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Mark Grondin @SpectrumPulse
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I feel like driving up some controversy, so how about a thread of Hot Takes/Unpopular Opinions! You know the drill, one like = one take/opinion.

Start easy: the blunt awkwardness/cringe of 'Blurryface' is the point of taking the piss out of Tyler. I stand by my light 9/10.
2. I don't hate Nickelback's 'Dark Horse' - it's easily a record for them at their most tasteless, but the frat-bro swagger of it helps some of their better hooks.
3. 'Fireflies' by Owl City is a genuinely terrific song that captures precocious, starry-eyed wonderment better than few others in the 2000s.

It is SPECTACULARLY lame, but that's why it works.
4. Toby Keith is a better songwriter than many gave him credit. He fell off HARD, and his uber-Patriotic side has aged badly, but push coming to shove, I'd listen to more of his songs than those of the Dixie Chicks.
5. 'The Bends' is the best Radiohead album. Deal with it.
6. There was no good reason for Evanescence to be popular when Nightwish and Within Temptation consistently dropped better records.... even if 'The Silent Force' and 'Once' have not aged well in their respective discographies.
7. And on the subject of Nightwish, even if Tarja is a technically better singer, she's only come into her own solo. Anette's material with Nightwish has had FAR more staying power.
8. I liked Within Temptation's team-up with Xzibit. I probably go back to it more than their team-up with Tarja.
9. 'Before He Cheats' is awful and I never want to hear it again. The fact that it's become Carrie Underwood's signature song instead of, say, 'Blown Away', is a goddamn crime.
10. Sublime sucks.

I don't really need to add anything to that one - massive overhyped, the writing has aged really badly, and if Bradley Nowell was still alive this opinion would not be nearly as unpopular.
11. 'Achtung Baby' is overrated to hell and back, especially in comparison to U2's 80s releases. Irony was never a good look for U2, and the rest of their 90s output proved that in spades.
12. Why anyone let Cat Stevens get away with as much as he did is an absolute mystery, considering his writing was never that spectacular in comparison to his peers.
13. It's a bad trend I'm noticing but Miranda Lambert's records are starting to get a case of the bloat. As much as I admire the experimentation, she needs to pull together tighter projects in the long-run.
14. Little Mix are the true heirs to the legacy of Spice Girls and Girls Aloud. I don't know how or why anyone at Syco thought this was a competition, across the board.
15. Lady Gaga only really put out one genuinely great project with 'The Fame Monster' - everything else rises to about a 7/10 at best.

I dunno what to say here, genre deconstruction only takes you so far.
16. 'Take Care' is nowhere as good as you remember it to be.

Hell, I'd say that about the majority of Drake projects, they don't age well.
17. 'The Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight' is better than 'Rodeo'.
18. I've said this before but it bears repeating: Eminem's 'Encore' is better than you remember it to be. Handily better than 'Recovery' and 'Revival', and with a thematic consistency that puts above a lot of hip-hop in that era.
19. My issues with 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' are well documented, but most of them circle back to how I think 'Monster' just doesn't work at all. And 'Devil In A New Dress' is not much better.
20. I hate to admit this, but Steven Wilson's solo work will probably have more lasting resonance than the majority of records he released with Porcupine Tree. Maybe not crossing over 'In Absentia' or 'Lightbulb Sun', but man, it's close.
21. And on that subject, 'Lightbulb Sun' is the best Porcupine Tree record. Again, deal with it.
22. Kesha's 'Warrior' is better than 'Rainbow', but only if you're considering the deluxe edition of 'Warrior'.
23. I think I'm the only one who actually likes Depeche Mode's 'Delta Machine', and can credibly make the argument it was actually a return to form for them.
24. Don't get me wrong, that one Postal Service record we got was good... but let's be real, that was not a project built to last. Even on the full-length, the cracks were starting to show.
25. As much as I love Dave Cobb's production style - I've praised it to hell and back - he struggles with anything with a distorted low end. Bass, certain guitar and drum pickups, you name it.

