Listen to me, readers: no one is infallible. Everyone does and says cringe things all the time. Things like "cringe". Your parents, your heroes, everyone you admire, every single one of them, at one point, has done, said, liked or sponsored tweeted about something embarrassing and totally shit. And I’m no different. I know I’m a hero to a lot of you out there, you youngsters, but even I have my faults.
A lot of the things we get red-faced about now happened when we were teenagers, because forget machete-wielding terrorists and crooked bankers, teenagers are the worst people alive. Pretentious, stupid, gullible, over-emotional and tasteless. The worst thing is when they haven’t even grown into their faces yet, looking like pock-marked photo fits of their future selves. Don’t believe what bleary eyed Scottish independence peddlers tell you, teenagers have nothing important to say about anything, and certainly shouldn’t be given responsibilities like deciding what is and isn't a sovereign state.
Only joking Scotland, but my point still stands: fuck the teens, and, especially, fuck me when I was a teenager. I was just as bad as you. Worse, actually, because I was so convinced that I was better than you. Like many, I was a victim of circumstance, I liked what other people like, because at least it gets you a cattle-class ticket on the Loser Express. Eventually I started drinking and having sex, and slowly realising that the sounds of Dream Theater's prog metal is not gonna go well with either of those things.
The following is a list of five absolutely god awful songs I used to listen to semi-regularly and, at the time, really enjoyed doing so. May God have mercy on my soul.
The Spill Canvas - "Polygraph, Right Now!"
If this song was entered in a worst lyrics competition, the judges would pin so many ribbons to The Spill Canvas they’d look as if they’d been given acupuncture by David Parker Ray. They are, according to Wikipedia, an “alternative acoustic” band from South Dakota, though when I listened to them they were just another plaid shirt, thick glasses and thicker fringe bunch of nobodies hoping to get their song on the end credits of Smallville. Their song “Polygraph, Right Now!”, with its title encapsulating that grating emo syntax, is terrible from the get-go. “Fate is an elegant, cold hearted whore” sings a nasally American, who must have gotten his lyrical inspiration from screenshots of hot girls MSN screen names in 2005. This what I used to think feelings sounded like.
Behold… The Arctopus - "Canada"
I dunno about you guys, but around the time atheism started to become an active fixture in my young life, I started listening to music that was based only in logic and reality. Music whose only redeeming quality, even to its fans, is that it’s technically supreme. “The rapid key changes,” I would tell people, “the time signatures,” as if complexity was the antithesis of shittiness. These Brooklyn boys are perhaps most famous for a performance on YouTube sarcastically entitled ‘Greatest Band In The World’, where they play their ludicrously complicated song “Alcoholocaust” to great ire in the comments section.
I was more about “Canada” though, a horrible tune, truly, that serves only to confuse and disorientate. The CIA probably used it as torture in between car battery sodomy and forced reading of The Huffington Post.
Babybird - "You’re Gorgeous"
Now I didn’t explicitly
listen to this song, it was just on around the time when sounds first started to become memorable. It exists in a sort of non-genre, 90s blur of noise like Simply Red. But Simply Red it is not, Mick Hucknall wouldn’t piss on this CD if it was in the toilet and he was busting for a boiling hot chlamydia slash. “You’re Gorgeous” is everything that’s bad about that era of music: the limp xylo-melody, the slovenly vocal, the terrible, terrible lyrics. It sounds like being extremely bored and going a bit mad as a result, your brain cools down and singer Stephen Jones curls up for a nap inside it, lazily parping his flimsy hooks out.
Forever The Sickest Kids - Whoah Oh (Me Vs Everyone)
I used to be a bit obsessed with this song, not because I loved it, but I could just never remember the name of it or who it was by. It’s so phenomenally forgettable in every facet that, though enjoying it at the time, it was as if I’d been neuralysed by Tommy Lee Jones immediately afterwards. Years of searching on YouTube yielding no results, asking people what that weird song with the drag race video was. The fucking thing has four million views, four million shit pop-punk acolytes like me keeping the ceremonial flame of dogshit American bands lit. The whole band look like actors, occupying numerous roles in various coming of age films. And it’s a fantastic example of keyboard-player-not-knowing-what-to-do-in-a-music-video - the guy is literally holding his non-occupied hand next to his torso like he lost the ability to use it properly in a motorcycle accident.
Grindie Vol. 1
Oh boy. This is giving me palpitations. More of an ‘hour long compilation’ than a song but it deserves a mention nonetheless. I was always more of a grime lad than an indie one growing up, sharing Roll Deep tracks on infra-red instead of sneaking into White Heat, but I knew the hits. Larrikin Love, The Rakes, The Kills - they were in the periphery, but they came goose stepping straight into my cerebral cortex when Statik released the absolute behemoth of garbage that was Grindie Vol 1. A totally unnecessary and bemusing cavalcade of incredibly bad ideas, remixes, mashups, features and drops. It is the musical example of Manifest Destiny, the creeping, cancerous expansion of the white man’s culture knowing no limits. Though if anything it’s grime who should be ashamed here. Why would they want to garner favour with apathetic Libertines-jacket-wearing peoples?
So there you have it. We all make mistakes. Remember that next time you think having a moderately obscure Spotify playlist makes you a 'crate digger'. You're just as much of a ponce as everyone else.