Group Feature: Bands We're Afraid to Admit We Like, Part 1
At the heart of every "cool kid," every "alternative" young adult is a dorky soul with guilty pleasures. Here at ACRN Media, we don't think ANYTHING should be a guilty pleasure. Even though we're familiar with that naturally anxious sweat that follows the realization you've been listening to RiFF RAFF while your Spotify is public, we think it's time to smash the notion that some things are cool and others are not. That's why we conned our writers into admitting what cool band they pretended to like but hate, and the same reason why we've conned our staffers into spilling what bands they're afraid to admit they like. Death to coolness, somebody put on some Fall Out Boy!
Abbie Doyle, Editorial Director: Goo Goo Dolls
Ahh, the Goo Goo Dolls. A staple of my formative years as a sad, thoughtful and lonely young person. Who's to say why the Goo Goo Dolls struck such a cord within my sensitive heart? Why I felt that those vague lyrics about loving another person were so relevant to my life, I have absolutely no idea; my romantic investments extended to Naruto and that was about it.
But dang it, I was a delicate weirdo with poor judgment; "Name," "Acoustic #3," "Black Balloon" and "Iris" felt like they were written for me when in reality, they were written for the masses gobbling up CW programs and radio singles. Whatever, I don't care; if I were to have a down-in-the-dumps day, I could blast the GGD and actually feel better. And I can respect that. I have always been lame, I will always be lame and I'm fine with it.
Sammi Nelson, Blogs Editor: The Used
Flashback to seventh grade: I’m getting ready for school while tuning into MTV2 to listen to music as I search for the perfect band t-shirt and jeans to wear that day. I’m probably about to apply a heavy dose of black eyeliner to my eyelids when I hear something that I think is magical and extravagantly edgy: “The Bird and the Worm” by The Used.
I got into them almost immediately. For hours I would listen to their albums, such as their self-titled, In Love and Death and Lies for the Liars. Hell, when Artwork came out in 2009 I listened to it as well, but never as much as those first three albums. Anything after that I didn’t mess with because I knew that they wouldn’t be the same (I did try, for the record).
It was difficult for me to like The Used back then because of their tension with My Chemical Romance (which was my favorite band), but I managed. My favorite songs included “Greener with the Scenery,” “Sound Effects and Overdramatics” and classics like “A Box Full of Sharp Objects,” “The Taste of Ink” and “The Bird and the Worm.”
I can honestly say that I was blushing as I wrote everything above. They were (and are) pretty terrible.* But, to this day, I will jam out to the songs that I loved so much as a young teenager. I actually still have an old The Used band t-shirt from middle school that I still wear to this day (for sleeping and exercising purposes exclusively).
*Editor's Note: Sammi is wrong, The Used ruled/rules, whatever.
Eli Shively, Contributor: Dave Matthews Band
In terms of fan base alone, it wouldn’t surprise me if Dave Matthews Band are one of the most hated musical groups on the planet today. Their shows reek of controlled substances and are mostly populated by craft beer-drinking dads and 60-year-old hippie couples that still make time to mourn Jerry Garcia every night before bed. Every time DMB is brought up in conversation between two or more “music people,” a series of groans and gripes occur--usually including, but not limited to, multiple stories of obsessed coworkers and complaints of how overrated they are. So why on earth would I choose to defend them?
Maybe it’s a nostalgia thing, as both “Crash” and “Under The Table And Dreaming” were huge parts of my musical upbringing. However, I also like to think that everyone who’s quote-unquote “into music” tends to overlook the integrity and artistry of everyone’s favorite band to hate. I’m not saying they’re Radiohead or anything, but--have you ever noticed just how good they are at their instruments? Carter Beauford is easily one of the best rock drummers of the past twenty years, and come on, 15-minute jams just don’t make themselves, people. When I look at what Dave Matthews Band has done over their career, I don’t necessarily see a band that deserves universal praise; however, their ability to bring a wide range of musical colors and ideas to the mainstream speaks to their talent as group…whether or not anyone wants to admit it.
Kimberly Reynolds, Contributor: Foster the People
Imagine you are driving with some friends to try out that Taco Bell A.M. Crunchwrap. You throw on the alternative radio station, of course, and “Pumped Up Kicks” comes on…
Do you decide to begin singing and dancing to the spacey beats or do you skirt the possibility of coming off as a bad hipster and suggest to change the station for something not so 2011? Me, I would unapologetically sing and dance like those five fans did in the video for “Pumped Up Kicks.” Foster the People’s debut album Torches was undeniably catchy. Tracks like “Helena Beat,” “Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls),” and “Houdini” can really get you moving and singing lyrics that don’t necessarily make sense.
Unfortunately, Foster the People reached that level where they were played so consistently on the radio and licensed a handful of songs to Gossip Girl, that they reached peak hipster status. They were the cool band to like and were incredibly accessible.
As for me, I really loved Torches and thought it was very inventive. Their follow-up album Supermodel is pretty good too if this review has reminded you of the good old days. I’m still singing and dancing to “Pumped Up Kicks” to this day.
Van Williams, Contributor: 3 Doors Down
Butt-rock, a term thrown around by the musically elite, the holders of the iPod Classic, those spinning their newest The World Is record on their turntables. I fit into all of these stereotypes, including those who use the phrase butt-rock and scoff at the mentions of bands like Creed, or Shinedown. Their awful take on modern grunge music, their flimsy lyrics, and their often cringeworthy vocal deliveries are enough to make most people turn off the radio, or whatever device they happen to be listening on.
Despite all of this, I can feel the corners of my mouth start to turn up when I hear the opening notes of “Kryptonite.” 3 Doors Down are, in a lot of ways, a band that is just as easy to laugh at as the Seethers, the Puddle of Mudds, and the Alter Bridges. Regardless, when I am with my friends from back home and I hear, “IF I COULD BE LIKE THAT, WELL I WOULD GIVE ANYTHING JUST TO LIVE ONE DAY,” I can’t help but to smile and sing along. Call it nostalgia, call it what you will, but if you put on a 3 Doors Down record, you’ll hear complaints, but they won’t be from me.
Travis Boswell, Staff Writer: Escape the Fate
For reasons unknown to even me, I loved metalcore in high school. I don't go to many metal shows now, but I keep up with several bands from the early 2000s.
One band that I still love but won't admit in polite company is Escape The Fate. Not much sets them aside from their contemporaries, but their first album is a blast.
"Situations" has the brilliantly bad lyric, "I love the girls who hate to love / Because they're just like me,” but is also an excellent Motley Crue-esque pop metal song. "The Guillotine" ends with satisfying, brutal breakdown...and growls so overprocessed that they sound completely fake. If you can't growl deep enough, call in a backup singer. No one's judging you!
I don't think ETF gets much respect these days, so I try to not bring them up when involved in intense musical debates. But I will never delete them from my iTunes.