26. 'Something More Than Free' > 'Southeastern'. There, I said it.
27. 'Save Rock And Roll' by Fall Out Boy, for as terminally flawed as it is, especially on its back half, is a genuinely great workout record. History will come around on this one.
28. T.I.'s discography is incredibly uneven in the 2000s, and for as much as his records before 'King' get praised, I wish I had more of a desire to go back to them... and I just don't.
29. Oh, this one is obvious: 'Tha Carter II' > 'Tha Carter III'.
30. 'Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)' is a fucking great song that got with overexposure. Green Day has written better ballads since, but the song is still worth more praise.
31. Beyonce had songs that worked in the 2000s, but the gap in quality between when she actually cared and when she didn't is stark.

Also the self-titled record is still a 6/10 and 'Drunk In Love' still sucks.
32. 'Lullabies To Paralyze' is the best Queens of the Stone Age record.
33. 'We Built This City' by Starship is a smarter song than people give it credit, and it doesn't deserve the hate it's received, then or now.
34. Nine Inch Nails' best two records were their first two... and I'd make the argument they were the only ones close to great.

'The Fragile' was awful twenty years ago, it's just as bad now.
35. Uncle Kracker's cover of Dobie Grey's 'Drift Away' doesn't suck as much as it really should.

Really, it should be SO much worse than it is...
37. Mariah Carey's 'We Belong Together' really didn't deserve to be as big as it is. I mean, it was passable, but for as big as it was... really?
38. Avril Lavigne's 'I'm With You' is one of the best mainstream pop rock ballads of the 2000s. Probably her best single, period.
36 (because I forgot this). The Strokes' 'Comedown Machine' is not nearly as bad as many folks said it was. Probably the best thing they did since 'Room On Fire'.
39. Did anyone seriously give a shit about anything Pearl Jam released between 96 and... I dunno, 2006? Maybe 2009?

I like the band, don't get me wrong, but come on here...
40. 'Battle Born' by The Killers is supremely underrated. It's probably their second best record after 'Hot Fuss'.
41. I know this'll piss off what few Snow Patrol fans might still be around, but 'Eyes Open' really is better than 'Final Straw', and 'Run' really has not aged all that well. #sorry
42. At this point in their careers the Foo Fighters will not surpass 'The Colour And The Shape', and the fact that music critics keep giving them chances to try shows how stagnant so much rock criticism is.
43. Franz Ferdinand's best record is 'You Could Have It So Much Better', followed by 'Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action'.
44. The fact that Christina Aguliera is remembered more for 'Beautiful' instead of 'Fighter' genuinely bothers me - she had a gift for blunt anger that was so rarely exposed.
45. Look, as much as I love CHVRCHES, if they make the same damn album again with a different sheen of gloss (like they did with 'Every Open Eye') I'm going to start losing patience with them.
46. More often than not, if I'm faced with the choice between great Animal Collective records or great Panda Bear records... yeah, Panda Bear is the easy choice here...

And even then, I'd struggle to put either act among all time favourites of mine.
47. I've said it before, but it's worth repeating: Run The Jewels 2 > Run The Jewels 3.
48. Let's be honest: even if you love To Pimp A Butterfly, unless you've got it on vinyl and listen through the entire project all at once you haven't heard 'Mortal Man' in three years.
49. Gwen Stefani should never have tried to go back to No Doubt. 'Push And Shove' was not good enough to justify her killing any sort of momentum coming out of the mid-2000s.
50. It seems like a lot of folks have tried to write Akon out of 2000s music history, and I'm not sure that's valid. I actually kind of liked 'Freedom' as a record, and if he had been able to follow it up with more, he'd be more fondly remembered.
51. Okay, clarification on 'Mortal Man' - you might have heard the first half of the song, but the whole thing, with the Tupac clips? Not a chance in hell.
52. For as much as it's very easy to dump on the pop country of the late 90s and early 2000s, there's a part of me that'll still stick up for Lonestar, if only for 'Smile'.
53. I feel it's not controversial anymore to say that the Backstreet Boys were better than N'Sync, but can we add that they were also better than the majority of Justin Timberlake's solo career as well?
54. There's a reason why Train's 'Drops Of Jupiter' has stuck around:

