Overthinking What Makes for a ‘Banger’
OK, not those bangers. (Although I am now hungry. Dangit.) No, I’m referring to ‘Banger’ in the song context. And more specifically, I am wondering what makes for a ‘Friday Banger’. Yes, yes, I am aware today is not Friday nor even close to Friday–but it has been on the mind recently as work has recently introduced a cycle of having someone nominate a Friday Banger to start the playlist for the day. We’ve done, uh, one cycle of this so far. Last Friday. The person selected to kick us off nominated Foo Fighters – Everlong if you’re curious.
It also occurs to me now, as I sit to write this, that ‘Banger’ might be a fairly localised piece of slang. I have no idea if that’s the case or not, but if it is — you’re in luck because I’m going to try to distil down what the essence of a ‘banger’ even is.
At its most basic, it’s referring to a good song.
I reckon there will be a more formalised or widely accepted definition out there somewhere, but I’ve never bothered to go hunt such a thing and now that I’ve had this idea for a post, I’m not about to go ruin it and let it get away from me. First of all, I’m going to go through what my understanding of the term is garnered through social context since it entered semi-popular usage in New Zealand a few years ago.1
- It must be recognisable
The more people that recognise it, I reckon, the better the potential for the song to be a ‘banger’. The song in question should have garnered the sort of airplay that even people not interested would have had no choice but to have heard it at some point, somewhere. They don’t need to be familiar with the intimate details such as the eye-colour of the lead guitarist of the band, but the music itself should carry some recognition to it, at least over the chorus!
I think the age of a song can carry some of the heavy lifting here too — but I definitely have a bias toward older songs vs. (most) new songs anywho.
- It needs to be enjoyable to listen to — but the context here matters
‘Macarena‘ might fit the first criteria I outlined, but I would put to you, dear reader, that in most contexts it isn’t the most enjoyable song to listen to. In a certain party context where the liquor has flowed freely with people of a certain age who remember it fondly (or not, hah) when it was more recent, well, perhaps!
- It should err toward being more upbeat than not
I think this does apply generally, but it certainly applies when considering a ‘Friday Banger’ I reckon. I’m not saying it needs to be puppies and sunshine, but it probably shouldn’t swing toward ‘Papa Roach – Last Resort‘ either.
- It should provide an energy boost to listen to
I went back and forth between rolling this into the prior point or not, but ultimately decided you can get an energy boost from certain negative-emotion charged songs too.
And… Yeah, there we go. I think that’s what a ‘Banger’ (and ‘Friday Banger’) means within my current mental construct.
I heard a song on my YouTube Music ‘Supermix’ today which I thought might meet all these criteria though, and yet still ineffably not be ‘right’.
Yep! This one. I’ve had a LOT of oldies like this showing up in my supermix of late after compiling a playlist of everything I could remember Mum playing (sometimes a lot) at home when we were kids.
I think my first legitimate concern is that it might be passing into the era where it is just old enough — and a number of my work colleagues just young enough — that it might fail on the recognition hurdle.
But many of us are of a similar age, so I think the reason weighing more heavily on my mind is… Well; not sure how you all feel — but I think it’s really putting yourself out there to say (particularly in a work context, but any context I think!), ‘Here is a song I like well enough that I am now also recommending it to you’.
It isn’t exactly a pressing concern yet. I don’t know when my ‘turn’ to pick will be. We’re a pretty large group, so it could be yonks away during which time I’ve been provided much more necessary context on the likes and dislikes of this particular group by the other selections made. (But if someone does pick this before me! *shake fist*) :)
Oh yeah- the definitions out there from having searched: “What constitutes a banger?”
Well- it isn’t calling out the song usage as localised, so that’s a good start. (Although I should point out, I have been familiar with the British ‘Sausage’ usage of the term for longer than I have the song usage!)
That’s probably a bit closer to my understanding, but suggests that yep — I probably have been overthinking it somewhat!
Huh. That’s going pretty left-field of my understanding, but I can see the sense in what it is saying. I note this one is dated back to 2018 though — so I wonder if the usage has morphed with time? An investigation for another time perhaps.