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.)

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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