I know, Dear Reader, that I’m a persistent curmudgeon, but even reading online music reviews, as I do on a daily basis, gets me riled beyond accidental Emmerdale viewing. Today (well, like every other day since I started using the Internerd) there are two Titanic funnels’ worth of steam emerging from my ears over the dogged, moronic insistence of non-American music reviewers to use the word ‘sophomore’. In case you don’t know, this hugely unattractive word refers to a second-year student in a U.S. college. Due to American review outlets like Pitchfork, its use (before the word ‘album’) has now come to refer to an artist’s second long-player. Which is quite all right over there; I’m absolutely sure normal, everyday Americans pop the word into normal, everyday conversations. Quite patently, however, we do not.
So why does this word ever, ever, ever turn up in British or Irish music reviews? And why does it never turn up in, say, online recipes or knitting patterns or church notices? Probably because those aren’t written by Converse-wearing, Starbucks-supping, ‘wannabe’-American 20-somethings, reared on ‘AWESOME, dude’ programmes like The Simpsons or Dawson’s Creek, whose image is somewhere between generic, ten-a-penny U.S. “alt-folk-country (so-called) indie” dirge-merchants and lazy, unemployable grunge kids who hang around outside shopping centres (or ‘malls’, as they no doubt call them), and who either have (or hang around with people who have) American-style ‘alt-folk-country-indie’ beards. Just what is it about being British, Irish or even European that they find so embarrassing?
‘Trans-Atlantic’ is the new ‘goth’; individuality through apathetic, G20-ignoring, Obama-sucking, globalised conformity. And anyone who isn’t actually American and can still insert the word ‘sophomore’ into a genuine music review without wincing, cringing or shouting at their computer screen (as I have done several times during this post) deserves to be stripped of their passport, kicked all the way to their ‘wannabe’ heartland of Brooklyn or Baltimore and locked inside a suitably large pizza oven with only a bottle of Budweiser for company.