The 8 Most Bro-Tastic Bands of All Time
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The word is older than you think: it pops up in an old Seinfeld episode where Jerry refers to Kramer as a "hipster doofus." It even predates that by many years. A few years ago, it was convenient shorthand to refer to someone who overcompensates, who tries too hard to be unique and interesting and winds up a caricature.
Common usage, unfortunately, has utterly ruined the word's usefulness; just as "emo" came to mean anything sad, "hipster" now refers to anyone with an even slightly artistic bent.
Wearing a concert shirt from last night's Death Cab For Cutie show? HIPSTER. Found a vintage pair of eyeglass frames that were unique and you thought suited you? HIPSTER. Get bored and draw on your shoes? HIPSTER. The word has lost all meaning and therefore all usefulness.
Well, there are two sides to that coin. There's another phenomenon, that of the broseph, a.k.a. dudebro or bro-dude, which is the polar opposite of the hipster.
They're among the ones who helped ruin "hipster" by overusage without even realizing that there is an equally simplistic label which actually fits them to a T. You've seen dudebros all over town; they're immensely popular in Houston.
You know them by their preppie-frat-beach-rawk fashions, their polo shirts, their shorts and sandals, their university hoodies, and their backwards baseball caps, usually branded with the Houston Texans logo.
You've seen them getting way too drunk on weak light beer whenever they're out, holding loud mundane conversations mere feet from the stage at live shows or else shouting drunkenly at the performers, downing Jell-O shots and Jaeger bombs like it's the end of the world.
You've observed them clumsily hitting on your female friends no matter how uninterested they are, saying things that they don't even know are sexist or racist, recognizing people who go to their church while in the strip club, cursing liberals and feminists and homosexuals for the problems plaguing the nation while awaiting trial on their ninth DWI charge.
When you ask a dudebro what kind of music he likes, he will usually say "everything." He doesn't literally mean everything; what he means is that he doesn't care. The dudebro loves pre-packaged, readily available music that doesn't challenge him or make him think.
Whatever's on the radio or playing in the club is just fine, and if they hear it enough, they'll eventually know how to sing along and boom, they've got a new favorite song without even knowing why they like it or how that came to be.
Simplistic mediocrity is key to becoming an earworm inside the broseph's mind, and here are several bands who excel at providing exactly that. To show that we're not completely unfair, we'll be including an anonymous dudebro's rebuttal with each critique.
Nickelback, or rather Nickelback's pyro, at Toyota Center earlier this month
Photo by Victor Pena
8. Nickelback Why? Nickelback's oft-mentioned tendency to write the same three songs over and over saves the dudebro tons of time switching gears in his head. Their immature party-hearty lyrics are peppered with just enough sentimentality and breakup overtones so that the dudebro can convince himself that, sure, they like to party, but they're actually really deep, man.
The dudebro doesn't know enough about music to know exactly how disgustingly unoriginal, derivative, and moronic Nickelback's songs really are, nor do they care to know. It's something to blast while cutting people off in your Mustang.
Dudebro rebuttal: "You just don't like 'em 'cause you're stuck up and you know they rock too hard for your gay ass! Listen to those chords, brah! Fuckin' RAWK!!!"
Photo by Groovehouse
7. Creed Why: See "Nickelback," only more so, and with religious overtones.
Dudebro rebuttal: "Whatever, you know you're secretly totally into 'em! Come on, admit it! Come on! Everybody secretly loves Creed! Come on! Come onnnnnn!" digs elbow into your side conspiratorily
311 gets "Down," August 2011
Photo by Jim Bricker
6. 311 Why: 311 has no business still being around 15 years after their first chart success. Their sound is a muddled, toned-down, poorly mastered mix of alt-rock, hip-hop and reggae, and manages to piss in the well of all three genres. Unfortunately, it turns out that particular sound is perfect for the bro on vacation, downing innumerable Bud Lights in a cheesy tourist trap beach bar while watching drunk sorority girls half-heartedly pull off a limbo/wet-T-shirt contest.
Dudebro rebuttal: "Dude, what are you talking about? They sound awesome! They get the party started, am I right! Plus fuck the Cure, 311's version of that song is so much better, the original was all sad and shit, fuck that, brah! high-fives associate
Photo by Jim Bricker
5. Dave Matthews Band Why? A cornerstone of the adult dudebro, DMB provide just enough jam-band ability to convince the bros they're hearing something with artistic merit, when in reality what they're hearing is the Grateful Dead as filtered through mid-'90s coffeeshop lite-rock as filtered through your friend's dad's weekend cover band. Lawyerbros love the Dave Matthews Band, and will regale you with story after story of how much fun they used to have getting high at DMB shows before they started working at the firm and getting randomly drug tested.
