It is impossible to overlook this peculiar trend any longer: A few choice words and phrases seem to be dominating many of 2011's music critiques, particularly on Twitter. Seemingly forcibly wedged into friends' and journalists' 140-characters-or-less makeshift tweet reviews, the following words and phrases are, in our opinion, played out. Consider this a hopeful word obituary of sorts; an inspiration to expand our journalistic vocabulary; a cathartic opportunity to bitch.
6. "Slayed": First of all, what's with the violence? I say, unless you are in fact writing about or describing a Slayer concert -- or Black Sabbath, or maybe Gwar -- most other acts just don't deserve to be referred to as a band that "slays." Moreover, it's nondescript, and leaves many with unnecessary gory mental images.
5. "Sick": I understand that, sometimes, one needs an extreme word to communicate an extreme instance or emotion. Nevertheless, when I see music or shows described as being "sick," I can't shake my initial feeling that it's an insult. "Sick" just doesn't seem complimentary, or, more importantly (say it with me, now), descriptive.
4. "Face-melting": As in, "That show melted my face off." I love seeing shows, and I love seeing amazingly performed shows. Furthermore, I also love hearing others' tales of amazing shows they've seen; however, describing them as "face-melting" tells me nothing about a performance or why it was good, and leaves me only scratching my head in bewilderment, fighting off unwanted yet inevitable images of how one's melting face would actually look.
3. "Literally": As in, "This singer is literally blowing my mind." Really? He or she is actually, in reality, blowing your mind?! That's amazing! How ever is it done?? We music lovers are smarter than this, and can differentiate between literalism and figurativeness. Let's leave those idiomatic faux pas to the sportscasters, whose subjects seem to "literally rip the heads off of" fellow football players every week.
2. "Killed it" and/or "Killing it": Lately, it seems some music fans and writers are feeling the need to satisfy some curiously violent itch when describing live music; their choice of wording proves it. "The band is killing it," we read. Killing what? Is that a good thing? What are they playing? What do they sound like? If by "killing it," you're meaning they're good, tell us why. Violent, nondescript, trite terminology seems unnecessary.
Bonus (docked) points: The "literally killed it" combo.
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1. "Epic": This word is, without a doubt, the single most ridiculously overused term in all of music. (We've lately noticed it seeping into advertising and food criticism, as well.) I can't tell you how many times this word scrolls along my Twitter feed, popping up everywhere, like a contagious, prevailing plague. Its overuse must stop. We are more clever than this.
The Odyssey is epic. It'd be safe to assume one could describe seeing, say, Pink Floyd as an "epic" experience. Attending LCD Soundsystem's farewell show was most likely "epic." Busting your load over Joe Schmo Guitarist because he successfully replicated the Pete Townshend Windmill probably doesn't warrant the use of such a momentous adjective. Furthermore, the frequent use of this word has presented a "Boy Who Cried Wolf" type conundrum: If I see your tweet about a show you deem "epic"," that show should be rad enough for me -- for anyone -- to stop what they're doing and haul ass to the venue, in order to witness a rare, legendary experience. Instead, the statement is written off, its reader figuring two things: First, perhaps the writer has simply run out of creative words, and second, said show is most likely not, in fact, "epic" -- because few things in life are.
Folks, when describing music, food, art, sex, what have you, let's dare to be different! Let us impress ourselves and each other and use new words! Let us bury the incessant use of "epic" and its clichéd cronies, and instead reserve such a term in its best form, as a Faith No More song, of course.