Like Clichés on Acid

Let us now discuss the labyrinthine, in-your-face, introspective, esoteric, head-bobbing, fist-pumping, booty-shaking, genre-defying mélange of the Rock Critic Cliché milieu.

(Riffage. Let us also discuss riffage.)

Next time you spot one of these doofuses at a party (rifling through the host's CD collection, pilfering all the Cheetos, sulking despondently in a darkened corner), ask him/her/me to describe a band, a song, a genre. Verbally. In actual, human, face-to-face conversation. Then prepare for an onslaught of nonsense. Like any other, this profession suffers from its own unique lexicon of ridiculous, impenetrable jargon.


Music critic lingo

As we behold 2006's shimmering, hypnotic, melodic dawn, I pledge to you: Every word noted below, I will never use again after this week.

Angular: Frequently describes guitars that sound, well, pointy. Sharp, unpleasant, of or like Fugazi. As opposed to circular, which is a whole other can of corn.

Can of corn: Sorry.

Coruscating: Really, really angular.

Listenable: "I didn't like it."

Unlistenable: "I didn't listen to it."

Seminal: "I sold it back for five dollars without listening to it, but then everyone else wrote about it, so I had to buy it back for twelve dollars and pretend I liked it."

Warrants repeated listens: "Though I haven't yet listened to it, I assume it will be seminal."

Minimalist: Describes any song that does not employ a full string orchestra. "Hall & Oates's 'I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)' is a seminal, coruscating slab of minimalist pop."

Slab: Indeed.

Danceable: "I couldn't dance competently if my pants were on fire."

Nervous funk: Attempted dance music that inadvertently induces vomiting.

Lush: Boring.

Soundscapes: Pretentious.

Cerebral: Yes, sir, Brian Eno is smarter than you.

Cinematic: What — like Meatballs?

Eclectic: "From polka to bluegrass to baile funk to death metal! It's a floor wax and a dessert topping!"

Jazzy: Sounds nothing whatsoever like jazz.

_____ -esque/ish: "Dude, I gotta finish this: Aqua Teen Hunger Force starts in twenty minutes."

Like _____ on acid: "Dude, that giant bag of fries totally just said, 'Crunk.'"

_____ meets _____ with a tinge of _____: "Dude, this show is like Bugs Bunny on acid."

Wanton hyphen overuse: An ordinarily calm writer friend of mine flies into a rage whenever this technique is employed. Specifically he refers to it as "I-can't-think-of-what-to-write-so-it's-time-to-just-say-'fuck-it'-and-hyphenate-the-shit-out-of-a-whole-mess-of-words-that-might-come-close-to-an-accurate-description-of-something-that-I-might-be-able-to-work-out-myself-if-I-read-real-books-instead-of-Spin-while-I-go-poo-poo." He'll be fine, honest.

Wanton: Not yet. I still really like wanton.


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