It's actually one of the best hit songs of the early 2000s, and has a lot more going on lyrically than it has been given credit.
55. I get why people like it so damn much, but Kanye West's 'Through The Wire' has never worked for me - and am I the only one who thinks his flow sounds strikingly like Jay-Z's on that song?
56. It genuinely sucks that fun. only dropped two records as a group before Antonoff and Ruess went their separate ways, but is it broadly accepted yet that of their three charting singles in 2012-13, 'Some Nights' and 'Carry On' were the only ones worth caring about?
57. I admit I gave Foster The People way too much shit about 'Pumped Up Kicks' when it first came out. I genuinely hated that song, I've warmed on it slightly.

But can we all admit the band has not come close to living up to any potential?
58. This one will be what pisses off all the critics: the reason why 'Take A Walk' was as big as it was... that's because it's one of the few songs Passion Pit has ever released that's genuinely great instead of just passable.
59. Even if you liked 'The Terror' by The Flaming Lips, you haven't listened to it in years.
60. Charles Kelley's solo material was markedly better than pretty much everything Lady Antebellum ever released, with the solitary exception of 'Need You Now' - and even then, both 'Leaving Nashville' and 'The Driver' are better songs.
61. Chris Young's bro-country record 'A.M.' was better than the vast majority of that subgenre, and is also better than most of the lifeless mediocrity he's making now.
62. Can we all admit that Wiz Khalifa has become a FAR better rapper on a technical level since his hype has faded? Like, where in the Nine Hells did that come from?
63. Tool is never going to release another album.

Hey, prove me wrong here, but let me ask the harder question: could a new Tool record EVER live up to expectations even if they did come back?
64. Can we just enter 'The Bard's Song' by Blind Guardian into the list of all-time great acoustic ballads already?

I think every metalhead already kind of knows this, so not much of a hot take, but come on, it's better than anything John Mayer ever wrote.
65. On the subject, if you want to highlight the vast difference between talent and good artistic instincts, John Mayer belongs in that category.

So does a lot of late period Clapton, even if you don't want to admit it.
66. Anyone else kind of amazed how little staying power 'Anaconda' had in the popular consciousness? It was so damn huge for like four months and now it seems like that's a whole part of Nicki's past nobody cares to talk about.
67. On the subject of Nicki Minaj, I've always made it clear that she's more of a singles artist in comparison with albums (none of which are remotely consistent), but can we also acknowledge she's lived up to very little of HER potential too?
68. Actually, on the subject of 2014, have you gone back to the big breakthrough songs and artists of that year and realized how few of them had ANY staying power?

It's a bad sign when the artist that seems to have stuck around the longest from that year was Meghan Trainor. Ugh.
69. I'm amazed so many of you have stuck around for this many takes. I'm going to pause and come back to this later so I'll just leave you with this one:

If One Direction had released 'Diana' as a single, they'd probably have gotten that US #1 as a band. Best song they ever did.
70. Tapping back in to follow-up on 2014 briefly: I hear you all talking about Sam Smith. Let's get real: he'll never be able to top his burst of success in 2014 in terms of sheer numbers.

I blame the Bond theme for killing his momentum - and also being pretty lousy.
71. Hopping back in, here's a hot prediction:

Halsey flames out in a year, two years at most. Ironically this'll be the first time her music will likely be interesting.
72. As much as I love seeing oddballs like Alex Cameron and Ariel Pink get attention (and deservedly so), I can't see them in the mainstream proper.

