Exclaim!'s 2014 in Lists: Top 10 Trends We Could Live Without in 2015
Published Dec 22, 2014The year 2014 was full of some obvious trends, some good (like anything and everything Young Thug did) and, well, many bad. At the risk of whining enough that you whine about my whining in the comments section, here's a list of recent music trends we could live without in 2015.
Don't forget to head to our Best of 2014 section for more coverage of 2014's top releases.
Top 10 Trends We Could Live Without in 2015:
10. VHS music videos:
A real music video favourite in 2014 was mimicking the '90s VHS aesthetic. Everyone, from Mac DeMarco-aping indie bands to modern house music experimenters to hip rappers made their videos look like Tim & Eric outtakes. Admittedly, it still looks kind of awesome to have warbly colours, messy tracking bars and constant visual distortion, but we're getting to the point where nearly every single person on earth has done a VHS video. Where can we go from here? When you all get sick of VHS videos, are you gonna make your clips look like looping DVD menu screens?
Everyone with an internet connection seems to have a musical project, an album release and a social media campaign underway, so it can be hard for a musician to break through the noise. But one thing that's growing a little tiresome is the use of the cover as a means of bloggable content. Chvrches, for example, have covered practically every song with English lyrics in the western world between album cycles, and received plenty of coverage for it. And while music sites are fertilized with half-baked content, it's a little old to give us your hot take on some folk classic, winking ironic pop cover or obscure gem. Time for a new tactic, guys.
8. Record Store Day releases:
There's no better example of milking music fans than the twice a year garbage pile that is Record Store Day. The event, which takes place in April (and, in a true testament to its blindly consumerist nature, on Black Friday), may have started off as a half-assed attempt to save independent record stores, but it's quickly been co-opted by major labels and, er, whoever's behind Call of Duty soundtracks. While there are still some decent exclusives amidst the RSD clutter, the event has quickly become an excuse for randos to fight over 5 Seconds of Summer seven-inches and poor record store clerks to further question their purpose in life. Plus, the glut of releases means that pressing plants are slammed twice a year — and the backlog means your favourite indie label hasn't been able to put out a record on time for the last two years, at least.
7. DJ Mustard beats:
Roc Nation producer DJ Mustard has made a beat for just about everyone in the world this year. From YG to Iggy Azalea to Jordin Sparks to Fergie, everyone's got a "Mustard on the beat, ho" tag on their new single. It's at the point where I'm pretty sure I've even rapped on a DJ Mustard beat, and I've never rapped in my life. While his simple, formulaic sound, with its single-note keyboard runs, "hey"-punctuated beats and hard-hitting bass, is certainly worthwhile, the sound will forever be cemented as a distinctly 2014 one. Here's hoping Mustard expands his ideas or, dare to dream, that artists seek variety over homogeny in 2015.
6. Reunions and comeback albums:
Remember, even about three years ago, when you used to dream of the idea of your favourite band squashing their beef, getting back together and releasing that unfinished album, or playing one last show? Well, practically every act, big or small, has done just that. This year continued the trend, with new releases coming from everyone from Aphex Twin to the Muffs. And while the results were varied (sometimes in a good way — Aphex Twin, for example, didn't do bad for himself), it still felt like fan service. How are we supposed to move into the future if we're still just pining for the past? Or has music entered its remake era?