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The M Word

Musical terms that should be illegal

Mayor Ken Corley, the esteemed chief of Brazoria, Texas, called for a measure last month making the uttering of the N-word an offense, punishable by a hefty fine. As expected, this decree never got off the ground. Something about amendments, the Bill of Rights and other general uselessness.

Well, we here at the Houston Press believe that the N-word's not the only word in our nation's collective vocabulary that should be blacklisted (bad pun intended). True, few words can be as cringe-inducing and hateful as the Queen Mother of All Racial Slurs, but there are several terms we wish were illegal.

The "W" word -- Groups should no longer be permitted to have the word "wolf" in any way, shape or form regarding album titling, band naming, concert tees or tour names.

The "S" word -- Conglomerations of members of well-known bands should no longer be allowed to call themselves "super groups." While they are, in fact, "groups," using the word "super" to describe yourself is, in fact, very misleading and indicative of ego on parade. Unless you're Superman.

The "H" word -- Bands that decide to break up can no longer use the term "hiatus." Tell us the truth. No more pussyfooting around, give us the straight dope. Just go ahead and tell us that the lead singer saw Jesus Christ in his plate of hashish backstage and he wants to go record an album of sea chanteys with the Polyphonic Spree or whatever it was that happened. And when you get back together years later to make mortgage payments, don't say it's because you just enjoy playing with your bandmates, that you all feel like brothers. Tell the truth -- you want some money.

The "F" word -- Just because somebody carries an acoustic guitar and occasionally strums an autoharp, that doesn't mean they are "folk," a "folkie," or "folk-rock." This is just more annoying shorthand for "trust fund bed wetter" from awestruck bloggers not doing their historical homework. Folkies back in the day were almost as clannish and divisive as punkers in the '70s. Newport Music Festival 1965, anyone?

The "G" word-- A dark synthesizer line and a band covered in eyeliner and Sgt. Pepper costumes, a Goth doth not make. Say "spooky," or "altogether ooky," instead.

The "P" word-- If all you do is mash up crazy styles and words from disparate genres, don't call it a pastiche. It sounds too high-minded and haughty. Technically, The Crazy Frog is also doing a pastiche. Do you really want your Sabbath/Taco tribute band to be lumped in with a frog that sings ringtones for Euro-trash?

The "Q" word-- Stop telling everyone you sound like Queen when describing your new record. No one believes you. Worse, no one cares. You don't sound like Freddie Mercury, no matter what your dad says.

The "E" word -- Epic breakdowns. Epic guitar solos. Epic bowel movements. Epic means overblown and pompous. Just because you record a song that's over five minutes long, it's not necessarily epic. It is a fun word to throw around, though. "That new JoJo single sure is epic, yo!"

The "A" word -- There is no such thing as alternative anymore. Everything that was underground is now mainstream. Your parents throw down in the bedroom to the new Shins record and shop at American Apparel now. You and your parents can not be alternative at the same time, in the same way. It's a physical impossibility. (Believe me, I tried.)

 
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