And even if they do it won't be with a song better than 'Round And Round'.
73. To speak more broadly, one of the big ways that hard rock radio has failed is a complete inability to appeal to women outside of a very specific lane. At least hip-hop and country make some half-hearted stabs in this direction.
74. As much as I love the pop punk revival, I don't see it crossing over when so many of the existing crossover bands have watered down the sound so badly.

Like, as much as I'm a big fan of Creeper, I sadly don't see the radio getting onboard in the new few years.
75. This many albums in, can we just admit that Dream Theater is not the same without Mike Portnoy, especially in the songwriting department?
76. 'Ride The Lightning' is better than 'Master Of Puppets'... but not by much. They're both genuinely terrific, but I know where the hooks are stronger. /shrug
77. I think we need to come to the stark realization a lot of Beck's experimentation sounds really dated nowadays, and that Guero is painfully underrated.
78. I have every reason in the world to hate Hedley... but 'For The Nights I Can't Remember' is a pretty great ballad.
79. Kelsea Ballerini gets WAY too much shit, especially when it seems like Kacey Musgraves' big step off of 'Golden Hour' was move more in HER general direction.
80. 'Blonde' is a really damn good summer mood record - but it is nowhere close to as potent as 'channel ORANGE' and I think deep down you all knew that.
81. I hope as a society that we've accepted huge chunks of Fergie's mid-2000s work as utterly unlistenable.
82. I realize the past take might be pretty lukewarm, or might seem to be common knowledge. Here's the thing: I've heard 'Fergalicious' done entirely too many times at karaoke unironically, and I think we only accepted it because Missy Elliott wasn't releasing better material.
83. Bastille has utterly wasted their potential.

The Neighbourhood never had any potential to waste, and somehow they did it too.
84. 'Second Chance' by Shinedown is way better than it has any right to be.

Yes, I'm serious about this one.
85. You know what somehow might be even better? 'Paralyzer' by Finger Eleven.

Some of that might be Stockholm Syndrome, but the hook on that song is sticky as goddamn hell, even if the rest of their material is pretty mediocre at best.
86. I actually might even stand up for 'Fake It' by Seether.

Okay, that's not quite a hot take so much as it is deeply embarrassing, but yeah, I can tolerate that track a fair bit.
87. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I think Weezer may have actually gotten a little too much shit in the mid-2000s. 'Make Believe is might not be good, but the band's later records did get worse.
88. So there are so many likes on the original thread that it'll be hard to keep track of everything, but whenever I have a hot take, I'll throw my updates in sporadically.

So here's one: when it comes to popular chart-toppers in the modern era, the problem is often YOU.
89. To expand off of this, with the greater focus on Spotify playlists monopolizing plays, even if they're refocusing more on paid streams, most people don't actively make an effort to find new stuff. They put on RapCaviar and just go.

So yeah, YOU not trying matters.
90. I'll admit that Poison's music has aged pretty badly, but 'Every Rose Has Its Thorn' is a terrific karaoke song. It's hair metal's 'Wonderwall', and I'd sure as hell take it over whatever Warrant was putting out.

Hell, I'd take it over 'Wonderwall'.
91. Am I the only one kind of bemused that Savage Garden has effectively vanished from any conversation of the mid-to-late 90s?

I mean, it's not like the band was ever THAT good, but this is a group NOBODY seems to care about anymore.
92. On the flip side, for as much as people hated Styx... I never got it. Yeah, the band has duds and they never understood they were more of a singles band, but they had some genuinely terrific singles.

So, for the record, was ABBA.
93. On the majority of days, I'd listen to XTC over Devo.

Mostly because (deep breath) Devo is not a band I've ever really found much interest in getting into. I get their appeal, but from what I've heard, I'm mostly ambivalent. :(
94. 'Faith' is the best early Cure record.

Yes, better than Pornography.

Hell, I'm not even sure if this is a hot take anymore...
95. I get that this is kind of heresy in the era of streaming access, but I still like greatest hits and singles compilations. They make catching up on bands who have a LOT of filler very easy, and when artists get creative with them, they can be fascinating experiences.
96. This shouldn't be a hot take, but here goes: if someone's content goes offline and you don't get permission before rehosting it, you're a bit of a tool.

