COUNTRY

The Meat Puppets take an easy-going approach to country music. They don't sing about how much they love their family/dog/truck, they just love life. Their lyrics are often philosophical, contemplating the nature of man and his place in the universe. It'd be tempting to call them "the thinking man's slacker band," but that would be redundant, because all slackers engage in thinking from time to time. While it often appears as if slackers aren't "doing anything," they're frequently deep in thought, which is a kind of "doing something," except it's invisible. They're probably best known for these songs they played with Nirvana in their unplugged set. But Kurt Cobain took things a lot more seriously, and we all know where that led.

RAP

Most rappers have a finely honed lyrical niche. It could be life on the streets, partying, crime, conscious stuff, etc. But with the Beastie Boys, you never know what they'll rap about next.

The Beastie Boys can school you on science, religion, history, or any other subject, and still leave plenty of time for recess. Who knew rap could be such a fun way to learn about pirates?

METAL

Metal can be intimidating. It's loud and aggressive, it has some really scary album covers, and it's one of the largest and most diverse genres besides electronica (more on that later). Fear no more, because many slackers have found a home in metal. Take the Melvins, for instance.

Led by Kurt Cobain's friend and guitarist Buzz "King Buzzo" Osbourne, the Melvins are best known for their killer riffs and for being friends with Kurt Cobain. In their current line-up, they're something of a slacker super group, featuring the entirety of drum-and-bass duo Big Business for a total of two drummers. Big Business also includes the bassist from Karp, who were sometimes called "The Beastie Boys of Metal," until their drummer drowned (he was their first and only drummer) in a boating accident. While his death was tragic, at least he died doing what he loved, unlike Kurt Cobain.

I suppose that's unfair to say. Maybe Kurt Cobain really did enjoy shooting himself, but he was too depressed to tell his friends he wanted to try it because they would make fun of him. Of course real friends like the Melvins would have warned him how dangerous shooting yourself really is.

ELECTRONICA

In the fast-paced and exciting world of electronic music, there exists a vast array of genres, sub-genres, and terms to describe music that people make up just to sound important. Within this realm, slackers have made themselves at home in the style known as chillwave (aka glo-fi).

Chillwave sounds a little like Animal Collective but with lower fidelity, and instead of songs about being a dad, it's songs about being a kid. It could also be described as sounding like Ariel Pink, only more so. It's pretty experimental. Artists like Washed Out and Neon Indian combine music and video in cool new ways that place listeners inside a magical VHS world, evoking childhood memories and giving off a warm, pleasant vibe. Move over, Beach Boys! Summer has a new soundtrack!

WORLD MUSIC

Why look in five or even six places to get your world-music fix, when you could just look in one? Slacker music has got you covered with bands like Vampire Weekend.

The guys from Vampire Weekend went to Columbia, but songs like "Oxford Comma" let us (the listeners) know they don't really care about grammar ... or anything else. Who knew going to an Ivy League school could be such a breeze!

Some people have accused Vampire Weekend of being hipsters, but that simply isn't the case. They stay true to the slacker ethos of never taking things too seriously, even when confronted with fame and praise. Even their name is pretty hard to take seriously. Go on, try it.

While hipsters actually do have a lot in common with slackers, they take things a little more seriously, but not as seriously as average people. Vampire Weekend aren't hipsters, though, because hipsters don't wear shorts.

CLASSIC ROCK

Sometimes it's cool to just kick back and think about the past, but maybe you don't want to be reminded of your dad, or perhaps you have reservations about going out and experiencing the sights and smells of your favorite Pink Floyd tribute group or jam band. Well you're in luck, because the Flaming Lips are "just a little too weird" for dad, and their concerts are like those other things, only less lame.

With each new album, the Flaming Lips not only prove that rock 'n' roll didn't peak in the early '70s, but also that we're all special in our own little way. Now you may be thinking, "Wait a minute, isn't it a tad soon to be calling the Flaming Lips 'classic rock'?" Well, they may not be "classic rock" now, but they are the classic rock of the future, sort of like the Dippin' Dots of rock.

EVERYTHING ELSE

Like I mentioned before, Beck is a model slacker, and his music covers a plethora of genres, but he's not the only one. Imagine two Becks, working together. Two pre-Sea Change Becks, anyway. Well, imagine no more, because Ween exists and they totally rule.

I could post a YouTube link, but that would only give you an incomplete impression of the musical mosaic that is Ween's killer oeuvre. You'd be best off listening to all their albums as soon as possible.

As you can tell by now, slacker music encompasses a broad spectrum of sounds and styles. This is by no means a comprehensive guide to slacker music, only a brief introduction. Please feel free to send any questions or comments to the address listed below in a self-addressed stamped envelope, and remember, Mickey's Guide Service makes a great gift for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, or any occasion/lack thereof!

– David "Way Past Cool!" Valdez

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