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Beware The Keytar

North Sea Jazz Festival In Rotterdam
Rob Verhorst/Redferns

On this week's All Songs Considered, we listen to some great new electronic music. These days, there's a flood of creative electronic sounds, both danceable and laid-back.

We've seen this flood of new electronic aesthetics before, both in the '70s and '80s. Having lived through that, as an electronic musician and a listener, I toss this bit of caution to fans and players: Beware the Keytar!

The Keytar is the single most obnoxious instrument in modern music. It combines the worst part of a keyboard (plastic and monophonic) and the even worse part of a guitar (no guitar strings, no body).

I'll pull a random YouTube Keytar video and it will illustrate my disdain.


Now, I am not expecting a resurgence of the Keytar any time soon. But like the devil, the Keytar is sure to rear its ugly head on current electronic music in some other form. In fact, AutoTune has essentially been the Keytar of the '00s, and it still creeps into this decade far too often.

Here are the some Keytar signs to look out for:

1. It will seem cute at the time.
2. There will be a mega-hit that spawns little Keytar children.
3. You'll hear it in a TV commercial.
4. Your mom and dad will talk about it.
5. There'll be a toy in Wal-Mart that emulates it.

Maybe you've seen some signs already. If so, let us know.