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The Top 10 Ways to Ruin a Song

by bradiger   September 07, 2009 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 1,978

While creativity is often key in the process of creating a solid song, there are still some hard and fast rules that wise pop artists quickly learn to abide by. But sometimes, perhaps by way of laziness, pretense, drugs, or just sheer indulgence, these guidelines are brushed off, and what could've been a perfectly good track is laid to waste.

Source: Jeffrey Coolidge/Photodisc/Getty Images

10. Failed Attempts at Genre-Mashing


Source: Dave Hogan/Stringer/Photodisc/Getty Images

Why is it that some artists, once even they’ve become sick of the music they’re putting out, feel that they have the license to genre-hop with impunity? Just because you’ve successfully struck a pose in the past does not mean you can convincingly rock out in the present.

This is doubly true when an older artist attempts to appear to be "with it" by doing a song with a younger, more relevant artist, despite how bizarre the pairing may be.

9. Weak Breakdowns


Source: Jupiterimages/Workbook Stock/Getty Images

Who decided that busting out the Fisher Price turntable for a sweet record-scratchin' breakdown was a good idea?

It's debatable whether this approach is more egregious than just not really doing anything at all, but if you can't come up with a good breakdown, you might want to ditch the idea altogether before it has a chance to grenade the whole song.

8. Overuse of Fake Endings and/or Pauses


Source: Roy Hsu/Photographer's Choice Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

One of the oldest tricks in the book – the song is running along at full steam, stops suddenly for a few beats, and then... wham, it’s back in action! Or the band attempts to fool you into thinking the song is over, but it isn’t!

The bottom line is that this little stunt stopped being clever in 1994. We get it, the song isn’t over. Oh wait, you guys are doing it twice. Three times? Okay, now that’s clever!

7. Self-Indulgent Intros That Last Way Too Long


Source: Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Just because Metallica was able to get away with it doesn’t mean everyone in the world wants to hear your four minute acoustic noodling intro before the actual song starts.

And throwing 45 seconds of feedback or random bleeps and bloops in front of a song in a feeble attempt to make it “arty” isn’t doing anyone any favors, either. My time is precious - let's get on with it.

6. Extended One-Instrument Solos


Source: Medioimages/Photodisc/Getty Images

Much like the indulgent intros, the extended solos, most notoriously illustrated by moments like Iron Butterfly's ridiculously long drum solo in In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, are not the captivating fare that artists might think they are. Even the short bass solo at the beginning of Black Sabbath’s "N.I.B." gets old pretty quick.

This might’ve been killin’ it at the show the other night, but when you’re looking for some to deliver instant gratification when your iPod is on shuffle, these exhibitions in instrument masturbation are a one-way ticket to the skip button.

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