NO LIKEE: Trends That Suck

Written by John DeGroff on January 30, 2015

This is going to be a slightly different offering than my usual material.  This time out, I want to take a brief look at a few specific “cultural phenomena”…or trends, that suck.  

I’m going to forgo the obvious, political-centric things such as political correctness, voter fraud and liberalism in general.  No, I want to focus on day-to-day weirdness that is truly asinine  when you really stop and look at it.  

I have chosen to place these trends into two distinct categories:  musical and non-musical.  The musical is because I have spent the greater part of my years on this planet as a working musician.  Music is what I sort of naturally gravitate towards and spend the most time pursuing.  The non-musical are trends that just seem a waste of time. 

So, let’s start there. 
* Zombies.  I’m sick and tired of seeing something having to do with zombies…movies, TV, cartoons, video games, etc.  Granted, what is considered the original zombie movie, 1932’s White Zombie is regarded as the precursor to George Romero’s classic Night Of The Living Dead (1968).  But the trend has gotten out of hand.  I’ve met more than one college educated professional who believes that a zombie apocalypse is possible.  
* Speaking of movies…there’s also enough vampire movies already.  They truly jumped the shark with this idea when Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter was made. 
* Speaking of movies yet again…the trend of movie franchises that seem to go on forever is annoying.  Are we up to Rocky XXIX by now or what?  And the idea of Disney continuing Star Wars?   Of course the jury’s still out on that, but really? 
* I Books.  Maybe I’m old fashioned and out of touch, but I don’t get the concept of buying a device then having to purchase content for the device just to be able to read.  Just buy the book or go to the library.  
* e cigarettes.  You know the commercial where the guy says, “We’re all adults here.  It’s time we took back our freedom.”  Really?  Puffing on a vapor device that’s one click above being a toy is taking back your freedom?  Okay, so smoking is not the healthiest thing you can do, but we’re “all adults here”, right?  Make your choice and stick with it…and respect my choice as well. 
* Selfies.  Why is it now deemed necessary to document every single moment of your day?  I’m going to include texting and Twitter here also.  Has society become so narcissistic that that not only visual images but every tiny synapse that courses through your brain now has to be out there for public consumption?  Whatever happened to physical, face-to-face conversation?  Overuse of cell phones for everything gets to be annoying. 
* Posting food pictures.  Why?   At least (I hope…) no one post before and after pictures of lunch.  
* Reality TV.  This is an entire discussion by itself.  Reality TV seems to fall into sub-categories: how to find it, how to fix it, how to appraise it, how to sell it, how to cook it.  Then there are the endless competition shows, the people who live on the fringes of society shows, the true crime shows, and the unreal housewives from anywhere shows.  Enough already.  I’m sticking to the news (Fox) and the classic TV channel. 
That is my short list of non-musical trends that suck.  I know anyone who reads this can add to it.  Have at it. I’d like to see the results.  
Now, for the musical trends that suck.  As I’ve stated, music (along with writing), is the only thing I know how to do moderately well.  Give me a set of tools and the only thing that gets done is a trip to the emergency room.  So, with the clear understanding that most modern music sucks, here goes: 
* Real absence of good musicianship.  Every current band and artist pretty much sounds the same.  There’s no real distinct guitar playing anymore, or keyboards for that matter.  You want to hear good guitar and keyboard playing?   Listen to jazz or blues, and country to a lesser extent.  Modern music is why all the classic bands from the ’60’s and ’70’s are reforming and touring…successfully. 
* Woo, woo, woo.  How many times have you heard woo, woo, woo in a current song?  What happened to the ability to write real lyrics? 
* Use of the vocoder (or pitch blender or voice modulator).  This device is everywhere.  It was first developed in the 1930’s as a telecommunication application.  By the late ’60’s and into the 1970’s, it was found in high end recording studios as a means to correct vocal flaws.  As with everything electronic, it’s now smaller and less expensive.  Consequently, it’s everywhere.  
* Boy bands.  I take real issue with calling these groups “bands”.  The use of the word “band” implies the ability to play an instrument.  No problem with calling them what they are, a vocal group.  Please, just don’t call them a “band” and insult real musicians.  
* Remix CDs.  This is another head scratcher that makes me say “Why?”  Why do we need 16 versions of the same song on as single disc?  Is this so a DJ can put the disc on, then leave the club for dinner, have his oil changed and maybe do some shopping and still make it back before the last track plays? 
* Multiple producers.  Have you read the insert to any CD lately?  A lot of new singers/artists now have more than one producer involved.  Some artists use a different producer on every tune.  Why?  Not only does it add to the project’s cost, but it takes longer to record and can mess with a project’s continuity. 
* Inclusion of rap where it doesn’t need to be.  I find this to be the single most sucky trend in music.  Why in the name of everything holy would a singer with a good voice, a loyal fan base, and who has found or written a great song, want to stick a rap in the middle?  Does the rapper involved have a photo of the singer in a compromising position with an underage farm animal?  I mean, really, putting rap in the middle of an otherwise good song is like spending $100 on a beautiful wedding or birthday cake and then topping it off with a turd.  No one would do that.  There’s no logical reason for rap in a good song.  
Okay, thanks for letting me rant a bit. I’m confident there are trends I’ve missed, or trends yet to come that might warrant a second installment.  



John DeGroff
John DeGroff is the original bass player for the Christian rock band Petra. He currently plays for the band GHF which is comprised of other original members from Petra. DeGroff has extensive experience as a freelance music journalist and newspaper reporter as well as an on-line music reviewer. He is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and lives in Warsaw, Indiana where he is employed as a care giver for mentally challenged adults.