Like fashion, music trends go in cycles. Artists get nostalgic for the stuff they listened to as kids and try to bring it back. That's why there are music fads from the 80s and 90s due to jump back on center stage at any moment. Ladies and gentlemen, there must be a way to stop them.
Here are trends that must remain in the past... at all costs.
At an age when you were having your first wet dreams about April O'Neil (or, in some cases, Krang), some kids were actually making something of their pubescence. Perhaps due to the tragic post-80s decline of the Jackson Five, in the 90s the world just needed children rapping. And, if possible, wearing their clothes backwards.
Kriss Kross. Another Bad Creation (ABC). Lil Bow Wow (who ran out of 'Dog' puns after his third album).
Seven year-old Bentley Green is out there plugging away, hoping the fad comes back before he's too old to take advantage (he started his MySpace when he was five freaking years old).
"Who's a big, cranky rapper? You are! Yes you are!"
There's real danger here, because he has the same "Aw, he's adorable!" factor with the housewives that made Kriss Kross mainstream, without the horrified moment when they realized the Kriss Kross kids were calling themselves "Mack Daddy" (which literally meant they were claiming to be 12 year-old pimps). In a couple of years this kid could have a merchandising empire that dwarfs Hanna Montanna.
Whatever happened to all of kiddie rapper acts, anyway? We're kind of shocked that none of them have their own reality TV show, following their sad lives as they prepare for a revival tour, using their old material. Cue uncomfortable scenes of re-learning lyrics about playgrounds, juxtaposed with one rapper getting high and trying to round up three hookers for a fourgy. Really cheap, filthy hookers.
There was a time when pop artists cared about the plight of the unfortunate. Every so often, they'd look up from their gold-plated plate of gold-plated coke, turn to their busty companion, and realize that dammit, all is not right in the world.
And they could do something to help: they could sing about it. Or even better, get a bunch of their famous friends together to sing about it.
"We Are the World" (1985), "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (1984), "Feed the World" (1984), "Voices That Care" (1991).
There was a whole mess of songs devoted to Hurricane Katrina but you'll notice all of the stars went it alone, rather than go the supergroup route. Apparently today's pop stars hate each other so much that not even Bob Geldof could shoehorn them all into a studio to record one track.
Poor, lonely Bob.
That, or none wanted to share the feel-good spotlight with 50 other stars. They all needed their moment, man.
No, the closest we got was Come Together Now, a "supergroup" formed by the likes of quickly forgotten American Idol Ruben Studdard and Celine Dion. Even though it was dedicated to both the 2004 Tsunami disaster and Hurricane Katrina, it never got higher than #13 on the charts.
Still, with events like Live Earth and no shortage of horrors in the world, it's just a matter of time until the track, "You Know, In Some Parts of the World Ten Year Olds Are Sold as Sex Slaves, For Old Western Men to Sodomize Them, And Babies Get Shot in The Eye Like it's No Big Thing. It's So Messed Up, Man" will hit the charts, featuring the vocal stylings of Will Smith, R Kelly, Lionel Richie and a cast of dozens of other celebrities eager to promote new films and albums.
It was a simpler time, friends. No1 askd if u wantd 2 4get ur trbls n b happy. Words were words, numbers were numbers, and they didn't mix. Except on license plates.
Then came Prince, who managed to call a song Nothing Compares 2 U, back in 1985--long before he had text messaging as an excuse.
Perhaps thanks to him, some record company execs thought the very definition of "hip", "urban" and "now" was to throw a number in the group's name. Thus we got All 4 One, Boys II Men, etc. Just look at the number hiding in there, parading around like a low-rent transsexual, drunk on a Wednesday night with a new weave to ensure s/he totally passes for a girl.
Yes, we think numbers are shemale whores and we'll have words with any man who disagrees.
Examples:UB40, 112, 3T, All 4 One, Boys II Men, MN8
Sure you've got acts like Maroon 5, Zero 7, Day 26, Matchbox 20 these days. But there the numbers serve as numbers, instead of hip replacements for real words.
But we still think these guys are a bunch of tools.
No, the real danger will be in a few years when the Texting generation grows up (that is, the kids who learned to text before they learned to read). This is when we'll see the 1337 pop groups. Perhaps a girl group called Cr4zii B4b3z? Or a Christian Rock act called J3sus' So1d|3rs? Or a DJ act named 411 Ur B34tz R B310ng 2 Us?
