I've noticed a terrible affliction in some "extreme music" albums I've been listening to lately. It's about yelling/growling.
Put in a nutshell, I've noticed plenty of vocal passages, in plenty of songs, where the expression used is way bigger than the actual sentiment it is intending to convey. That, if I'm not wrong, would be a good definition of the word "affectation", which is always a sign of bad art.
Of course things are always multifactorial, and I can detect this kind of flaw in a piece of music that is, still, crazy good in other areas, with great chops, instrumentation, general lyrics, etc. It's just a matter of listening it for what it is and not fooling yourself about it (in my case, those moments sound to me almost "cute", as you would feel in front of a kid struggling to tie his shoes: "aaaw... so big and they struggle to express emotion..." And if this sounds too condescending of me, let me add that I'm aware that people who listen to my music will also find lots of vulnerabilities -also cute, I hope- in all kinds of areas.)
But I find this affection specially concerning given the genre it relates to; radical music, extreme music, is all about torrential emotion. About a guy who cannot stand one more single piece of crappy ear candy in the middle of the collective stink, and says let's pervert it. Let's crazy speed it up. Let's distort it. Let's make it as twisted and dissonant as it is our pathetic, hypocritical world. Let's put it on the table. I can't take this shit anymore.
So it's bad news when a highly expressive resource like yelling turns into pure formula. In some of the songs I'm thinking of (and whose names I don't want to give away, because like I said they are in other aspects amazing), it feels as if the singer had thought "oh, I'm supposed to yell here for a bit". As a convention of the genre, as something that the audience has come expect; not because there's actually something worth yelling out. "Just like a proper sonnet must have 14 verses, radical music must include its pinch of yelling here and there".
A motivation of that kind is not emotional, but exclusively rational. And that's where you get the affectation, the lack of balance between what's told and how it is told. Here are a few examples, taken to the parody, of what this mismatch feels like (imagine low case words as borderline yelling, and upper case as proper yelling):
...and I have to leave right now OR I WON'T BE IN TIME FOR THE DENTIST!!!
...I like chocolate ice cream BUT STRAWBERRY IS FINE TOO!!!
...remember to make a note SO YOU LATER CAN FIND YOUR CAR!!!
GRRGGGHH!!! Wow, murderous thoughts, radical concepts, aren't they? These examples are over the top for explanation's sake (and the fun of it). Of course in reality, as always with artistic creation, there are more grey areas, matters of opinion or taste... But I hope I made my point and maybe now you start to get an ear for this kind of "pimples"...
By the way, this resource, this mismatch between what you say and how you say it (the "how" in music is both the voice inflection and the accompanying music), can also be used deliberately, as a great ironic device for example. I'm thinking of two examples outside the realm of the cookie monsters:
Dead Milkmen's "Bitchin' Camaro": "Bitchin' Camaro/Bitchin' Camaro/I ran over my neighbors..."
Faith No More's "Anne's Song": "...followed by Jamilla/who's got the cream soda..."
In both songs, the music is happy, anthem-like, easy going, while the lyrics, instead, are used to say idiotic or quite criminal things.
When I started to write a post about yelling, I didn't though I would end up speaking of Dead Milksmen or Faith No More, but, there you have it, those two examples are way more radical and extreme than any other group who yells every few kilometers ONLY BECAUSE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TOOOO!!!! GRRRR!!!
I have a guitar and I'm gonna use it