Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Stop screaming

Screaming is the dumbest trend in music in the history of mankind ever, and you know I'm not one to hyperbolize. I work at the Biola Bookstore, and I have to listen to the same 5 CDs over and over and over and over again all day. So I hate every CD the bookstore carries, whether it's good or not. But I do know what is objectively bad, and that is any of these stupid bands that screams their lyrics all day long.

Now, I'm not against a well-timed yell, or growl, or shout, or even scream if it's appropriate. However, if you're a 20-year-old kid in a band, you need to stop screaming all your songs. You also need to stop putting little "scream fills" into your songs. If you're singing a very personal, very emotional song about some devastating event, ok, maybe then you can scream. But screaming every song completely deadens any impact you were hoping to have. A scream is the most intense vocalization a human can make. Do you really think your lyrics need to be screamed in every song?

I suspect not. I think the screaming has less to do with a careful consideration of the best way to musically express yourself, and more with something stupid like "it sounds more intenser," "the other bands in our genre are doing it, and look at their sales," or "I'm not a good singer to begin with." I think that, in a few years, the trend will have moved on, and any bands that have survived will have to look back on their releases during this time with a bit of shame, realizing that they were just fitting in.


The hard part for me is that I have friends who were/are in bands that use the scream crap. My friend Glen plays his amazing guitar for a band (Phinehas) that has chosen screaming as the only method of vocalization, and it hurts the band immensely. I honestly think that the screaming was the last part added on to the band. I should ask him, but this is how I think it went: Glen is jamming with some other guys (who are all really good, by the way), and they decide to form a band. Only problem: no singer. Well, good vocalists are hard to come by, but people who listen to the kind of hard-driving instrumentals that they play are used to screaming, so they grab another friend who can scream and have him do that. He doesn't have to be good, he just has to have endurance! I remember one of his shows I went to was hilarious in driving home this point. The "vocalist", was imploring the crowd between songs to look up their lyrics, acknowledging that they were indiscernible during the performance. WHAT IS THE POINT OF HAVING LYRICS IF NO ONE CAN UNDERSTAND THEM?

Another friend, eef, was in a band (Lunaractive) that was very talented. Really good musicians. They didn't scream all their lyrics, but they certainly threw them in to just about every song. It hurt especially because eef actually has a good voice, which every once in a while you could hear.

So it's hard, because I want to support these friends, and I could honestly say that I liked their music, but I can never listen to it for very long because that one element, that one aspect of the music, is like poop in the cookie jar.


jeri said...

I agree. What especially bothers me are the more trendy bands who scream, but in a sissy way. What's the point of a sissy scream? Like Linkin Park - why do they sound like 98 Degrees during their verses, and then try to pump it up with wussy screams in the choruses? Just stop.

And I can sympathize with the friend thing. I have a friend who can write some great music, but most of his lyrics are jokes, and there's some sort of processor that makes his voice sound like it's coming to you through a long metal pipe. Eh. I know he can do so much more.

Nobody said...

Amen, amen, and um, amen.

Would someone make a movie in which every character screams all of their lines? No. So why do it on an entire album, or set, or song?

That analogy doesn't really make sense but it's the first thing I thought of and I can't think of anything to say better than you said it. QUIT SCREAMING, EVERYONE!

The Horns and the Hawk said...

my buddy and i think that essentially, the screamer is the equivalent of the jock who talks about weight lifting way too much: both are overcompensating because when they were younger, they got the shinola beat outta them.

eef said...

I know I'm late on this one, but I agree. That band started when we were young, and the older I got the more I hated our music. And what's funny is the pressure to scream when you're in a band like that is really hard. What really sucks is the songs you sing more and scream less people don't respond to. This generation is really retarded. I've since lost my taste for almost any music with screaming in it.

Ryan said...

I was wondering if you would see this post, eef. I wrote it before your reflective post about your experience in rock and roll, so when I read yours it was a relief. I didn't want to bag on you or your band, but I had to talk about the screaming.