If you then rant about how he's claiming them/taking them down because HE'S rehosting them elsewhere, you're a BIG tool.
97. Look, I get why Phil Collins-era Genesis in the late 80s got a lot of flack, there was some deep low points in that era.

But I honestly think there's a lot of great there too in terms of pure pop music, and I reckon it's worth a thorough re-examination by critics.
98. If you're the guy at the party who makes a point of saying 'In Utero' is SO better than 'Nevermind', you're an asshole.

I mean, you're not wrong, but you're still an asshole.
99. On average, I'd probably say I prefer 'It Won't Be Soon Before Long' over 'Songs About Jane'. The grooves are sharper, the better songs are stronger, for the most part it's just a tighter record.
100. I'm genuinely stunned by some of the response to this Tinashe review with folks saying 'she doesn't have that 'it' factor' or 'no star power'.

I mean, neither does half of Migos on any given song or feature, but that didn't stop them from being huge...
101. Katy Perry's 'Teenage Dream' is the 'Come On Over' of the 2010s.

And just like Shania, she'll never be able to match that level of quality. #sadbuttrueandyouknowit
102. Why does everyone assume I'm shading Takeoff when it's obvious that Quavo deserves that shade?

I mean, I listened to Huncho Jack.
103. If a record is a 10/10 to you... be prepared to defend it, and understand what that means, but ultimately if it resonates with you on that profound level, congratulations - every critic is searching for that same spark that stirs them just like you.
104. Here's one that should be obvious but it looks like it needs to be stated: if a critic is engaging with an artist in a public forum, maybe stay the fuck out of the thread with fan spamming or unrelated asks.

If you're that thirsty, don't make that my issue.
105. Here's why that's an issue: artists can get thousands of tweets a day and blocking/muting is a necessity. So if they get a hint any open communication with a critic/fan invites added bullshit, they shut that line down FOREVER.

Stan Twitter, this is ALL on you. >:(
106. At some point those of you favoriting Kanye's tweets ironically and unironically blur into the same category to enable someone who really could use a lot fewer enablers, across the board.
107. This rises above music but feels relevant: if you feel inclined to interject your opinion into a situation with a 'NOT ALL (fill in the blank)', keep it to yourself. Either a.) it's not about you or b.) it IS about you and your reflexive defense is best in SELF-reflection.
108. Twitter does not need an edit button.

It needs an 'Are you sure?' button.
109. So this 'Motiv8' song from J Cole, it's fine enough... Can't help but think it's a tad familiar, though, reminds me of a song from a record with no name...

#Levitate #Levitate #Levitate
110. The more I've reflected on it, the more I'm certain J. Cole's #KOD is more right-wing libertarian at its core than anything Kanye has spouted off about in the past few days.

And that so few people will see it is genuinely unnerving (yes, review is coming soon).
111. Lucy Hale should make more pop country records, because 'Road Between' is one of the best albums of its subgenre to come out this decade.

That, along with Cam's 'Untamed', Jennifer Nettles 'Playing With Fire', and Caitlyn Smith's 'Starfire', all concentrated wonderful.
112. I appreciate Genius for lyrics and occasionally providing some reference information, but if you've built your entire persona off of cribbing your notes from there and claiming it's 'SO DEEP FAM', you're missing a much richer artistic experience.

Plus, they CAN be wrong.
113. I have yet to hear a banjo sound good opposite trap snares and hi-hats, and I'm fairly certain I never will.

And the fact that Jason Aldean thought that was a good combination for a song trying to be romantic speaks VOLUMES.
114. There are more hardline conservatives in hip-hop than you probably know, just like there are more liberals in country than you probably know.

