Your Genre Sucks II
This time around, I intend to widen my gyre a little bit. Whereas the first Your Genre Sucks installment was concerned mainly with the endless divisions and subdivision of rock and roll, this edition will be a little bit broader, demonstrating that I am not just smug and derisive toward rock but arrogantly superior to all forms of human musical expression. I wish I had time to run down the long list of all the musical styles present on this planet of ours; I’ve got a bone to pick with the atonal cacophonies of the Far East, with the guttural ugliness of Tuvan throat-singing, and with the primitive chanting of the Earth’s remaining savage cultures. But alas, for the sake of brevity and relevance I shall confine my hilarious, withering witticisms to the music familiar to the first world. So if you’re a big fan of Balinese rhythms, I apologize for leaving out your music of choice, but to be fair you should probably get off the computer and back to the rice paddies, foreigner. Those venomous water-snakes aren’t going to pick up shovels and chop the heads off themselves!
I suppose I should write a little bit about classic rock just to tie up the loose ends from the last article. I danced around everything from post-punk to emo last time, but somehow I neglected to illustrate my distaste for the meat and potatoes of rock and roll. Of course, “classic rock” is a broad, vague, and semi-meaningless definition, just like so many other arbitrary genres. Nonetheless, any rock fan has some general idea of what classic rock is. Nowadays, most of us just know it as the world’s shittiest radio format. Flip around your dial a little bit, and in no time you’ll come across a syndicated middle-aged DJ announcing his playlist. Do you maybe detect a hint of shame in his voice as he announces Def Leppard alongside Jimi Hendrix in his last computer-mandated set? No, you don’t, because all classic rock DJs are dead inside. But, getting back to the point: the classic rock radio format, I suppose, merely encompasses the broad canon of guitar music that middle-American rednecks have agreed upon over the years. We might as well ignore it, since there’s no rhyme or reason to it. Aside from that, those people with a tenth of an ounce of brain in their heads probably think of classic rock as the music of the Sixties, the music of Woodstock, the music of rebellion and revolution. Of course, there are many of us from younger generations who didn’t “tune in” or, more tellingly, didn’t “drop out” and therefore have slightly more than a tenth of an ounce of brain, but we usually pity our hippie parents too much to point out that their “revolution” was either imaginary or a failure or both. At least we can credit hippies with more of a grasp on their own culture than classic rock radio programmers, since you’d be hard pressed to find a true sixties wild-child who’d walk over to his stereo and play a double-shot of Boston followed by classic tracks from Van Halen, Simon & Garfunkel, and Loverboy. Aside from the feckless unfortunates who fell into the grotesque Sarlac Pit of Deadheadism, hippies generally have some musical integrity. Much as I appreciate people who know how to turn up their noses at Journey, even “real” classic rock fans piss me off. For one thing, a lot of them like Pink Floyd, and that’s totally fucking inexcusable no matter how many drugs you took. For another thing, they’re so wedded to the past that they’re going to be content listening to the same played-out garbage for the rest of their lives, and would gladly tell some young punk why The Jefferson Airplane is ten times better than what the kids are listening to these days, even though he has no idea what the kids have been listening to for the last thirty years and has no particular desire to find out.
I saw this video in the Spanish section of my local video store and instantly knew that it was the perfect representation of classic rock.
Rock and roll purists usually find it necessary to at least pretend to like the blues. They would argue that you have to love the blues in order to love rock, because it’s the foundation upon which rock was built. That’s magnificently stupid, or course. I submit that it’s possible to love modern medicine without loving phrenology and bloodletting, or to love cars without loving the kind that you have to turn a crank to start up. But I certainly can’t call blues crap only in the context of rock and roll, because that would be unfair to the inherent crappiness of blues itself. I’m not going to say that all blues songs sound the same, because that would be wildly ignorant. I will, however, say that most blues songs sound pretty much the same. Argue that one, why don’t you? What’s that, Mr. Blues Man? No comeback? Oh, of course you’ll try to tell me that the art of blues lies in finding new artistic avenues within familiar frameworks, but that’s a gigantic cop-out and even the most die-hard blues fans secretly know it. Jesus, learn some new progressions, it’s been the better part of a century. And then there’s…
If most guitar solos leave you feeling intellectually over-stimulated, you might want to check out electric blues solos; they’re easier to follow because they’re geared toward stupid white people who don’t even want to bother with the rudimentary subtleties of classic blues, and you don’t have to worry about unpredictability because there have only been two or three electric blues guitarists who’ve had a single shred of ingenuity or artistry in them. I suppose that if heavy metal solos are a readymade metaphor for feverishly jerking off, electric blues solos are the musical equivalent of rolling away from your wife and letting one out while you think of your daughter’s cheerleader friends and worry about going bald, like Kevin Spacey in American Beauty. Electric blues is disgusting cultural backwash, like smooth jazz or lite-rock, and I can think of absolutely nothing to recommend it. I’m not sure if I can think of anything more disgusting, hollow and gauche than an Englishman affecting a throaty growl and singing about his childhood in Mississippi, but if I ever do it’ll probably involve a Vanilla Ice/Fred Durst crossover.
An authentic English bluesman.
