SNP’s word of the day: Trollgaze

Illustration by Lewis Mirrett
Illustration by Lewis Mirrett

Word: Trollgaze

Meaning: A “genre” of music defined by its Tumblr success, Twitter divisiveness, and total inability to exist outside of the internet. Coined by Maura Johnson at The Village Voice

Usage: “A trollgaze track is utterly web-native: It’s not built to exist in a record shop, a TV channel, a collection, or even an mp3 playlist. Its natural habitat is the stream— that ceaseless flow of information we access every time we use social media. Trollgaze is something you see sandwiched between other status updates, tweets, or posts, fighting for attention with every other picture, stray thought, polemic, or advert. Its button-pushing crassness and ambiguous motives make it an evolutionary nightmare: music perfectly adapted for life in the stream.” Tom Ewing on Pitchfork, December 2011

You should know it because: You probably knew it last year, but last night I was at a Vice party, because I had forgotten what Vice parties are like, and they played that LMFAO “Shots! Shots! Shots!” song really loud until I remembered about trollgaze. Then I realized it had crossed over. It used to be that good indie songs eventually went mainstream, but now it’s sort of the opposite: bad mainstream songs getting pseudo-cool in a fairly tiresome way. It struck me that people had been looking at Lana Del Rey all wrong; that if we had realized from the beginning that she was a mainstream pop star in a Brooklynite’s clothing, rather than an indie-pop tart gone big time, she wouldn’t now be the poster girl for trollgaze. Her music should, counterintuitively, have been on the radio first. Conversely, Rihanna and Chris Brown‘s sick-in-the-bad-way trollgaze anthem, “Birthday Cake,” should stay on the internet—the only place it can be hated enough.