyphen Guy particularly chafes at the "retro yet futuristic" tag: "What -- like Barbarella?"

Wanton capitalization overuse: Such as, oh, say, "Angry Hyphen Guy." I'm still enamored of this one too. Let's save it for '06.

Wanton: Not yet. I still really like "wanton." -- Rob Harvilla

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