It's Time for Hot Take Mad Libs!
Photo by Nolan Allen

It's Time for Hot Take Mad Libs!

This week's music news got you confused? Let these [ADJECTIVE] arguments spell things out for you.
June 23, 2017, 1:43pm

Over the past week or so, a staggering amount of stuff has happened in the world of music. Young Thug, Big Boi, Lorde, and 2 Chainz all dropped albums, each of which felt "important" in that lots of people who are not me decided to write about them. JAY-Z announced that he was changing the formatting of his name from "Jay Z," after having previously changed it to "Jay Z" from "Jay-Z." He also announced that he has a new album coming out next week, and an unrelated musician named Beyoncé birthed a pair of twins. An Asian-American band named The Slants won a Supreme Court case that they could keep their name—previously deemed too offensive to trademark—and simultaneously garnered enough notoriety that they probably all quit their day jobs. Spotify revealed that it would allow sponsored song placement in playlists. Desiigner's producer claimed Future sued Desiigner for sounding too much like Future, which turned out not to be true but who cares it's the internet and facts don't exist, and also they made a Ken doll with a man bun I think?


As I sat down earlier this week to write this column, the Takes—that is the time-honored writing format of "hastily slapped-together opinion containing a few hundred words about a timely thing coupled with a headline so polarizing that people end up sharing it before they actually read it"— were coming to me at a fast and furious pace. I couldn't settle on just one. So instead, I decided to use the magic of Mad Llibs to let you, the reader, write your own.

After all, it is every writer's goal to pen the hottest take of them all, one that asserts bald-faced hypotheticals as if they were objective truths and disdains nuance in favor of cold, hard clicks. By virtue of today's market-based truth metrics, if enough people click on a writer's Hot Take, it becomes codified into Objective Fact. This, my friends, is true power, and I have bestowed it upon you, with these winning formulas. Make sure you slap on a pair of fire-resistant gloves before taking part in all the fun, because these bad boys are gonna come out hot, baby!

The "Musician as Post-Modern Celebrity" Take

[ARTIST] is a [POSITIVE ADJECTIVE] musician who centers their work around [PICK ONE: DEFYING/SUBVERTING/SUBTLY PLAYING WITH/CONFORMING TO] the listener's expectations, as well as those of [SYNONYM FOR LARGE GROUP OF PEOPLE] itself. On [EARLIER SONG/PROJECT], they [RANDOM DETAIL THAT SUPPORTS ASSERTION OF PREVIOUS SENTENCE]. But on [NEW RELEASE], they [LITERALLY ANY VERB] this tendency. By engaging in active conversation with their fans via social media, [ARTIST] breaks the fourth wall put up by [ELEMENT OF THEIR MUSIC], adding another dimension to an already trenchant and vital artistic message. As a result, they have produced the [BEST/WORST] album of their career

The Secondhand "Woke" Take

Recently, [CURRENT EVENT THAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT THAT, LIKE, SORT OF HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH MUSIC]. Clearly, this should be read as a bold statement of intent that declares, [POINT RELATED TO IDENTITY POLITICS THAT THE WRITER WOULD LIKE TO MAKE]. In today's [ADJECTIVE] culture, it is problematic when [THING MOST PEOPLE FIND INNOCUOUS] occurs. For too long, we have allowed [COMMUNITY/SOCIAL GROUP THAT THE WRITER IS MOSTLY UNFAMILIAR WITH] to [RESTATE THE INNOCUOUS THING]. However, this action hurts [OTHER COMMUNITY/SOCIAL GROUP THAT THE WRITER IS MOSTLY UNFAMILIAR WITH] by trivializing and marginalizing [JUST GO TO TUMBLR AND START CLICKING AROUND UNTIL YOU FIND A GOOD THING TO COPY/PASTE IN HERE]. [POINT ABOUT IDENTITY POLITICS THAT MEMBERS OF SAID COMMUNITY/SOCIAL GROUP WOULD THEMSELVES NOT MAKE]. By criticizing this one social group that I do not belong to on behalf of another social group that ALSO I do not belong to, I have proven myself to be the dopest and wokest ally of them all. I will protect you, [GROUP THAT DOES NOT WANT OR NEED THE PROTECTION OF THE WRITER]!

The "Blindly Supportive" Take

[ARTIST] has returned from [POSITIVE NOUN] to [POSITIVE VERB] us with their [NOUN]. Though some might say there are problems with their work, I disagree. They have never done anything wrong, and anyone who feels otherwise is a/an [INSULT]. I feel that [ARTIST] is [WORD CONNOTING SUPERLATIVE]. The most important thing in the world is music, and given that this is the dopest album ever created, this is officially the most important album––and also thing––in the world. In fact, I'm actually quitting my job and have decided to follow this artist on tour. Long live [NOUN RELATED TO ARTIST, OR MAYBE JUST THEIR NAME]-[HIVE/COVEN/GAGGLE/BRANCH OF MILITARY]!