I’m not even sure what the pathology behind liking industrial music is, but once psychologists cure it we can certainly look forward to a world where the goggles are confined to welders, the fishnets are confined to whores and the stupid double-mohawks are confined to that screaming cockney shithead from The Prodigy. At the same time, nothing puts a jaunty accent on a fat teenager like a ridiculous outfit, so maybe Industrial music has something to recommend it after all. Come to think of it, industrial music is generally reserved for those who have absolutely nothing to lose socially and aren’t afraid of dressing like assholes so people will give them badly-needed attention in the form of derisive laughter. In that situation, everybody wins: the goth-industrial loser gets a heartening affirmation of his “Keep Staring, I Might Do A Trick” t-shirt, and the people laughing at him get to experience those profound “at least I’m not that guy” moments. Okay, enough fun and games: people always get mad at me when I just make fun of music based on the dorks who listen to it, because really every style of music has dorks who give it a bad name. But seriously, have you ever seen the type of people who go to industrial night at a club? If people don’t me to base the quality of their music on how they look, maybe they shouldn’t swaddle themselves in big black “kick me” signs.
Nice BELLY BUTTON, did your MOMMY make that?
Here’s another little morsel I left out of my last Your Genre Sucks, and in the interest of tying up loose ends I might as well go back to it now. Most of us know synth-pop as the stuff people are talking about when they say the Eighties sucked. Nobody says “the Eighties sucked? You mean you don’t like Public Enemy?” They say “yeah, fucking Spandau Ballet, screw the Eighties!”
See, nobody ever asks me what I think about classical music, so I try not to think about it. Well, some people ask me, but they’re usually just being smug dickheads, so I ignore them. “So, Doctor Thorpe,” they say, “if you’re such a genius then what do you think of my personal favorite, Chopin!?” Basically, the sort of people who listen to classical music are the sort of people who write letters like that. Or else they’re old people or smart people. Count me out. I may be a genius, but I’m not some kind of stodgy mental gourmet who finds it necessary to listen exclusively to real music. Symphonies are like boring concerts where nobody yells or sings and you can’t surreptitiously grope any underage girls. Why bother? And as for the music itself, there are no backbeats or electric guitars or slap-bass breakdowns, so it’s basically like listening to grandma’s mellow snore. Plus, the songs are often really long, and I’m not even sure they’re technically songs at all, which makes me instantly suspicious. If Radiohead released a “tone poem” we’d all be lining up to call them busters, but we’re going to let some effete dead geniuses get away with it? No way. They should have known better, even back then.
That drumstick is way too small.
Of course, I’m talking about modern electronic dance music, but I have to refer to it in the vaguest terms possible or else people will get mad. Some people call it “techno,” but of course those people are berated because “techno” is a specific term for a certain kind of music and you’re actually talking about liking Joey Beltram or something, and he sucks. So you could call it “Electronica,” but of course that’s a stupid fucking name and nobody’s going to take it seriously, so electronic music fans will get all huffy if you come within a mile of that word. You could be like the UK press and just call it “dance music,” but, hey man, it’s not just for dancing, you can also chill out so that won’t do! Like rock and roll, electronic dance music has countless little musical suburbs. Unlike rock and roll, however, you don’t need an actual scene in order to warrant a new subgenre. You can just mix and match until every single song is in it’s own little division. Hence all the autistic nerds who have to special-order rare German white-label singles because all they listen to is Hard Shufflebreak Dropstep and you can’t find it just anywhere. A lot of the modern fondness for electronic music is rooted in the now-defunct rave “culture,” which involved thousands of brightly-colored outfits filled with sweaty meat converging on a helpless field somewhere and taking mind-dulling huggy-drugs and doing jerky dances until everyone was rattled and stupefied enough to mistake their chemical bliss for spiritual unity or some bullshit like that. Once all these dumb kids started longing for musical innovation, they had to step up their game a little; they were no longer satisfied with “boom tss boom tss” dance music, so they had to invent varieties with significantly more clicks and whistles. Of course, all this brilliant innovation with beat and tempo eventually resulted in music which was impossible to dance to, so they had to pretend electronic music was good for other things, too. Shamefully, the rest of the world hasn’t caught up. Most of us still think it’s just soulless, castrated, culturally irrelevant pap for neeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrds (and we’re right!)
Say what you will about hip-hop, but it’s impossible to deny that many of the rims involved are spectacular. Twenty-fours on the truck? That’s nasty! They spin when you stop? That, gentlemen, is nasty. Case closed.
Okay, I’ve depressed myself by hating absolutely everything. Hopefully, I’ve depressed you too, and you’ll stop wasting your time listening to music and get out and trim those hedges like your mom has been asking you to do for WEEKS! Oh shit, I forgot to mention Jazz! Jazz sucks. There. As usual, questions or comments can be sent to email@example.com, and they will be read and magnanimously smiled upon, unless you’re a retard, like this guy:
I'm a Tool fan and I dont think that myself and my fellow Tool fans are better than everyone else because listen to and understand Tool. Were not potheads, we don't think that because we listen to too, it makes us smarter, get a LIFE. You're opinions are meaningless and so is this e-mail, but I'm bored okay?
By the way, learn to spell Tool songs right, Forty Six & 2 not 46 and 2, retard, all your opinions are meaningless, nobody cares about what you write, and I think many would agree with me, which means, you're outnumbered. Good job loser.
The reason they make most of their music pointless is, A) They are stoned when they write their music, B) In order to enjoy their style of music, which you don't, you have to put pointless shit into their music, its very philosophical.
Get your research done correctly by asking people what they think of Tool, not by BLOWING YOUR SHITTY OPINIONS OUT OF YOUR ASS.
Good Day to you sir.
Charming! I do love a good moronic Tool Fan.
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