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Viva La Boom!

I was just talking to a fellow music writer named Jill Edmunds about our music-journalism pet peeves.

Photo by Danielle Levitt.

I was just talking to a fellow music writer named Jill Edmunds about our music-journalism pet peeves. Mine is the word “seminal,” a cliché adjective used to describe obscure yet influential bands. Not only is it overused, it’s also totally sexist! “Seminal” literally means “of, relating to, or consisting of seed or semen,” and it connotes creativity and originality. I mean, hello? It takes two to tango, and where would that little sperm be without a big, warm egg? I say, why not give “seminal” a much-needed rest and start using the female reproductive corollary instead? You could say things like: “Black Flag, the ovarian L.A. hardcore band” and “Cervical proto-riot-grrl band the Raincoats.”


Anyway, this all brings me to Jill’s pet peeve, which is when rock critics use other bands to describe a band’s sound. Example: “Like the Shaggs on acid!” or “the bastard child of Sun Ra and Air Supply!” My friend claims that most (bad) rock critics can’t describe what music actually sounds like except in comparison to other music. And while I agree with her, I don’t know if that’s such a bad thing.

Take Fanny Pack, for instance. I could describe to you the tempos and the rhyme schemes, and the machines used to produce the sounds. Or I could just say: “Sounds like L’Trimm.” And then you know that Fanny Pack sounds a lot like the teenage female rap duo from the 80s who sang “Cars with the Boom” and “Grab It.” You know that they’re kind of kitschy and cutesy-poo, but in a cool, fun way. You know that they’re young and dumb and full of bunnies.

Now how about if I add in the following phrases: bubblegum booty-bass, Apollonia 6 for tweens, and chipmunk electroclash, and I also tell you that their first single is an ode to cameltoe! You now basically know more about this band than everyone on the planet except their best friends and their publicists. Mission accomplished! This is but one of the many benefits of being derivative.

Most people use the word derivative to dis a band, implying that they suck cuz they’re not one-hundred-percent original. But I read a book about postmodernism and I know that nothing is original anymore! I say, “Viva la derivativeness!” Why reinvent the wheel when the wheel is pretty fucking great! Fanny Pack is a fun band to dance to! And they’re cute. Like I’m gonna be all hating on three teenage girls of various ethnicities trying to rap and have a little fun? I think not!!


So Stylistic

is out now on Tommy Boy.