Here they come, guys. Trust us. Here they fucking come.
The 80s were a good time to be a man who loved makeup, hair spray, peroxide, bright pink spandex and, somehow, women. These bands sang about being badass rockers and left lipstick on the microphone. They did it without an ounce of irony or parody.
Science is baffled to this day.
Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, W.A.S.P., Dokken, Twisted Sister, Warrant, Cinderella, Poison.
The Darkness tried. Really hard, in fact. And you can still find the odd act here and there paying homage to that more simpler time.
But we really do seem safe from a full-on comeback. This is a more jaded time. The cornerstone of that music, i.e. cheesy sexual innuendo, doesn't play now.
This is the era of internet porn. We're not going to scare Mom and Dad with suggestively-titled albums like Open Up and Say.. Ahh (Poison), Cherry Pie (Warrant) and Girls, Girls, Girls (Motley Crue). And that's what those acts were all about, a rebellion against the conservative Reagan 80s, thrusting their zebra-skin, spandexed crotches in the camera, knowing every cry of outrage would sell another ten thousand albums.
So what are they going to do to get that same reaction now? Show up in rouge, leopard print leggings and teased hair, posing for the cover of their CD, Defecate Over a Glass Coffee Table as I Relax Below and Open Up And Say 'Ooh Uncle Kevin, Penetrate Me in My Vagina-Hole Whilst Wearing a Blue Power Rangers Costume'?
Don't confuse this with the one above (a glammed-up Brett Michaels actually made a pretty good looking chick, whether you admit it or not). We're talking about the transvestites. The gender-bending guy who comes around, blurring the line between sexes and thus winding up as the worst of both worlds.
Boy George, Marilyn (the Poor Man's Boy George from the 80s) Marilyn Manson (the Scary Man's Boy George).
Boy George, and some other dude dressed as a chick.
If you're still not clear on why we're so intent on stopping this from coming back, meet Aziz.
He's a Bulgarian pop star who is so huge in his native country that he represented them in Eurovision (sort of the European version of American Idol, with singers from several countries).
As you can see, this new generation of cross-dressers are extraordinarily lazy. He didn't bother to shave the goatee, or even tape down his junk. Quite frankly, if he doesn't care about his craft, why should we?
Seriously, the nineties were utterly retarded for this formula. The black Diva would sing the verses, usually about music, freedom, love in the night, passing love, or loving love, do a bit of chorus gear, and then, BOOM: the man would stomp in and do some tuff-as-guts rapping about yearning, or love, or being stern like a terminal illness.
The Real McCoy. Snap. C & C Music Factory. Black Box. Culture Beat. And Michael Jackson when he got a rapper in for the bridge of "Black or White".
You still see acts testing the waters with this technique, mainly because rappers today already spend most of their time wandering around studios where other albums are being recorded, and inserting themselves into the tracks.
So on Rihanna's hit "Umbrella" we have a Jay-Z rap glued onto the intro, for no reason at all.
If you're not sure what's so threatening about this genre, then perhaps you need to experience "Smell Yo Dick". NSFW.
As always, the trend that needs to die most, is the one that dies hardest.
Every few years or so a new song with its own dance pops up. They're always pure cheese, and they wind up way, way, way more popular than they deserve. We're a little more than 11 years past "The Macarena," its fourteen damned weeks at #1 still hanging as a huge black mark in our cultural history.
"The Twist" (1960). "The Nutbush" (1973). "The Bus Stop". "The Cabbage Patch" (1987). "Achy Breaky Heart" (1992). "The Macarena" (1996). "The Locomotion" (three fucking times).
The world is still recovering from the carnage left by the Soulja Boy disaster. His YouTube video demonstrating his patented dance got as much traffic as the actual video for the song. From there it spread to the radio, and spent seven weeks at number one.
Here's an idea: the next time some new artist comes along to cash in on a new annoying song/dance combination, let's band together to stop him. We'll get a supergroup to sing a charity single, and with the money we'll pay the dude to stay home. The cost will be great, but we cannot stand by and allow another "Crank That" to happen to our children.
Lisa-Skye Ioannidis is a Melbourne-based writer and editor. You can find more of her at her blog .