Needless to say, American hardcore music has been one of the most influential subcultural movements in recent history. It’s blisteringly fast and abrasively loud quality has led many critics, both past and present, to describe it as “talentless”, “unlistenable” and “too ugly to be considered music”. And yet, the hardcore scene still thrives today. Its mark can be seen everywhere from music festivals to current hairstyle trends, but perhaps the most interesting outcome of the genre is the rise in popularity of the use of its infamous suffix, “-core” has experienced. Nowadays, “-core” can be used to modify just about any word you can think of, both creating new genres of music and describing the odd stuff that comes along with them. Here are my top 6 most ridiculous uses of the suffix “-core” and where you can see them in action.
I was first alerted to the existence of this genre a few years ago when a close friend of mine sent me a link to a youtube video of the band Alestorm. Also known as pirate metal, these guys make music that revolves around telling tales of the high seas through heavy guitars and growled lyrics (most of which are about walking the plank, wenches, and mead). This Scottish band has really got the whole pirate motif down, and to be honest, it can actually be pretty listenable if you catch yourself in the right mood. Check out “Captain Morgan’s Revenge” next time you’re hankerin’ for some good ole’ rum and booty.
No seriously, it exists. Although I’ve mainly heard this one used as a description of the San Diego based band Pierce the Veil, it is also a descriptor of any hardcore or punk band hailing from south of the border. I don’t speak Spanish, and I’ve never been to Mexico, so I’m pretty much useless if you’re looking for recommendations for this one. But, I am a huge fan of the aforementioned PTV, and if you’re looking for a taste of this Jose Cuervo fueled genre, I suggest taking a listen to the album Selfish Machines. Be prepared to experience some Latin inspired sound, especially on stand out tracks “The New National Anthem” and “Besitos”. Haters beware: You’re in for the use of some falsetto here, so if you can’t handle this exotic flavor, stay out of the taco truck, erm, I mean, kitchen.
This style of music is probably the best gift you can give yourself if you’re feeling like a scum-sucking loser. Encompassing a wide range of artists, some of whom can’t really be defined as hardcore at all, this niche has been carved out by performers who are really, well, just so damn chipper. Think bands like The Wonder Years, and anyone else who is basically sending the message “Life is good, so get up and move.” It’s also not uncommon for this label to be used as a simple description of an individual person; someone who really can’t seem to find much wrong with their surroundings. Sound like something you could use? I suggest listening to The Wonder Year’s album, The Upsides, in its entirety. If you still feel like shit afterwards, you really gotta lighten up.
Used exclusively to describe the onstage antics of metal-core (ha) outfit Of Mice and Men, this term cropped up as the definition of the band members’ ritual of falling down simultaneously with each other while on stage (minus drummer Valentino Arteaga) during a song and proceeding to play entire sections while lying on their backs. It’s pretty entertaining to watch, and you can catch a glimpse of it here.
Another band exclusive term, I’ve only ever heard this one used to describe the members of the pop punk band Four Year Strong. These guys grow beards like true professionals, and though it has nothing to do with the way their music sounds, it is quite a sight to behold once you witness the members of this band altogether in one place. Take a peek on Google images; for some reason, these luscious manes have made a name for themselves, completely independent of Four Year Strong’s musical reputation. Still, the kick-ass beards go along with some kick-ass music. Listen to “Wasting Time” and “Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride” off the band’s latest release Enemy of the World to get a feel for these scruffy ruffians’ blend of staccato guitar and energized gang vocals.
And last but not least, we’ve got crab-core. Yet again, we encounter a term that has nothing to do with the actual sound of the music, but instead describes a stance commonly adopted onstage. Originally coined by fans of Attack Attack!, this term had worked its way into the vocabulary of many kids in the scene. Have you ever seen a metal-core guitarist or bassist “get low” in the middle of a breakdown? So low, in fact, that you’re sure his Cheap Monday skinny jeans are about to bust? No? If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, take a look here. It’s really an experience you must have for yourself. You’ve been warned.