Let’s be real for a second: hating on bands is pretty pointless. Now is the time when a bunch of people just thought to themselves “you could say that anything is pointless… you writing this article is pointless!”. Okay smart-ass, let me rephrase that: hating on bands just isn’t positive. Music sales (both digital and physical) continue to plummet every year and tons of kids would rather sit at home and reblog gifs of their favorite bands instead of going to see them at a show. Meanwhile, every band is scrambling to find the most bankable merch designs. The point I’m trying to get at is musicians need all the support they can get. The time and energy that people put into hating on a band could easily be substituted with helping support a band that they like.
In all my years of music fandom, I’ve witnessed many different forms of hate from all different kinds of people. Whether it be from the comments of my YouTube videos, frequenting various message boards, or even standing behind some loud obnoxious dude in line at a show, I feel like I’ve pretty much heard it all. I am going to attempt to narrow down the most common dumb reasons why people hate on bands and try to identify the different types of people they usually stem from.
Reason #1: Their music is too simple
The type of people it stems from: IMNs
I started with this one because it’s the easiest to trace its roots. This is predominantly a metal nerd thing. With “extreme metal” constantly pushing the boundaries of proficient musicianship and technical skill, it’s almost as if these people completely forgot that songwriting exists. They are too wrapped up in who has the fastest blastbeats or who has the craziest arpeggio sweeps. I remember I was at a party at my friend’s house and their band played, so they had all their instruments set up. After they played, some dude picked up my friend’s guitar, turned his amp up real loud and started sweeping in front of everyone at the party. The dude was really arrogant about it too, as if he thought that it actually made him cool. That’s like going to a party and showing off your Magic the Gathering cards. Thankfully, my friend promptly took the guitar away from him and told him that if he wanted to masturbate, he could do it at home. From then on, we referred to him as “sweep douche”.
I will admit that this one somewhat boils down to personal taste but there still is a lot of ignorance to be had here. Lots of these people denounce mainstream pop music as a whole because what could be easier than playing in a band whose music is simplistic… making music that doesn’t involve any instruments at all! That’s pretty much where talent stops for them. They don’t take into account that writing a catchy song does require a special knack. Also, since there’s no instruments involved and you’re doing it all on a computer, the production aspect plays a huge role, which comes with its own set of skills and knowledge. So when some nerdy metal dude tells me he could easily make songs that are on the level of a god-tier pop artist like Ke$ha, my response is usually something like this…
Reason #2: They’re just in it for the money
The type of people it stems from: Crusties/tr00 punx
Thank GOD this one is becoming less common nowadays because it’s easily the most cringe-worthy. Playing music for a living is arguably a thousand times cooler than any menial job. You would never go up to someone working at Subway and be like “you’re just in it for the money!” because of course they are, it’s just a given. But suddenly when it’s something cool like playing music then people should be shamed for it? Is that not the ultimate goal? To make money doing something you love? This is where people step in and say “well, they’re specifically playing a certain type of music to cater to a wide audience”. Even then, who gives a shit? Maybe they like that kind of music?
I think probably the main reason that this type of mentality is becoming less common is because more and more people are beginning to realize that most bands don’t make a lot of money. It’d be pretty ridiculous to say that they eat raw noodles everyday, take pictures with underage girls and sleep in a van for any reason other than a genuine love for the music. Your favorite band may appear to be rockstars until the drummer is asking you what your pant size is at Zumiez. I think that the money shaming mentality probably does still exist in small circles of crusty punx type people, but luckily they don’t have internet access under bridges and in squats, so we’re spared from their crappy opinions for the most part.
This video helped open my eyes to the horrors of touring in a mid-level popularity scenecore band.
Reason #3: They focus too much on image
The type of people it stems from: Kids who are concerned about their image
This critique is very typical for kids who are making their transition into Real Hardcore™. They want people to know that they’re all about the music now and that image doesn’t mean shit! So instead of repping pretty boy fangirled bands, they’re all about hardcore bands that are composed of casually dressed, average looking hardcore dudes. There is no way to escape it though really: every band has an image. Do you wear clothes? Then you have an image. You don’t think the hardcore scene cares about image? Try going to a Real Hardcore™ show wearing a Pierce the Veil shirt and tell me how many dirty looks you get. I’m serious.
I remember one of the most cringey online arguments I got into happened back in the MySpace era with this dude who was making his unsurprising transition from metalcore to hardcore. He kept going on about how if you go to a metalcore band’s MySpace page, their layout is all fancy, whereas if you go to a Real Hardcore™ band’s MySpace, it’s just plain. This was supposed to show how hardcore bands don’t care about their image like metalcore bands do. Why would something as meaningless as a band’s MySpace layout even have any effect on how somebody feels about their music? That seems about as trivial to me as how attractive their merch guy is. This was a clear-cut example of a kid who was just as caught up in image as the bands he’s opposed to for the exact same reason. For them, it’s not about disregarding image altogether. It’s about disregarding the wrong image and acquiring the right one.
