Dude, that band sucks. How can you listen to that garbage?
That’s a pretty common way to describe something you don’t like. But isn’t there a difference between quality and preference? Do they really “suck,” or do you just not like them? It really doesn’t matter what band or artist we’re talking about, if you Google your favorite band and the word “sucks,” you’ll find responses. However, we must pick an example.
It’s become popular amongst some of my friends to consider “The Eagles” to be the worst band ever. Yes, even worse than Nickelback, Milli Vanilli or any other act that you make fun of despite their selling millions of records.
Given that they’re one of the most successful music acts in history with 17 top 40 hits, how exactly do the Eagles “suck”? As musicians? I don’t feel qualified to judge the quality of a musician, but the Eagles certainly sound like they know how to sing and play their instruments.
Is it the originality of their music? They’ve been copied so many times, it’s hard to know what original means.
I read some reviews about why the Eagles “suck,” and what I found weren’t criticisms of the music, but rather criticism of the people in the band. They’re too serious, they’re pretentious, rich, liberal, womanizing, etc. But those aren’t comments on the art, they’re comments on the artists. And if history has shown us anything, it’s shown us that bad people can make popular and enjoyable art.
So, I propose a simpler, more honest way of talking about art. Instead of saying “They suck,” try saying “I’m not a fan” or if you’d like to be stronger, “I really don’t like their stuff.” You’re then making a statement of truth, and if you’re looking to engage in a conversation, you’ve opened up the question “why don’t you like them?” rather than “Why do they suck?”
And really, do you think you can defend “suck”?