Group Feature: Bands We Pretend to Like Because We Think We Should
In the realm of alternative and subversive music lovers, there's a strange, unspoken rule about tirelessly defending and worshipping a certain class of bands. If you happen to feel contrary to the worship of these particular bands and artists, it becomes a precarious situation in which you feel as if you cannot say a single bad word about the artist without becoming a social pariah or losing some of your "hip cred," whatever the hell that means. I think it comes down to the fact that in every one of our hearts' there's a kid terrified of being uncool, of being the last one picked in gym class. Luckily for you, we've convinced some of our writers to fess up to pretending to like bands all for the sake of preserving an image of cool; now you can too! Tweet @ACRN with a band you pretend to like because you feel obligated to.
Girlpool: Abbie Doyle, Editorial Director
I just can't fully get on the Girlpool bandwagon. There are several aspects of Girlpool I am totally on board with--two cool chicks making tunes, turning heads and taking names. That is all great and fantastic; I wish it was an accomplishment I had under my belt. I am positive both Harmony and Cleo have wonderful musical paths ahead of them, which is why I can forgive Girlpool's music for boring me so thoroughly. These pups need time to grow and develop a sound that is a tad less mundane. I truly wish I was satisfied by the minimalistic effort Girlpool has cultivated, because the band itself is a great thing to exist in the industry limelight. The fact of the matter is there's not enough stimulation to keep me interested and I'm rarely in the mood to feel like a sad teenage girl. I'm sorry. I wish I could dig it. I can't dig it.
Spooky Black/Corbin: Megan Fair, Features Editor
I feel I've been silent on the matter for long enough, so I'm just going to say it: Spooky Black truly sucks eggs. There is not one thing even remotely challenging or interesting about Spooky Black (Or Corbin, whatever the heck he goes by now) and his music, and it confuses me to no end why publications like Noisey seem to worship the mediocre songwriting and lackluster vocals. The vocals are not silky smooth, nor are they particularly emotive--there's nothing there to geek out about. Corbin/Spooky Black's music would put me to sleep if it didn't arouse an unbridled rage in my chest as to why people hype his averageness to an unnerving extreme. To me, it feels like Corbin is just a boring white kid using a kind of awful name and trying to cash in or live through RnB with his truly just okay tunes.
Radiohead: Alexa Smith, Staff Writer
About 2/5 parties have some conversation taking place in which people are discussing which Radiohead album is best--it's already understood that Radiohead is a group of truly outstanding musicians, legends of alternative rock.
“Oh yeah, OK Computer is nuts,” I find myself saying, when really, to me, it was just OK. I don’t believe that Radiohead was a revolutionary rock band. Their sound is static, with lyrics often whiny and pretentious. This is simply my opinion, but I really do need to stop faking my like of them. I suppose it’s just habit, as well as my extreme desire to not get into an argument about it.
I don’t freak out for Thom Yorke, or In Rainbows, or any of it. It’s just OK, it's just alright. I respect those who love Radiohead, and I see why, but the band just does not give me the shivers like I know music can.
TWIABP&IANLATD: Eli Schoop, Contributor
Musically, I couldn't care less about The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid To Die. They're middle of the road emo with slight post-rock influences, and there's nothing wrong with liking that. However, where I draw the line with TWIABP is their whole atmosphere. As irrational as my hatred for the band is, I cannot stand their social media presence (your Tumblr ask answers are not funny), their detached version of grandeur, and the one concert they headlined I saw, they had a slam poetry guy. It was as embarrassing and trite as it sounds. Plenty of guitar music is overrated by a voracious, all-consuming fanbase (I'm looking at you Tame Impala...) but when that fanbase is the most boring yet devoted cull of individuals this side of La Dispute, it's grating to say the least. It is very fun to hate this milquetoast band honestly, and as long as I live in a place so fixated on DIY, I will get chances to roast TWIABP.
The Weeknd: Kenyetta Whitfield, Contributor
Though I try my hardest to keep an open-mind musically, I find myself presented with recording artists that excite me about as much as cabbage excites a two-year-old. The Weeknd is no exception to this feeling.
When the ominous alternative RnB singer became the talk of the town, I was a naïve ninth grader with little knowledge or interest in the artist. Fast forward five years and the indifference has lessened to an even lower degree. The only difference is, more people know about the singer, and his free form dreads continuously grace my social media feeds.
There is no one thing I exceptionally hate about the singer. His tunes are just lackluster to me. They aren’t bad, in fact they are probably exceptional, but they leave me yawning. Mind-numbingly forcing myself to care about the “I Can’t Feel My Face" singer's songs is tiresome. Song after song, the same sultry theme. We get it Mr. Weeknd, you could get the infamous “it” any night of the week including the weekend.
