I call it ‘Scrubs Rock’
I’ve always criticised music journalists for creating musical genres out of thin air. So I guess I’m a massive hypocrite for making up the term ‘Scrubs Rock’. In my defence, this wasn’t done out of the desire to promote some new strain of noise pollution, or as an act of self promotion. It was done as a means of warning people about this most pervasive form of music, which is sweeping the charts.
The ‘Scrubs’ of the title refers to the American hospital-based sitcom that outstayed its welcome many years ago. Scrubs Rock is the kind of music that sounds like it could be used on the soundtrack to said programme.
There is no concrete definition of Scrubs Rock, but like audio porn (porncasts?), I know it when I hear it. It’s a sort of overly earnest kind of pop-rock; usually performed by young, male, American bands and singers. The lyrics are sentimental and deal with lost love or ennui. You can perform a simple test to see if a certain song belongs to this genre: If you can picture the song in question playing while Zach Braff’s character walks down a hospital corridor in slow motion; then it’s Scrubs Rock.
A good example is Rhett Miller’s song ‘Come Around’. Here’s a quick clip of the song in all its Weezer-ripping-off glory, being used in an episode:
Horrifying isn’t it? However, that isn’t the epitome of SR. The prime example is The Fray – How to Save a Life:
Time Magazine’s TV critic, James Poniewozik, once wrote: “The Fray is to Coldplay as Drive Shaft is to Oasis”. Never a truer word written. That song gets extra points for also being used in a similar fashion on Gray’s Anatomy.
The major problem with the SR genre, is that it’s not limited to songs that have actually appeared on the show. Songs and artists that have never been featured on the series can still be Scrubs Rock. Even artists that you might not expect, such as Jonathan Coulton, have dipped their toes into the SR sewer. This is my main problem: it seems to be spreading.
I hope that in raising awareness of this most heinous form of music, I might play a small part in stopping its spread. By taking the simple steps of avoiding American network television and teenage girls’ CD collections; you should be able to limit your exposure.
Be safe. Don’t have nightmares.