Dudebro rebuttal: "Whatever, bro, Dave Matthews is one of the greatest guitarists and songwriters of our generation! Plus they have a violin player! You know, like all those weird indie bands you like! I think you should give 'em another chance, brah. What, you've given them a hundred chances already? Hundred 'n' one, dude! Check out this deep live cut, it's my JAM!" plays live version of "Ants Marching" "WOOOOO SPRING BREAK!!!"
Mirror Man: Buckcherry's Josh Todd at Warehouse Live
Photo by Victor Pena
5. Buckcherry Why? Actually, we're not exactly sure. We certainly see the bro appeal; Buckcherry started off churning out simplistic but not altogether terrible high-octane sports-rawk but soon went full bro with "Crazy Bitch," a song you can find in every bro's iPod for those days when his girl is being bitchy for no reason, flipping out on him for dumb shit like leaving dishes in the sink, not cleaning up after his friends, slipping her sister a roofie, and so on.
It's easy to imagine Buckcherry blasting through a brodude's earphones while he angrily pumps iron. We're just not sure why the bros have clung to them so long after the rest of the world was done with them (about three months after "Crazy Bitch" left the airwaves). It's a pretty rare case of dudebros displaying band loyalty despite waning popularity, and if it wasn't wasted on Buckcherry, it would be kind of admirable.
Dudebro rebuttal: "Hey, did you know their name is just Chuck Berry with the first letters switched around? Hahahahahaha! AWESOME!!!"
Limp Bizkit's attempt to remake Austin Powers in Goldmember stalled in development.
Photo by Marc Brubaker
3. Limp Bizkit Why? Just have a look at Fred Durst: There's your first broseph in rock, right there. He's got the look, he's got the attitude, he's got the tribal tats and even the immaculately-trimmed little goatee.
But more than that, Limp Bizkit were the first to marry hard rock and rap in such a straightforward way that any meathead could follow along. Gone was rap's tendency to examine society at large, and gone was any trace of metal's habit of challenging perceptions and terrifying the unworthy with horror and darkness.
The only horror and darkness to be afraid of was that spewing from Durst every time he mentioned women. All empty, posturing bravado barely hiding a squirming mass of insecurities and petty First World resentments, Durst was who every dudebro wanted to be at the turn of the millemium. And you wonder why everybody thought the world was ending.
Dudebro rebuttal: "Fuck that shit, you gay homo. Limp Bizkit got me through a really tough breakup. Check it: She wouldn't take my calls or return my emails, so I went over to her house, blasted 'Break Stuff' on my speakers, and trashed the fuck out of her ride! Totally worth the community service, brah."
Can you see Motley Crue's Vince Neil in there?
Photo by Jay Lee
2. All hair metal Why? Oh, you didn't know this already? Yeah, watch an interview or better yet, reality show featuring any hair-metal band member. Listen to those lyrics. Fist-pump to those samey chord arrangements. Turns out those hair metal gods that scared so many parents were just dudebros with an affinity for hair spray and spandex.
Dudebro rebuttal: "Bros, I'ma sing 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' tonight at karaoke, can y'all get up on stage and do the 'OH!'s with me? Help me out, yo, I'ma be totes fuckin' drunk."
1. Nirvana (but not the weird stuff) Why? Dudebros came up listening to Nirvana on the radio, back when modern rock radio still played new stuff. They loved Nirvana's loud guitars, catchy choruses, and quiet-to-crashing dynamics. Nirvana's hits being relatively radio-friendly, dudebros developed a taste for them and bought their albums... and played the same three or four songs over and over, skipping the non-hit tracks.
Dudebros have no patience for the strangeness of many of Nirvana's deeper cuts. They have no frame of reference for the odd chord structures, the confrontational screaming, or anything else that reflected Kurt Cobain's true greatness as a songwriter as opposed to just another rocker it was safe to switch their brains off while "listening" to.
Cobain's lyrics were dense, image-heavy, and often not straightforward at all. Can you imagine how frustrating it must have been to him that, to many of his fans, they didn't matter at all? Dudebros don't have the capacity to understand what "Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back" means, but they do know how to slur-sing along to it when it plays on the bar jukebox.
Dudebro rebuttal: "R.I.P. Kurt. Wish I coulda popped a couple brews with that dude, maybe tried to cheer him up a little, try to talk him into writing more songs like Teen Spirit."
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