The big reason rappers don't stump for GOP are pronounced southern strategy policies where the racist coding is pretty hard to deny.
115. Now why liberals in country don't often promote Democrats... well, shit, a bunch of them already do, but the regionalized culture of mainstream country (especially tied to their endorsements) make a much more complicated endeavour. Politics is complicated, folks.
116. 'Run Away With Me' might be the best workout jam on Carly Rae Jepsen's 'EMOTION'...

...but it is not the BEST song on 'EMOTION'. :p
117. More often than not, if you're a non-industrial metal group and are thinking about using drum machines... don't.

This goes ESPECIALLY for symphonic and power metal groups, for the record - if not produced well (and they rarely ever are), they become distractions.
118. We have refrigeration - if you're ordering your steak well-done in 2018, the problem is you.
119. Venturing into some TV hot takes here (and man, I've got a bunch...)

'Two And A Half Men' is not great comedy, but up till about Season 5 it's pretty tolerable. Rarely great, but better and a tad smarter than it's been given credit.
120. Looking back on it, 'Glee' was simultaneously better than it had any right to be, but a lot worse than it should have been.
121. A lot of nerds REALLY hate 'The Big Bang Theory' for its portrayal of nerds, but coming out of a physics faculty... there's a sad amount of truth there.

Actually, let me slightly correct that: the awkwardness and false bravado can actually get WORSE.
122. Review aggregators do not serve a purpose beyond identifying consensus, and I'd be fine with them going away. What they have done, stripping out nuance in the discussion of art & encouraging polarization, especially among non-critics, is FAR worse than what they provide.
123. It's a really cheap excuse to say nobody should pay attention to the lyrics of an artist like Post Malone; they're often WAY more revealing than I think even he intends.

Because you know if they were anything close to passable, fans would be screaming it from the rooftops.
124. The 'both sides' non-argument only works when the stakes are minimal.

Not saying there isn't nuance or flaws to both sides in the cultural divide (there are), but removing yourself from the decision by saying 'both sides' IS a decision for the status quo, like it or not.
125. If you're honestly taking Post Malone's statements of 'if you're looking for intelligent or emotional music, don't listen to hip-hop' (paraphrased) at all seriously, even just in the mainstream, even after the J. Cole album bomb...

Yeah, the problem is you.
126. If I'm going to blame the first era of 'angry video reviewers' for anything, it comes in the normalization of extremes of emotion.

So if I get animated and give a record a middling/low score, it's assumed I hated it - maybe pay attention to what's actually being said?
127. There's a very good chance that 'Walk On Water' by Thirty Seconds To Mars might tilt into 'so bad it's good' territory for me. The lyrics and production are just complete garbage and it's so over the top...

But that hook sticks in your head. It's the highest of cheese.
128. I can make a credible argument that 'These Days' is the best song R.E.M. ever made.

Here's the track - get back to me when you realize I'm right:
129. Similar argument for Porcupine Tree and 'Shesmovedon':
130. I don't understand how someone can say they have an all-time fav song or album or movie or book.

I used to get it, but the more media I consume, the reasons why I celebrate something becomes radically different. "All time" implies transcendence that's damn near impossible.
131. It's not the measured thinkpiece takedown that destroys careers on the internet, it's how one responds to it.
132. I think in a few decades folks are going to finally catch up with me and realize that Imogen Heap is about five to ten years ahead of the rest of the indie and electronic scene.

Seriously, she's INVENTING her own electronic instruments.
133. Flying Circus (Season 1 preferably) > Holy Grail == Life Of Brian

(this will be my most contentious opinion)
134. You might not get the fanbase you want, but you get the fanbase you deserve.

(no, I'm not talking about you guys, you're mostly pretty great, but others... yeesh)
135. That said, I think what holds my reviews back the most is that I don't talk slower.

Simply put, I talk the way I write, and given how much dense language and analysis I use, it can't hurt me to slow down and take an easier pace.

