Lucid Definitions for 10 Hazy Musical Terms

Animal Collective satisfies several definitions on this list, including "crunchy."
Animal Collective satisfies several definitions on this list, including "crunchy."

adj. Refers to the grit of a given sound. Overdrive on a guitar, heavy clipping on a snare recording, and low bit-rate dirty samples can all fit this description. The crunchiest sounds can have legitimately negative effects on your teeth.

“Agh! This synth module is so crunchy it’s hurting my jaw!”

verb. On paper, a synonym for “like," but its origins go, uh, deeper than that. In the jazz era, it was used in a variety of contexts, usually meaning “like” or “understand," but that usage has morphed in this new Internet age. Musico-linguistic scholars posit that is responsible for this definition shift; When you like something, you “Digg” deeper to uncover more about it. Ya dig?
“What did you think of the new Radiohead single? I dig the video for it.”
adj. Refers to the next step after slippery. This is a noodle so covered in sauce you can’t even imagine what it looked like dry. Much like a real saucy noodle dish, drenched tones are best experienced without thinking too much about what is inside. People under mild illegal influences tend to enjoy them on a whole different plane, also much like a saucy noodle.
“That new Animal Collective album was so drenched I couldn’t even finish it.”
adj. This tone was sought after throughout much of the 1970s. Every big-time guitarist around traveled with trucks full of Marshall stacks trying to invent sound waves so big they could bowl over an entire stadium crowd. When guitarists realized it wasn’t possible and backed off, bassists kept chugging along with their naturally large waves (several feet from peak to valley, according to this vague audio nerd) well into the 21st century. In fact, it’s likely bass players will continue to employ big, fat sound waves until someone discovers an entirely different form of sound.
“These guitar sounds are so fat, they’re definitely going to knock the crowd to pieces this time.”
adj. A beautiful, shimmering, glossy sound is the type of pop perfection that many an artist strives for. Think Justin Timberlake: a glorious, subtly AutoTuned voice over pristine synthesizers and precisely mixed beats. All the edges are sanded down so there is absolutely nothing to get between the bones of the song and your losing yourself on the dance floor.
“This poppy crap is so glossy; I miss the bumpy unpredictability of Steve Albini’s productions.”
noun. Most commonly heard in the phrase “In the pocket," referring to the groove of a song. The space between the actual beats is the pocket, but just playing outside of a quarter note pattern doesn’t make you in the pocket. The implication of the term is that it’s done well. So, bad musicians: Don’t pretend you’re playing in the pocket when you really just can’t find the beat.
“I was just listening to 'What’s Going On' again — man! James Jamerson’s bass lives in the pocket.”

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