The Blacklist

Let us now discuss the introspective, esoteric, head-bobbing, fist-pumping, booty-shaking, genre-defying mélange of the Rock Critic Cliché milieu. (Riffage. Let us also discuss riffage.)

As with any other, this profession suffers from its own unique lexicon of ridiculous, impenetrable jargon. I am certainly not immune to this disease, nor can I suggest a foolproof cure. But perhaps I can diagnose specific viruses and prescribe medicine for, say, lousy metaphors. (Gotta knock it off with the lousy metaphors, too.) Here is a primer for what music critics mean to say when they attempt to say what they mean:

Angular: Frequently describes guitars that sound, well, pointy. Sharp, unpleasant, of or like Fugazi.

Listenable: “I didn’t like it.”

Unlistenable: “I didn’t listen to it.”

Seminal: “I sold it for $5 without listening to it, but then everyone else wrote about it, so I had to buy it back for $12 and pretend I liked it.”

Minimalist: Describes any song that does not employ a full string orchestra. “Hall & Oates’ ‘I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)’ is a seminal slab of minimalist pop.”

Slab: Indeed.

Danceable: “I couldn’t dance competently if my pants were on fire.”

Radio-ready: “This is the only song I remember.”

Anthemic: Really, really radio-ready.

Jangly: Fate intertwined with R.E.M. Adios.

Drops, e.g., “Tone Loc’s new album drops February 1”: Knock it off — you’re white.

Wheels of steel, as opposed to turntables: White, white, white, white, white.

Lush: Boring.

Soundscapes: Pretentious.

Swirling: Conjures lush soundscapes of boring pretentiousness.

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!”

Crunk: White, white, white, white, white, white, white, white.

Beatlesque: (Fires rocket launcher at head.)

-esque/ish: “Dude, I gotta finish this. Aqua Teen Hunger Force starts in 20 minutes.”

Like on acid: “Dude, that giant bag of fries totally just said, ‘Crunk.'”

Categories: Music