A guide to ethical music streaming

Alternatives to listening to music by abusers
Photo courtesy of Spotify
Unproblematic artists with great music.

It’s 2021. Unfortunately, as with so much of the entertainment industry, many music artists from all genres have faced allegations of sexual assault, harassment, racism, and other generally shitty behaviors. Good news is, there’s an endless supply of great, non-problematic artists to listen to instead. Why keep giving money and streams to human garbage when that same impact can be made on non-abusive people?

Chris Brown went out of style ages ago (circa 2009, to be specific, when he violently beat Rihanna). While Chris Brown was certainly one of the poster boys for the early 2010s, there are a million different options for listeners seeking a similar vibe without the trashy track record. Jason Derulo, Pitbull, Soulja Boy, the list goes on. Jason Derulo is definitely similar in the way he vocalizes, but his music definitely has a little more of an autotuned pop sound. Regardless, his music has the same nostalgic, middle school feeling, minus the abusive, thinks-it’s-okay-to-throw-a-woman-out-of-a-moving-car personality behind the music. Just stop; “With You” really wasn’t even that good to begin with.  

Falling in Reverse never created good music either, but the scene kid pop punk genre has so much more to offer. Unfortunately, many bands of that genre and time period also feature abusers and rapists: Pierce the Veil, Of Mice and Men, and Memphis May Fire all have band members who have been accused of either sexual assault or other generally crappy things. But for fans who miss the scene kid phase, Woe, Is Me has some great music that features that weird mix of screaming and singing. Their 2010 album Number[s] is a little less scene-kid-vampire-y, but lead vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn seamlessly transition from unclean to clean vocals throughout the album, creating a catchy metalcore sound.  

For grown up emo kids, Brand New was absolutely iconic. Tattoos about their song “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot” freckle the bodies of many classic emo fans (don’t have any advice for that mistake, unfortunately), and nearly everyone on Tumblr knows at least one lyric. Alas, Brand New frontman Jesse Lacey was accused of sexual assault in 2017, disappointing those who loved their weird, dark sound. Foxing offers a similar dark and twisty sound, though a little calmer than Brand New’s iconic album Deja Entendu. The early work of Balance and Composure, another emo band, might suit those who miss the melodic screamy sound. Their album Separation isn’t as avant garde as Brand New, but evokes a similar cold, dark, rainy vibe.  

Lastly, Mom Jeans recently entered the “midwest” emo scene, writing obnoxiously whiny songs like “Now This is Podracing” and “Vape Nation.” Despite their recent rise to the top, Mom Jeans has had a pretty tumultuous history, with major accusations of bullying fans and making frequent racist comments. For those that love that sad boy emo stuff, Modern Baseball is wildly similar; their album You’re Gonna Miss It All is more mature, but still features those vaguely whiny vocals the emo kids love.  

Listening to music nowadays, like consuming most entertaining content, requires some background research. Ethically streaming artists worth believing in, worth supporting, helps support survivors of abuse, and listeners still get the content and sound they’re looking for.  

This is a selection from the Jan. 27 issue. To view the full issue, visit: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/422892/

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