16 stupid hats musicians love to wear

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Flickr/Joel Dinda
Straw hat left off this list because obviously it sucks. You don't need my help with that.

Recently, my enemies have been accusing me of having a problem with hats. Maybe it's because I am (predictably) a bald, pale music critic, and wearing a hat makes me look like a Nosferatu vampire-creature. But personally, I think someone's choice of headwear can tell a lot about a person -- usually how they suck.

As I am fully aware that most people are not as gifted as I am when it comes to deciphering the inner-character of a human being based solely upon their appearance, I've created an exceptionally important guide. When I die, I will be remembered for my gift to the world: a list of stupid hats musicians wear and what they mean.


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Six punk bands we should shut up about already

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We really, really don't need to discuss Social Distortion. Really.

I have an embarrassing tendency to bait people into conversations where I just talk about cool things I am doing. Surprise, right? While it likely stems from being bored with hearing of the mundane achievements of others (babies, crappy jobs, cars), there is a part of me that figures it must stem from some sort of deep-seated masochism -- the same way I used to force myself to watch My Super Sweet 16. Without fail, the conversation switches to traveling, music, or some other trite nonsense and the question arises:

"Oh, what kind of band are you in?"

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The six worst music words in the dictionary

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Photo by Erik Hess
Thankfully, Miley Cyrus finally convinced the Oxford folks to define "twerking."

As 21st-century culture and technology continue to evolve, so too must our language.

Whether you like it or not, all these hashtag buzzwords are part of the greater lexicon. Literally, "hashtag" was added to the dictionary.

But it's not just words like "selfie," "noob," or "friend zone." The musical terms making official Oxford and Merriam-Webster appearances are just as facepalm-worthy. (Add "facepalm" to the list too.) And while "EDM" isn't one of them, it can't be too far off.

See also:
Six worst words in music: Top tweets

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18.2 reasons why Blink-182 is the greatest band of all time

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Photo by Jeff Bender

Blink-182 might release their seventh album this year. Please try to contain your excitement. I'll be the first to admit that Blink-182's last album was a steaming pile of overproduced shit, but I love the dudes. In fact, they're the best band in history.

They provided the soundtrack to millions of us during our dorky, pajama pants-wearing preteen years. They were comforting when relationships fell through due to my inappropriate sense of humor. You may be enraged by what follows, but hear me out. Here are 18.2 reasons why Blink-182 is the greatest band of all time.

See also:
I honestly tried to like Imagine Dragons
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Teddy Bridgewater begins Vikings career with R. Kelly soundtrack

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Teddy Bridgewater screengrab via NFL Network; R. Kelly photo by Erik Hess

Baseball fans are accustomed to the walk-up music chosen by each ballplayer as they stroll confidently up to the plate. But at last night's NFL Draft, each prospect got to select the music echoing through Radio City Music Hall as they proudly took the stage.

It's an opportunity to see what type of songs each player uses to psych themselves up, and a chance to critique their music tastes -- or lack thereof. R. Kelly was new Vikings QB prospect Teddy Bridgewater's choice.


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Kurt Cobain's suicide: Why it's time to move on

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Screengrab from Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box (Director's Cut)" video

Twenty years ago, in the chilly, early twilight hours of the Pacific Northwest, Kurt Donald Cobain sat alone in a room on the property he shared with his wife and 20-month old daughter. He was arguably the world's biggest rock star. In minutes, he would be the world's most famous suicide victim. He loaded a syringe with enough black tar heroin to kill several people, injected it into his right arm, steadied himself, and pulled the trigger on a shotgun, ending his life instantly. He was 27.

He left his wallet open on the floor so the body could be identified, an oddly courteous act during the final motions of a life's sudden, violent denouement. He also left a note, most of which would be read aloud by his wife, Courtney Love, at a gathering near Seattle's Space Needle a few days afterward. For a few weeks, time almost stopped, or at least appeared to.

I was 17 in April of 1994, and this somehow seemed like the most important thing that had ever happened to me. It felt like my childhood was ending. But, in looking back on it, the two decades of nearly endless dissection of the event itself and the months leading up to it, I've come to a disturbing conclusion: Kurt Cobain's death wasn't nearly as important as people would like it to be.

See also:
Nirvana's In Utero vs. Nevermind: Which is better?

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Six undeniable reasons to create art

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Steven Depolo/Flickr

A factor in the decline of decent art was recently dragged onto center stage by the New York Times in an article called "Brooklyn Communal Cool: The Brand." The piece, authored by a person who spells "mic" like "mike," focuses on a communal-living quarters in Brooklyn called the Clubhouse and its ties to a "new media" company called BKLYN1834. And if you couldn't guess by the fact that somebody started a company without any vowels, it's a bunch of bullshit.

Here's a choice quote that basically sums up the article:

"For our generation of artists, we realize that we are each our own brand, but not everyone knows how to manage this," Mr. Reid said. "Our business is to equip artists with these tools, which feels like a natural, organic progression of what we already do at the Clubhouse."

Amid the swirl of eye-rolls associated with the fraud and fakery of "indie" pop-art and its interaction in a new-media marketplace, we'd like to present to you the six legitimate reasons to make art. (Hint: it has nothing to do with "branding" and everything to do with this Bill Hicks clip.

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Quiz: Coldplay lyrics or Tumblr poetry?

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Publicity photo

At this point, U.K. rockers Coldplay are tired of even attempting to look hip. With their now song "Midnight," they've become a bland version of Bon Iver. Impressively, Chris Martin has managed to seem revelatory while saying absolutely nothing of consequence. His most provocative moment was when he told that radio station that he liked Nickelback. He's got an undeniable ear for melody, but words do not come easy to Mr. Yoouuuuuuuuu Arrreeeeeeee.

Here's a little quiz to prove the point. We typed the words "original poetry" into Tumblr, and collected the funniest specimens. Each of these questions feature three selections from Tumblr's finest, and one that was written by Grammy-winning recording artist Chris Martin. Can you spot the Coldplay in the midst of 14-year olds? Let's find out!

See Also: The rapid decline of Kings of Leon

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I honestly tried to like Imagine Dragons

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From the "I'm On Top of the World" music video

I'm going to let you in on the secret: I don't know anything about music that normal adult humans listen to. Avalanches of culture engulf our entire society while I sit in a grubby basement, hunched over a laptop listening to old Motorhead records. However, on occasion, I'm forced to stick my head out and comb through the bleak, bland, and depressingly white landscape to observe the catastrophes around me.

I have heard a song by Imagine Dragons - "Radioactive." I was a career counselor at an arts college and some little booger that went to school there had covered it playing all the instruments himself. I thought it was really good for sounding like something I was fundamentally against.

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Six terrible songs with enticing intros

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Publicity photo

Some people just know how to hook you, right? Say you're browsing an online dating profile and someone catches your eye. Witty one-liners, cute smirks, maybe something cryptic like a tattoo of Josef Stalin eating a hot dog. Their linked Tumblr page shows they have an active interest in occult medicine and deep-sea creatures. Whatever weird, dumb thing you're into, they've got it. They've seemingly got the total package.

So you go and meet them at your favorite gastropub, and as you're sipping a glass of some crap with fernet in it, it dawns on you: This person doesn't seem that cool. How can this be? How could you have been snowed so easily based on a first impression?

It's the same, sometimes, with music. The following songs all have brilliant introductions but quickly go on to suck out loud. Listen and wince as the pangs of regret throb in your ears.

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