What I Imagine Popular Music I’ve Never Heard Sounds Like

I find myself in a perpetual state of being in the dark about new popular music. Make no mistake — I’m very aware of what the kids are listening to these days. I’m plugged-in to the pop cultural trends and happenings, I really am. But whether it’s based in laziness, ADD, elitism, or aural agoraphobia, I don’t do a good job of getting around to hearing the actual music being produced by these new hot bands that I am aware of. Have I done a sufficient job of defending my hipness while confessing my out-of-touch-ness? Good, moving on.

But these days, an artist or band can be so heavily visible and PR-pimped out that you can be exposed to their existence, have their carefully-executed brand shoved in your face, hear news and gossip about their lives, relationships and scandals, all to the point where you can easily garner an entire personal and aesthetic impression of them before ever hearing their music. This happens to me all the time. And sometimes, I like to fill in the last piece of the puzzle – what the music itself is like – based on no knowledge of their songs, but piecemeal awareness of the artists, their image, and the people who listen to them.

Want to see how that goes? Yeah, you do. Here are some bands I’ve never heard and what I imagine they sound like:


I’ve seen pictures of Skrillex so I know it’s a guy and not a band. The name sounds like an industrial cleaner. It makes me miss Billy Mays. I think he would’ve wanted me to have some Skrillex, in case I spilled red wine on my white carpet. I think Skrillex sounds like Billy Mays’ crusty beard hairs put in a blender with OxyClean, bleach, chipped off plastic flakes from knock-off Wayfarers, and maybe some leaky batteries. If what the world felt like after sniffing that blended mess for a few minutes was a sound – I’m guessing that’s what Skrillex’s music is like. This isn’t a completely in-the-dark guess; like I said, I’ve seen a picture of this guy(?). Anyone who looks like the anemic byproduct of a coked out three-way between Garth Algar, Lisa Loeb, and Corey Feldman is absolutely going to make sounds that give us all cheap, acidic headaches.

Bruno Mars

Pretty sure I’ve seen these guys on some red carpets lately. I think it’s 2 or 3 dudes looking like all vaguely futuristically stylish but mostly pulling it off, like grown-up Willow Smiths. So maybe their music sounds like “Whip My Hair,” but like, whatever the dude equivalent of that is. “Whip My Dick.” But if I hadn’t seen them on red carpets, the name “Bruno Mars” would give me strong shades of Train, or anything from the soundtrack of any WB teen drama, back when it was still called The WB.


I imagine he was on a Disney show as the token black kid who says zany stuff to the lead character’s parents. This is based on nothing other than the name “Drake,” which seems like what such a character would be called. He decided to branch out into a music career after he got too post-pubescent for Mickey’s Clubhouse. He’s probably making everyone feel awkward by taking his shirt off onstage in an attempt to look like sexiness is just “who he is” when really he wants to show everyone that his Disney days baby fat has melted away into surprising abs of steel. We know what you’re doing, Drake, and we all feel weird about it. (I’m trying to figure out where the “face tattoo” chick fits into this scenario, but “face tattoo” chicks rarely fit into any reasonable scenario. But she does add something spicy to his overall flavor, and I like him more for it.)


Jesus f*ck, I can’t. Like everyone on this list, I haven’t heard LMFAO simply because I haven’t encountered it. My travels don’t take me to the part of the Internet where these guys live. But unlike the others, I flat out refuse to listen to whatever these skeeze-mongers are peddling. You named yourself after a chat acronym. No, shut up; I don’t care if it’s ironic. That possibly makes me hate you more. I assume this band sounds like the pictures that male LFO fans would’ve posted after spring break in Panama City Beach if Facebook has been prevalent in the late 90s.

One Direction

Christian contemporary, right? I think I nailed it (Get it?! Jesus? NAILED it?!) I feel good about about this one. I think “One Direction” was the name of the Christian fellowship group that met on Wednesday mornings in middle school. This band sounds like the muffled sounds of 90s Jesus pop as sung by a bunch of earnest, smug 13-year-olds, as heard by me sitting in the hall, sleepily trying to finish my homework before school starts. Ahh, the glory days. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – One Direction

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