Some things in life serve only to induce rage. No matter how small these annoyances may be, they are never insignificant. 'Rant List' is the chronicle of one self-loathing narcissist's seemingly unending pettiness.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

72. Lazy and uninspired sampling

^No, seriously. What the hell is this? It's like the Black Eyed Peas threw up on Lady Sovereign and then let it fester for several years.

Sampling can be awesome. Seriously awesome, at that. Take Paul's Boutique by the Beastie Boys, for instance. All of the music accompanying those hilarious crackers' rapping is patch-worked together from a wealth of funk, rock and pop records. Just little, tiny and vaguely familiar snippets of moderately well known songs elegantly sewn together to create a brand new tapestry of sound that, rather than sounding derivative, breathes new life in to soundbites from the past. It really is something special. In the space of the song 'Shake Your Rump', the Boys rattle through bits of Led Zeppelin, The Supremes, James Brown and Sugarhill Gang amongst others. It doesn't sound like plagiarism, it's just an inventive means of mixing together old sounds to make something new. Fantastic.

Of course, the Beastie Boys (and, by extension, the Dust Brothers) aren't the only ones do the whole sampling thing pretty well. I think even Aerosmith would agree this version of 'Walk This Way' is the definitive one (no, it's not the Sugababes / Girls Aloud one, you spoonknocker). Furthermore, one need only look at the relatively simple sample usage on The Prodigy's Fat of the Land to see that the technique was still being used to good effect in the late '90s. But come the 21st century, something went horribly, horribly wrong.

Simply put, there is nothing inventive about taking the lead chorus hook of a song, stuffing it in your own song and rapping before and after it. This isn't exactly new, as 'Can't Touch This' and 'Ice Ice Baby' depressingly confirm, but at least they only took bass lines. They didn't bastardise an entire chorus with autotune and altered lyrics like the monstrosity featured above. There's a befuddling sense of audacity that comes with these songs, however. I could probably live with it if the musicians were claiming it was a cover or remix - you've got the main fundamentals of the original song, but you've updated it with a modern flair. You know, like that version of 'Sun Is Shining' by Bob Marley Vs. Funkstar Deluxe. Or that Elvis Vs. JXL version of 'A Little Less Conversation'. As amusing a form of giving credit the 'Artist Vs. Artist' tag is, at least it seems to show some respect for the original track and an acknowledgement that the modern artist knows they didn't write the song.

Call me a music elitist, because I probably am, but there is something inherently wrong with people thinking that the Black Eyed Peas were in anyway responsible for the only good bits of their song 'Pump It' - namely, the instrumentals of Dick Dale's 'Misirlou'. Or that Flo Rida had anything to do with Dead Or Alive's 'You Spin Me Right Round (Like A Record)'* - he could barely be arsed to change the name on 'Right Round'. Or indeed, that Cher Lloyd, the gobby-snouted goatclown off that talent mockery / sob-fest X-Factor, has any claim to 'Oh My Darling, Clementine'.

I don't understand why anyone would want to go in to music just to ride on the laurels of better musicians who came before them. Surely it would just be a massively unsatisfying creative nadir? Wouldn't you want to build on what came before to reach a new level of musicianship, thus forging your own identity in the process? Then again, I guess the money helps quell the self-doubt that comes with being a musical whore. I blame Scooter for all of this.

*I know this song is kind of terrible, but dear me, I love it so much.

N.B. I should probably stop turning The List in to a collection of poorly thought out music essays.

71. The phrase "At the end of the day"

^ I love the people on the internet who have the time and dedication to assemble genius things like this.

"At the end of the day" is a completely pointless phrase. I know it's meant to act as a colloquial equivalent to words like "ultimately", but it doesn't quite work. It's an utter throwaway of a phrase that has become little more than a marker of laziness of language. As the always wise Urban Dictionary puts it, "at the end of the day" is a "verbal crutch" used as a stopgap for people who can't be bothered to justify their arguments and instead skip ahead to their baseless conclusions.

However, its complete over-usage leads to a very real concern. Imagine if this metaphorical day was to finally set and we did indeed reach the much touted "end of the day". It'd be an apocalypse of bad opinions occurring all at once, proving itself a chaotic epiphany of moron-morality.