Also smile more and shit like that.
136. If there's one thing I've learned as a music critic, it's that nobody gets enough publicity by being consistent - at least until about ten years later.
137. I get it if your brand of pop country at its apex was old Taylor Swift or Sam Hunt or even Rascal Flatts. But I think regardless of what you would define as pop or country, it gets simpler when you realize one thing:

In the 90s, I had Reba. And she was just BETTER.
138. Also, the 'Reba' sitcom of the mid-2000s was leaps and bounds better than it needed to be and while it definitely had its low points, it engaged with challenging character development more than many of its peers. DEFINITELY underappreciated, then and now.
139. If you feel the constant urge to reassert your vast intelligence in a room, chances are you're not the smartest person there.

Hell, I'm more interested in what the guy or girl at the back who is watching everything quietly but intently has to say.
140. I think most people should be concerned about how their words are perceived, not just what is being said.

I guess YouTube inherently makes you self-conscious about that, but I'm always curious about how/what I say reflects upon what others think I believe.
141. BROCKHAMPTON did the right thing with Ameer.

The fact I'm placing this as a 'hot take' is part of the point: IT SHOULDN'T BE.
142. I'm so goddamn DONE with Greg Kurstin's production work. Newsflash, the constant de-emphasis of melody has made so many of the songs he's produced in recent years utterly forgettable in a Zimmer-esque chase for hammering presence and texture instead of actually TUNE.
143. Weezer's Toto covers are both mediocre at best (and you can argue the 'Africa' cover is pretty bad), and really highlight how limited of a drummer Patrick Wilson is. If this is any indicator for the black album... YIKES.
144. Can we all acknowledge that regardless of what you think about 'Broke With Expensive Taste' - which I happen to stand by only considering it decent at best - that Azealia Banks has UTTERLY wasted her potential?

And on the male side of the spectrum, so has Jay Electronica?
145. If you harass an actor in a movie because you didn't like the character she played, get the fuck out of the fandom.

Kelly Marie Tran is more a part of Star Wars than you will EVER be - get the fuck over yourselves and grow up.
And don't even fucking try to test me on this. I might not have been a complete fan of that subplot as I said in the review, but I've been a Star Wars fan longer than many of you numbskulls have been ALIVE, and I've seen FAR worse than that.

You try me, you WILL lose.
146. From the 13 Reasons Why soundtrack curation, I'm forced to admit that Selena Gomez seems to have really good taste.

I wouldn't say top shelf or anything, but from what I've heard and see here, I'm pleasantly surprised:…
147. Copy-pasting from Genius is not an argument.

It can SUPPORT your piece, for sure, but again, it's built to dissect songs line by line rather than present a full picture and interpretation, and taking chunks out of the larger context doesn't help you.
148. I think I'm actually coming around on Bhad Bhabie.

Yes, the majority of the reason why is 'Lost Lander', but she's also got more charisma and bite than a significant chunk of the modern Soundcloud and trap scene. She'll never be great, but she's tolerable - I'd hear more.
149. Yeezus > ye.

150. If you're using age one way or another when it comes to dismissing someone else's musical taste, you have no argument. Just because someone isn't in high school anymore doesn't mean the same emotional resonance can't be felt.

So yes, 'Get Low' > majority of modern trap.
151. Even though Carly Rae Jepsen went on to make some great synthpop that surpasses her roots, I still think Becky G's 'Shower' captured the vibe that 'Call Me Maybe' was going for a fair bit better.

Hey, I really liked it four years ago, still like it now. :D
152. I liked 5 Seconds Of Summer a lot better when they were a rock band.
153. #EverythingIsLove = Magna Carta Holy Grail Pt. 2, now with more Beyonce and trap flows!
154. Jennifer Nettles solo >> Sugarland.

Seriously, 'Playing With Fire' is a pop country gem that's underrated to this day, and it's so damn sad that 'Bigger' can't remotely come close to it.
155. NateWantsToBattle made a better Panic! At The Disco record this year than Brendon Urie did.
156. If FX's 'You're The Worst' is not in your conversation surrounding the best of modern TV, I'm not sure we exist on the same wavelength.

