An A-Z Guide to the most overused music critic terms

From Stool Piegon:


Achingly beautiful — see our Twitter page

ADD/ADHD — Behavioural disorder co-opted by critics looking to describe an increasingly endemic strain of music, i.e. “ADHD-indie pop”, whose incoherent attempts at shoehorning myriad genres into its songs resemble Jabba The Hutt trying to pour himself into a Size 8 wetsuit. Miserably, this flim-flamming approach is often passed off as an aesthetic of some sort, along with muttered theories about “the internet” and “downloading culture” from the band.

Angular riffing — Phrase in popular usage circa the post-punk revival of the early/mid-noughties. Precisely what angle we’re dealing with here is frustratingly unclear, though given some of the names once associated with the term (The Young Knives, The Rakes), we’d suggest it’s likely to be a pointy one.

“Anticipation is running high for the show tonight” — Filler phrase, trans. “Time is running low for copy deadline tonight.”


Blissed-out — Grossly overused during the short-lived chillwave fad of 2008/9, this spectacularly unevocative phrase often turned up in reviews as “blessed-out”, thanks to the joys of Microsoft Word’s autocorrect function.

BNM’d — Pitchfork recommendation conferred on tracks deemed worthy of approval; because only Pitchfork can an acronym be used as a verb without massive, twatty alarm bells going off. Not to be confused with the low cost retailer of similar name; B&M Bargains.

Breathtaking sweep — Does your record need a dash of epic derring-do that’ll have your band underwhelming pissed-up O2 Academy crowds across the nation come September? You need to get yourself some “breathtaking sweep”: they sell them in Argos, presumably.


Cafés — Along with the hotel lobby, the most popular of settings for some serious “facetime” action with musicians. Mostly, writers have the good sense to edit out the temporary digs from their actual features — but annoyingly, cafés tend to stay put. A Stool Pigeon reader was moved to write on the very same topic: “In your last issue, a noticeable amount of your interviews started off by stating that the musician in question was sitting in a café. Of course they’re sitting in a café. They’re indie cunts. Reminding me of that fills me with contempt for what would otherwise be perfectly listenable music.”

Childlike wonder — sounds like Animal Collective

Cod-reggae — The only cod genre that’s allowed, as favoured by W. Axl Rose in the inexplicable middle section of ‘Live And Let Die’

Conscious decision — As an interviewer, two words that tell you you’ve run out of interesting things to say, e.g. “Was it a conscious decision to make a more boring-sounding record this time around, or did it evolve that way naturally?” Let me guess: it evolved that way naturally. Also: please kill me now.

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