*insert witty justification of nonsensical viewpoint here*

At the end of the day, usage of the term "at the end of the day" is a quick way to identify people too stupid to justify their nonsensical viewpoints.

...wait.

70. People who take photos of their food

^ Promotional photos of McDonald's meals are such a visual, it physically hurts. It's like that music video where Nicola Roberts is attractive.

I love food, I do. If I wasn't so relentlessly paranoid about regressing to the state of an amorphous blob, I'd probably spend all day eating delicious things in vast quantities. I'd arrange a nonsensical banquet of fried chicken, pie, M&Ms and pizza and eat until my stomach started to burst at the seams and I would be required to visit a hospital. Glorious.

It is because of my fat-man love for food that I cannot understand people who photograph their meals. Maybe every once in a while, I could go with it. Maybe you've spent the last two hours slaving over a feast fit for a king and you wish to capture this achievement in photo form. You might have made a four layer sandwich that is bursting with different pork products and cheeses. Perhaps the mere sight of this food is so potent that you will forever taste the meal in your mouth from just looking at a photo of it. That's fine. That's a rare event and one that probably should be documented for posterity.

But I've seen people on Facebook dispassionately photograph all their meals. They'll go out somewhere and they have to take a photo of their sushi. They'll come back home and take a photo of whatever solidified bile they're ingesting next. They'll even upload the photo before they eat the food. Surely that's just inviting the meal to go cold before they get the chance to tuck in? What is the logic behind this? The best I can assume is it's an indirect form of bragging: "Oh, look at me eating pheasant stuffed with quail's eggs and caviar - I have such a wide palate!" or even "Haha guys, look at me - I'm eating four steaks because I'm so manly! Four! Get me!" It's narcissism through the photography of food. Just eat your charred mess and stop clogging up my Facebook feed with photographs of every non-event of a meal you ingest.

You are what you eat and you've presumably just chowed down on a massive chode.

...too graphic?

69. Other people's opinions

^ This opinion annoys me because, whilst I agree the Beatles are better, the factual inaccuracy and the implicit sense of American nationalism attributed to the band makes me want to smash my head through the nearest glass object.

[Warning: This post contains dangerous amounts of hypocrisy. Having said that, if you're reading this website, you're probably aware that all of these posts are massively hypocritical. The joys of being an internet elitist.]

Opinions are like traumatic and unresolved issues from childhood: everyone's got them and I'll be damned if I ever want to hear about them.

The problem with other people's opinions isn't that they're different from mine - hell, I disagree with myself half the time, which doesn't even make sense. It's that somehow everyone else seems to have an opinion on every banal topic, regardless of their level of experience with it. I'm all for other people's opinions if they're informed, presented with a degree of rationality and are exercised in the kind of context that asks for it (for instance, a friendly debate amongst friends is just about bearable a situation for hearing what other people think). But if these opinions are thrown at me unprovoked and laced with misinformation and idiocy, I'd really prefer it if you kept your mouth shut.

The internet has basically made this over a hundred times worse, however. Reading the news online, all one has to do is accidentally scroll too far past the article to be bombarded with the argumentative witterings of keyboard-warriors who think that they can offer a "unique" and "intelligent" insight into the topic at hand. I browse a lot of music websites and the user comments make me weep for humanity. They are almost exclusively used to bash bands and exercise elitism of taste. What's the point?

I mean, for crying out loud, the internet has given me the very real opportunity to offer up my equally worthless opinions for the world's perusal. The only difference is my presence is arguably less ubiquitous and people can probably quite easily avoid being exposed to my verbal bile should they choose so. I, however, will be continually forced to read all your inane, badly reasoned, ill-informed, misguided, wrong, racist, bigoted, sexist, anti-establishment, pro-establishment, psuedo-activist, pretentious, middle-class punk, white-knight, cyberbully, trendy muso, sheep-like, sheepish, archaeic, arbitrary and horrifically uninspiring opinions on Facebook, Twitter, Google, internet forums, emails, Blabbermouth, NME, streaming websites (I really don't care for your thoughts on the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother and YET THEY'RE ALWAYS THERE), Cracked.com, Youtube, eBay and whatever other pointless fragment of the internet I choose to look at.

Really, I should probably just stop surfing the internet and get a job. That's the real issue here.