Seriously, I can make the argument the season one finale is one of the greatest episodes of television this decade.
157. The more I think about it, Fall Out Boy's 'I Don't Care' predicted online creator pathology about 8-10 years early, ESPECIALLY on YouTube.

158. You know, I'll talk more about this Florence + The Machine record this evening, but it's REALLY hard not to place it next to Neko Case's newest release and just see it pale in comparison, especially given their similarities as performers.
159. Has nobody ever called Eminem out when he showed up on T.I.'s 'That's All She Wrote' and started ranting about not buying a girl a bag of Fritos?

Because that happened, and I think people should remember that.

160. The argument that critical success = quality REALLY needs to goddamn die -it's not reflective at all of how the music business/marketing/industry works, and the fact that music writers still default to 'popular = greatness' by forgetting this is EMBARRASSING.

Do better.
161. Look, there are some standout cuts from the club boom that I daresay are catchier than a LOT of mainstream pop out right now due to a greater melodic focus... but my god, the production has not aged well at ALL.
162. So @YouTube put out a feature a while back where specific rights for song covers could be authorized for revenue.

You want an easy way to build goodwill with the community? Do it for critics and reaction channels too.
Seriously, I think there's potential here. The smart and successful acts in the modern era have realized that reaction/criticism/engagement keeps the act in the popular conversation - Drake would not be as big as he is without the social media engagement around him.
The problem is that the middle management labels/publishing companies don't get a cut of that revenue, which is more than a little bullshit when they go flying against fair use/dealing to take ALL of it.

So, @YouTube? This could be a win for you long-term if you negotiate this.
163. You can tell when certain critics give lyrical or more conceptual hip-hop the time of day or just phone it with flimsy comparisons to underground acts with quick name recognition.

And for some outlets, you can sadly tell it's dependent upon how much hype the artist has now.
164. I can make a credible argument that 'I Bet' is among Ciara's top three best songs, and frankly, with every mediocre cut Future puts out, it gets better.
165. I put alt-J's 'Pleader' in the same camp as Thirty Seconds To Mars' 'Walk On Water' - some of the most humiliating songs of each act's respective careers that I will shamelessly turn into personal karaoke staples if I'm not stopped.
166. I don't have an issue if someone as an artist pays into my Patreon for a review - because it comes with the stipulation that my integrity as a critic is more valuable to me, and you'll get the review you deserve. Just because I like you DOESN'T mean I have to like your art.
167. I'll talk more about Mitski in a day or two, but it truly stuns me how many artists now are chasing a sound and style @lydia_loveless knocked out of the park on 'Real' two years ago so much better.
168. I've never understood the idea behind checking into the restaurants you visit online. Google already knows too much about where I am, there's absolutely no reason for anyone else to know.
169. The best seats in any bar or restaurant are where you either see everything there or nothing but the person across from you. Anything else seems like a half measure.
170. Why in the Nine Hells is everyone going on about the 'Ether' beat in my TL the past week?

Yes, the production was not great and I'm not sure Nas is at his best there in terms of flow, but it's essential to hip-hop history and the arc of that beef... which I'd argue Nas won.
171. If your art criticism is based ENTIRELY upon rattling off technical nitpicks without consideration/discussion of theme, nuance, symbolism or metaphor...

Look, I've got a hard time respecting that. Technical competence/lens is important, but the best ideas can transcend it.
172. I think there's an open conversation that needs to be had surrounding the backlash to crazy lyrical MCs.

I mean, for me it comes down to the entire SONG being good beyond the bars, but I'm expecting a lot of fans of mediocre MCs to have much weaker excuses.
173. I'm getting sick of artists who clearly want to touch on complicated, polarizing issues in their music to get the pop of those who think awareness is enough, but aren't willing to say anything more beyond 'well, love is all we need, right'?

Pop, country, this is about YOU.
174. More often than not, if I'm looking for hip-hop music to vibe to, there better be live drums and guitars on that shit.
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