9 of the most annoying pop-star trademarks

Taylor Swift image by Featureflash/Shutterstock

The world of pop-stardom is filled with countless clichés, with all those Spinal Tap like quirks that make us roll our eyes and joke with our friends. Of course, the flipside to that is that those quirks and clichés are what make us pay attention in the first place. They’re what separate the superstars from the wannabes. Well, that and talent, but let’s be real here, mostly it’s all that other stuff. On one hand you want to be interesting, but on the other you don’t want your entire persona to be taken over by all those trademark quirks either. Unfortunately, it happens, and here are nine of the worst pop-star trademarks of them all.

Photo credit: Taylor Swift image by Featureflash/Shutterstock

9 Every Song is About the Same Thing

Taylor Swift image by Featureflash/Shutterstock

Worst Offender: Taylor Swift

By now, if you even exchange a glance with Taylor Swift from across a crowded room you know that sooner or later you’re going to turn up in one of her songs. For someone with such a sweet image, Taylor basically does nothing but write hit-pieces coated with sugar. She’s surprisingly vicious. And while that is kind of interesting and gives her stuff depth and a weird sort of hook that some of her contemporaries lack, by now it’s become little more than a running joke. We get it, a dude, probably someone famous because that’s just how you roll, did you dirty and now you’re going to get back at him by adding some melodies to your Dear Diary entries, and then you’re going to do it again, and again, and again, and… it just never ends.

Photo credit: Taylor Swift image by Featureflash/Shutterstock

8 Old Men Pretending to be Sex Gods

Samira Khan, Flickr

Worst Offender: Mick Jagger

This basically goes for an entire generation of pop-stars but nobody is guiltier of it than Mick Jagger. The dude turns 70 this year and he’s still out there in leather trying to convince the audience that he’s going to bang all of them in his hotel room later that night. In reality, he’s going to go back to his room, take his Metamucil, watch whatever’s on CBS, and the only thing he’s going to be sucking and licking on is a Werther’s Original. Look, my whole life, I’ve thought of Mick Jagger as an old man. He’s been stringing this whole thing out for decades now. For reference’s sake and so any old people don’t freak out on me, this would be like Al Jolson in the 60’s trying to do the ol’ bump and grind. You’re old and your time has passed and nobody wants to see that shit. Deal with it.

Photo credit: Samira Khan, Flickr

7 Self-Importance

hds, Flickr

Worst Offender: Bono

I could have gone with a lot of different pop-stars here – Thom Yorke, Morrissey, Michael Stipe – but really, the king of self-importance is Bono. It’s one thing to care about the issues and to take what you do seriously but it becomes a problem when listening to you feels like listening to one giant lecture. People want to have a good time. They pay you money so they can dance around and sing along and then go home and have sex. That’s it. That’s your job. They don’t want to have to listen to you talk about the time you and Sean Penn built a house in Haiti with Bill Clinton and then sang “Give Peace a Chance” during a protest of the local government’s mistreatment of the goat population. Sure, you should be proud of your activism and for the good that you do, but man, just shut up and sing your songs.

Photo credit: hds, Flickr

6 Acting Wild and Crazy Just for Attention

TJ Sengel, Flickr

Worst Offender: Lady Gaga

Look, we all know why you show up to awards ceremonies wearing a dress made out of hamburgers and a hat made out of placentas, and we should all be ashamed of ourselves for even dignifying it with the tired pointing and hooting that you so crave. If you want to be outrageous, then just be outrageous. Give into your wild side and see what happens. But what the Lady Gagas of the world do is so calculated, so measured, that it’s actually incredibly conservative. There’s no real risk to any of it. It’s just a cynical attempt to capitalize on people’s addiction to faux-outrage before they finally get bored with you and move on to the next fake weirdo who steps on stage with a dog’s butt strapped to their face or something. Sure, pageantry is part of the whole pop-star package, but when it becomes the entirety of the package it might be time to reevaluate things.

Photo credit: TJ Sengel, Flickr

5 Whining About Being Persecuted

O.M.Gee!, Flickr

Worst Offender: Chris Brown

Strangely enough, if you savagely beat a woman to within an inch of her life and then spend every day after nailing yourself to a cross and crying because people are mean to you, people will think you’re an asshole. It also doesn’t help when you get into catfights with every other quasi-famous person you run into in the clubs. The whole world is not out to get you. It’s just that, well, it’s just that you’re an asshole. Imagine what would happen if Chris Brown ever dated Taylor Swift. Just imagine it. Good God. Now those would be some interesting post-breakup songs. Of course, the whole thing would end with Chris beating up Matt Lauer and then complaining like a lunatic that Taylor set him up, and… oh God, I probably just gave both of their publicists a monstrous idea.

Photo credit: O.M.Gee!, Flickr

4 Over-singing

Mariah Carey image by Joe Seer/Shutterstock

Worst Offender: Countless pop-stars

Really, there are too many pop-stars that over-sing these days to blame it all on just one of them. I guess the queen of this style of singing would be Mariah Carey although she’s been supplanted in recent years by the likes of Christina Aguilera and, well, every wannabe female pop-star who crowds into the waiting rooms of American Idol and The X-Factor. It’s an epidemic, a horde of pop-stars wandering the streets oohing and aahing, using nineteen different notes to sing one syllable while the rest of us plug our ears and hope that our windshields don’t get shattered. It’s like all the cats in the world just got their tails slammed in the door at the exact same time.

Photo credit: Mariah Carey image by Joe Seer/Shutterstock

3 Constipated Singing

Bob Dylan image by Christian Bertrand/Shutterstock

Worst Offender: Countless pop-stars

On the flip-side, you have the even more annoying singers who sound like they’re on the verge of death with each lyric. They want you to think that they care so much that it’s impossible for them to even get the words out without suffering terrible pain and torment. Whether it’s Tom Waits singing like he just ate broken glass while simultaneously trying to pass a kidney stone, or Bob Dylan singing like he’s being strangled with a belt or Bruce Springsteen bellowing about blue-collar life like he’s in the midst of a spectacular once in a lifetime bowel movement, it’s completely ridiculous. I get it, you’re passionate, but I don’t want to picture you having an old-man orgasm every time you sing so just knock it off already, okay?

Photo credit: Bob Dylan image by Christian Bertrand/Shutterstock

2 Autotuned Everything

Worst Offender: The Cast of Glee

Everyone uses Autotune these days. It’s here to stay and we just have to accept it. But every once in a while, you hear a song so ridiculously autotuned that you instantly know that it will be one of those things everyone will look back on in twenty years and relentlessly mock. That Maroon 5 song where he sounds like a robot gibbering about calling on a pay phone comes to mind here. But the worst of the worst are the soulless renderings of the cast of Glee, whose versions of popular songs are so horrid, so insipid, that even the devil himself wouldn’t torture people with that shit. The Terminator wasn’t that far off. It’s just that instead of literally killing people, the robots have decided to inject themselves into all of our songs in an attempt to kill our spirits.

Photo credit: YouTube/Fox

1 Nickelback’s Existence

@cdharrison, Flickr

Worst Offender: Nickelback

As the old saying goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all, so…

Photo credit: @cdharrison, Flickr

(Previously published on March 27, 2013.)