The Mountain Goats: Jenn Castenada, Contributor
Sometimes you meet people who you instantly connect with on different levels and you truly believe you were meant to be together for at least the next year or so just because you both have the same taste in music. Everything is peachy, you share music you both love with each other thinking the other will also enjoy it until one day your beloved decides to introduce you to The Mountain Goats.
“Oh my god babe. I totally love the Mountain Goats! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of them before, they’re amazing. I cannot wait to listen to some more of their songs,” and I did. I spent three hours after listening to the five songs they recommended and I still could not find what compelled someone to like the Mountain Goats. I knew then that I was going to hell for lying.
I couldn’t, nor can I, get over John Darnielle’s voice. It’s too nasally and he quavers way too much. Granted, there are some songs he has that make you feel things, like sadness, because it’s two in the morning and you’re listening to a middle-aged man sing about his past and why his life sucks more than yours. Life isn’t great, get over it, John.
The relationship never did work out: he still loves the Mountain Goats, and I am learning to love myself--the first step in this is admitting I hate the Mountain Goats.
Twenty One Pilots: Haadiza Ogwude, Contributor
For a year, I pretended to know and like the band Twenty One Pilots because a lot of people I met at college really liked them, and I didn’t want to seem uncool. A few weeks ago, I finally decided to take the plunge and listen to Twenty One Pilots after they had been brought up in conversation for the millionth time. The first song I listened to was “Doubt,” and my first reaction was, "What the hell?"
I listened to about three more songs and concluded that this was one of the worst bands I had ever heard. I looked up reviews of the band online and was confused by the general love everyone seemed to have for the band. To this day I’m astonished by the fandemonium. I truly think Twenty One Pilots has one of the worst sounds of this generation. What I dislike the most about Twenty One Pilots is their way of mixing multiple genres into a song. I think their music sounds chaotic, and a lot of their songs also include rapping, which I don’t like. The flow of the rap is off-beat and the lyrics are corny. Twenty One Pilots is honestly just terrible.
FIDLAR: Jonathan Fuchs, Contributor
I used to consider myself a fan of a punk band called FIDLAR, and for good reasons, since over the years they’ve received massive critical acclaim and a well deserved fan base, and I still really like their sound, energy and talent. But I started to pay more attention to their lyrics when I saw them at the 2015 Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta, GA. They started the show with their song “Stoked and Broke” where they proclaim, “I just wanna get really high / Smoke weed until I die,” a line I enjoy because of its ridiculousness. By the time they transitioned to “No Waves,” a song about shooting up and feeling like a crackhead, I started to get very annoyed. A little later one of the members yelled into his microphone, “ANYBODY HERE SMOKIN’ WEED?!?!?!?!?!” And that was when I realized that FIDLAR has the most boring and redundant lyrics I’ve ever heard.
Every song is about drugs, none of it is interesting, and any of the lyrics from one song could be replaced with the lyrics from another. Having these kinds of lyrics isn’t a problem, but it can be when it’s the only thing that differs you from any other punk band in recent memory. But for some reason, whenever someone mentions FIDLAR in a conversation, I have an instinct inside me that always goes, “I LOVE THAT BAND!!” But really, I think they’re just some other uninteresting, redundant punk band.
The White Stripes: Braeden McClain, Contributor
Every great group has its weak link. The Rat Pack had Joey Bishop, NWA had Arabian Prince, even The Beatles are guilty with Ringo. But these groups each had other members to draw attention away from their less talented counterparts. This doesn’t work when in smaller groups, because the weak link becomes much more apparent. So in the case of a duo, such as The White Stripes, not even Jack White being a guitar god could distract us from Meg’s extraordinarily average drumming.
In an interview in 2005, Jack said about one of the band’s first set playing together, “I played guitar while she kind of just sat at the drum, playing like a child." This says so much about their dynamic; Jack was infamous for seemingly talking for Meg as she sat there and nodded. Funny enough, this is exactly how I view them as a band. We see Jack shredding on guitar and smiling at Meg as she is playing on her first drum kit. With half of the band being an elementary musician, it’s hard to respect them technically. That being said, Jack is one of the greatest artists of the 21st century. His solo work (namely Blunderbuss) is absolutely fantastic. Sadly, this is exactly their problem. The juxtaposition between Jack’s skill and Meg’s middle-school drum lessons clashes painfully. Some claim Meg White’s playing gives The White Stripes a sense of minimalism, but it just proves her to be the weak link. The problem is that weak link is half of the band, making The White Stripes, half of a fantastic band, also half really mediocre.
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