The "Takedown" Take

As a shut-in who listens to music all day, I often feel powerless and completely out of touch with the outside world. But by tearing down [ARTIST] whose music is probably pretty OK, I will gain a sense of power over them. I will also provoke their fans into sending me a bunch of mean messages on [SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM], which will make me feel a little less [WORD CONVEYING A SENSE OF BLEAKNESS]. Anyways, here goes.

For too long, people have tolerated [ARTIST] and their trite, reductive take on [GENRE]. It is time to stop. I [ARTIST] is extremely [NEGATIVE ADJECTIVE], and they should feel [NEGATIVE EMOTION]. [ISOLATED LYRIC OR BIT OF PLAYING FROM A SONG] is [NEGATIVE ADJECTIVE]. On top of that, [UNSAVORY DETAIL FROM ARTIST'S PERSONAL LIFE OR AT LEAST A BAD TWEET THEY MADE] clearly indicates they should not be given a platform, which I am in no way providing right now, from which to broadcast their suckiness.

The "Way Too Personal" Take

Music is important because it allows people to talk about themselves––or, more specifically, it allows me to talk about myself. The other day, I was [ACTIVITY MOST PEOPLE WOULDN'T EVEN TALK TO THEIR CLOSEST FRIENDS ABOUT] while listening to [ARTIST]. I was reminded of the time that [EXTREMELY INTIMATE STORY THAT WILL PROBABLY ALIENATE A BUNCH OF PEOPLE BUT THAT OTHER PEOPLE WILL RELATE TO]. Much like [ARTIST], I, too, am [THING ABOUT THE WRITER THAT THEY ARE NOW PROJECTING ON THIS ARTIST WHO THEY HAVE NEVER MET]. And much like [LINE IN SONG], I feel [EMOTION].

The "Poptimist" Take

Throughout history, it remains a truism that if enough people like a thing, it automatically becomes good. [CHART-TOPPING ARTIST] is extremely popular, so I feel an obligation to like them, and will now try to justify liking them in a way that makes me seem smart. [CHART-TOPPING ARTIST] is not unlike [HIGH CULTURE THING THE CHART-TOPPING ARTIST IS UNLIKE] in that they both do [PICK A THING].

As [HIGHBROW AUTHOR] once wrote, [SMART-SOUNDING QUOTE FROM HIGHBROW AUTHOR THAT IS OPEN-ENDED ENOUGH TO BE APPLIED TO CHART-TOPPING ARTIST], the artist I am discussing [PARAPHRASE PREVIOUS QUOTE]. Their music implicitly argues [NUANCED INTELLECTUAL POINT NOT NECESSARILY RELATED TO CHART-TOPPING ARTIST AT ALL] in a way that everyone can understand––especially after they have read my article about it.

The "Contrarian" Take

Many people assert that [ARTIST/ALBUM] is [GOOD/BAD], but they are incorrect. In fact, [ARTIST/ALBUM] is actually [BAD/GOOD], for reasons that only I see, but that I shall explain to you now. These people fail to pick up on [THING VAGUELY RELATED TO ARTIST/ALBUM], which is the actual point of their work. [ACCUSATION OF CYNICISM DIRECTED AT EITHER THE ARTIST OR CRITICS YOU DON'T AGREE WITH]. I hate to rain on everyone's parade, but [ASSERTION DESIGNED TO PRECISELY RAIN ON EVERYONE'S PARADE]. In closing, if you don't agree with me, you understand nothing.

The "This Album Is Secretly About Donald Trump" Take

Recently, Donald Trump tweeted, [RECENT @REALDONALDTRUMP TWEET]. Meanwhile, on "[NEW SONG]," [ARTIST] declares, [LINE FROM NEW SONG THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH TOPIC OF DONALD TRUMP TWEET]. America is a paranoid dystopia with an orange man-child in charge of the nuclear codes, and we need an album that [REMINDS US OF/DISTRACTS US FROM] this harsh, unstable reality. [LEFT-LEANING POLITICAL OPINION THAT ARTIST MAY OR MAY NOT AGREE WITH]. At its best, art's purpose is to help [STRONG VERB] us in the face of the world we live in, [VERB ENDING IN "ING"] us along as we resist the best we can. Clearly, [ARTIST/BAND] does this better than anyone else in the universe.

Future Days is a weekly column by Drew Millard. If you agree or disagree with what he writes, feel free to text him at 828-675-8574.

Drew Millard used to work at Noisey, but now he doesn't, so now he has this column. He lives in North Carolina with his dog. Follow him on Twitter.