Reason #4: Their fanbase is unbearable
The type of people it stems from: Hipsters
This one is pretty clear. People want their favorite band to be their own special little thing, kind of like the special snowflake that they are trying to be. But then once the wrong people start liking a band they’re into, the music suddenly just magically starts sounding crappier to them I guess? I’m not really sure how this works. As far as bands with lots of fangirls/jailbait in their audience, I would much rather be associated with girls who develop crushes on band members than those try-hard elitist buttholes who can type up a 5 paragraph essay as to why they dislike Asking Alexandria. I guess that means I care about fanbase to a certain extent? Maybe I do. But I try not to let it stop me from enjoying the bands I like.
Reason #5: They’re not original enough
The type of people it stems from: No Fun Clubbers
I can’t believe kids are still so hung up on originality. It’s like to them, music is some pissing contest to see who has the most artistic integrity. I mean, let’s say you love a band. Then another band came along and sounded mostly like them, with such subtle nuances that they didn’t really matter. Wouldn’t you like the rip off band too? I mean, I see it as essentially having more songs from the band you initially loved. Why do you care about someone else’s musical integrity? Sure, if you want to suck your own dick then that’s all on you, but why hold others to the same expectations? When I’m listening to a song I like, I’m usually too wrapped up in just enjoying the music to care about how much I respect the person who made it for being innovative or not.
Take this into consideration: genres came into existence based on the fact that someone came up with a formula that was likable enough for other people to want to emulate. There are probably plenty of super original bands out there that will never be known outside of the basement that they jam in because their music is so unappealing that no one would ever want to listen to it or sound like them. I will admit that innovation in music is important to a certain extent, because listening to the same type of thing over and over gets boring. But there are lots of kids out there that are acting like every single band has to reinvent the wheel, which is just stupid and unrealistic. Plenty of my favorite bands are generic and I actually wish more people ripped off some of the more unique sounding bands that I like so that I could have more songs in the vein of that band to listen to.
“Gutt-hop” is a genre that adds guttural death metal vocals over hip-hop beats. Ever heard of it? No? There’s probably a reason for that.
Reason #6: The band members are bad people
The type of people it stems from: Gullible people
This criticism is sort of complicated because it can range all the way from unconfirmed rumors and gossip involving mild offenses, to band members who have legit done horrible, unforgivable things (IE Ian Watkins). With that said, it’s pretty easy to spread false shit about band members and there are plenty of kids who eat it up and actually let it effect their opinion of the band. A dude in a band could easily be misconstrued as an ‘asshole’ because he’s shy or socially awkward. Lots of people who make up these criticisms are probably super sensitive and get bummed out when a band member doesn’t stop to talk to them for longer than 5 minutes as if he doesn’t have other shit to do.
As far as band members who have legit done bad things, I don’t let it effect the way I perceive the music, but I don’t think I’ve experienced a situation where a member of a band I like has done anything that bad. I would imagine that Jeremy McKinnon would have to do some pretty fucked up shit for me to view A Day To Remember’s music in a different light. Actually, who am I kidding, there is nothing that Jeremy McKinnon could do to stop me from enjoying A Day To Remember’s music. Music and the people who make it are two separate entities to me, with the latter not having an effect on the music, and really not having that much importance at all.
Reason #7: They’re trend-hoppers
The type of people it stems from: Naive people
I couldn’t think of a better way to describe these people other than naive. They’re naive because they have this weird idea that any band that’s playing a style that is currently trendy is somehow “exploiting” the music scene. What they don’t realize that there’s not really much to exploit. Most likely, the best thing that will happen to a band is that they’ll play in front of 50 or so kids (half of which they’re friends with), sell a couple of t-shirts, and maybe hook up with a mildly attractive groupie if they’re lucky. Most bands that form do not end up achieving more success than this. I’ll use an example of one of the comments that was left on my pop punk article I posted last week. I talked about a band from Britain called Nathan Detroit and how they could potentially join the ranks of the more popular British pop punk bands such as Me vs Hero and Neck Deep. This was that dude’s response…
I am simultaneously cringing and laughing at this comment so hard. He has this idea in his head that bands like Neck Deep and Me vs Hero (and even ROAM? Is he for real?) are these sellout rockstar bands because they have more than 4,000 likes on Facebook and can draw more than 65 kids at a show. It’s like, just because they knew what type of music they wanted to play and who their audience was, that means they’re trendy disingenuous posers who didn’t have to work hard for what they achieved. These are the types of people who say things like ”that band is only in it for the popularity”. Seriously? What band doesn’t want to get popular? If you know your audience, then cater to them. It’s the obvious thing to do if you want your band to be successful. If there’s a t-shirt design that you know kids would probably buy, then print those t-shirts and sell them! How is this seen as a bad thing?
One thing I have realized with these criticisms is that they usually don’t even have much to do with the music itself. It’s weird how often I hear them compared to things like “I don’t like the guitar tone” or “the singer’s voice annoys me”. I guess that’s what happens when certain groups of people are very vocal about their strong excessive negative opinions. My guess is a lot of these people don’t even necessarily hold these criticisms true to their heart and they more-so want to impress people by showing that they ‘really know a lot about music’, when they’re really just regurgitating stereotype elitist mentalities that should have never been instilled in the first place. I hope that in the future, kids can avoid hating and invest more into the bands they love. Isn’t that’s why we’re all here in the first place? Because we love music? So go to a show, buy a band’s merch, tell them you like them, just please try not be a hater.
Do you think bands get hated on too much? What do you think is the dumbest reason to hate on a band? Are you a hater?