Musical Dealbreakers

Posted on 10.05.2011


Today I was sampling the new Eminem CD. I haven’t really bothered with Em in a while, but thanks to all of this so-called critical acclaim he’s receiving lately for this ‘wonderful’ new album (and a friend that sent me a copy to check out) I figured I’d give it a shot.

The album turned me off pretty quickly, and it was then that I remembered why exactly I don’t bother with Mr. Mathers: I don’t care whether it’s true or not, if it’s your image, or your real belief: I have a vagina. Misogyny sends me running.

This got me thinking of what I like to refer to as ‘musical deal-breakers’. Much like the kind in relationships, there are certain things that I really just don’t bother myself with when it comes to what goes into my ears. Since I generally remember everything I hear, it’s important to not hear a lot of shit.

My relationship deal-breakers are pretty cut and dry, possibly even normal. The successful candidate must be gainfully employed, a good human being, accepting, open-minded and have similar tastes/interests. It’s also important that we agree on things like religion, international affairs and humans in general. If we don’t agree, the candidate must be able to logically discuss our differences without the discussion ending in ‘fuck you, you’re stupid and wrong’.

This means that if you think my volunteer work at the animal shelter is stupid, you’re out. Want to raise the kids as Orthodox ANYTHING? Gone. Think my arts degree was a waste of time? Just walk away. Racist? Step off.

My musical deal-breakers are pretty cut and dry as well, I think. I’d even go so far as to call them normal: The music that I listen to can’t be overly misogynistic, have bad lyrics or suck. You also can’t spend a whole song OR album complaining about one thing or praising jebus.

That’s pretty easy, right? I noticed misogyny pretty early-on. I remember being in middle school and reading the lyrics inside my Snoop Dogg Doggystyle tape case. Why were women ‘bitches’ and ‘ho’s’? I couldn’t quite put my finger on why this hit me so hard even then, since I didn’t have a lot of experience with the idea itself, but after reading similar things from NWA and a few others, I was sent running into the open arms of electronica and industrial.

I can appreciate the music now, for what it is and what it did for music in general, but you won’t catch me quoting any of the above-mentioned bands for a reason. Snoop’s gotten a little better in his old/daddy age, but still. The proof is in the reels of tape. I don’t care if it was just an image. I’ve got no need to support an image OR an ideology.

As for bad lyrics, that’s a given for anyone that reads my weekly column. I read the lyrics. I make sense of them. I do the research. And there are just some bands that can’t write for shit. And as soon as I recognize that the lyrics just don’t work (I am looking at you, Owl City and Vanessa Carlton), I can’t listen to the song without cringing.

Complaints cancels out almost 75% of country music, and I’m ok with that. I’m not a fan of jesus in my music. If I want to hear a sermon, I’ll go to church.


So what are your musical deal-breakers?

Posted in: music