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L.A. Beat

Me? A Critic?

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A stranger asked me the other day, as a trivial conversation starter, "So what kind of music do you like?"
I suppressed a smile and replied, "A better question would actually be what kind of music don't I like. That would result in a much shorter list."
For the truth is, I am a music lover - but even I have my limits. Certain types of music to me are boring, uninspired, offensive or just downright stupid.

For example, I don't care much for the newest form of night/dance club music; including the house and crunk genres. I love electronic music; and can lose myself in its many forms. But with the added imposition of cheesy female vocals about love; gangsta rap lyrics about GATs and 9's and repetitive megaphone style shouts for better bigger booty shakin', just manage to ruin it for me. Silly songs about hamsters and thongs seem to drain my IQ points, and it seems like that vocoder/voice modulator device is everywhere. (I blame both Cher and Kanye West equally for this.)

Most of the lyrics are disguised beneath this vocal distortion, all modulated to come across pitch-perfect, robotic and emotionless. As for the electronic music that I do like; that I dance around the house and bang out to; well, they just don't play that at bars here. Which is really a shame; for there are a ton of great electronic music artists out there right now. Artists like Caribou, Justice, MSTRKFRT - and a thousand others that pack dance floors around the world. Everywhere but here, of course.

I don't care much for a lot of modern-day country music, for it seems too much like standard pop or rock music now, with just a sprinkle of fiddle added or a trace of a southern drawl. I like my country music to be real, earthy and experienced. World weary and wise with tales of great adversity and struggle; all told from a personal perspective years after the fact.

Give me Cash and Nelson, Hank Williams and Johnny Horton - guys who rode trains across country and slept on the ground if a friend didn't have a spare mattress. Give me Cline and Lynn, Kitty Wells and even modern ladies like Neko Case and Emmylou Harris; righteous women that have loved and lost and loved and may never love again. Give me straight up country music about times and people and places I'll never know; add some horses and trucks and starry nights and I then I like the country. There are some great country musicians keeping that old style alive today; Corb Lund, Fred Eaglesmith, Dierks Bentley and Ridley Bent; just to name a few. Check 'em out - you won't regret it.

I don't care much for the genres known as screamo, emo or metalcore; for I think they just all start to sound identical after two or three songs. Music I imagine is made by sad bastards who just got dumped, probably because they still live in their parent's basement. I don't care much for crazy death metal vocals or for high-pitched metal screaming a la King Diamond and Iron Maiden.

I don't care much for the strange experimental drone stuff that is like a massage for my brain, or for the avant-garde jazz musicians that can't seem to play the same chord twice. While I can appreciate it as some form of musical art, it doesn't mean I like it. I don't care much for certain bleached-blonde female musicians with skinny ties and skinnier legs, whose idea of music involves ripping off other songwriters and laying down immature bedroom lyrics over top of 'borrowed' samples. Lastly, I don't care much for music made by for smooth jazz artists like Kenny G and Yanni, music to "Hold Please" or get stuck in an elevator ride to Hell.
So having said all of this, if the question was, "What kind of music do I like?", then the answer is simple: I like everything else.

— By Chris Hibbard, Music Lover,  special To L.A. Beat
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