ENJOYING listening to a good tune? Here’s an element that’s about to assault your eardrums and put you right off it.
‘What a great song,’ you think, bopping around in the kitchen. And then BAM! An awful parping saxophone solo is suddenly abusing your poor ears, ruining otherwise excellent songs like Just The Two of Us by Bill Withers in an instant. At least George Michael had the decency to put the one in Careless Whisper right at the start to save listeners a nasty surprise.
Self-indulgent musicians expect you to sit through an age of noodling before they even start singing. The long, miserable 50 seconds of plodding acoustic guitar before Hotel California just serves to make the rest of the dirge even more unbearable. It should have taught the Eagles that ‘fun to play when you’re coked to the eyeballs’ is not the same as ‘fun to listen to’.
When you’re in the car with your parents, the last thing you want on the radio is a song featuring the sounds of simulated shagging. There are plenty of them though, from Madonna’s Justify My Love to Hot in Herre by Nelly. Even the boomers’ favourites Fleetwood Mac, who you’d think you’d be safe with, did it in Big Love. Maybe that’s why your folks like them so much. You wish they’d stuck to tunes about seabirds.
Too much vocal fry
Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Rihanna and Enrique Iglesias are all guilty of going hard on the vocal fry, but Britney Spears is the worst offender by far. Barely singing at all, she creaks and rasps her way through her songs in a way that sounds less like a pop chantress and more like a rarely-oiled shed door banging in the wind.
Extraneous rap verse
Written a trite pop song and want to add some urban grittiness? Get a hip-hop star in to do a rap. Unfortunately, having someone ramble over your already-bad song only tends to make it worse, as anyone who has had the misfortune to experience Maroon 5’s Girl Like You featuring Cardi B will confirm.