Music snobbery is stupid
Currently listening to: whatever the hell I want
Eugh! I’m sick of it, man. I’m sick of trying to like music I don’t relate to because I’m supposed to. Because it’s rated by other credible music fans and supposed authorities on the matter. Over the years I’ve acquired a taste for some pretty weird and exciting music, but I also denied myself from receiving any pleasure or benefit from music that I’m not supposed to like.
Ok sure, Bubble-gum Pop is generally not for me. I certainly wouldn’t listen to it while I’m studying or relaxing or hanging out with my mates… but one of the most fun gigs I’ve been to was Steps at Slessor Gardens with my wife. Yeah Man, Steps. 5, 6, 7, 8. It was a beautiful, sunny day in Dundee and the gig started at some point in the afternoon. I grumbled under my breath at the thought of being forced to go to a pop gig, no doubt teeming with teeny boppers and their mums, but once we were there and sufficiently lubricated with wine, we had an incredible day. Once I let my guard down and quashed the music snobbery that governed me, we were both filled with nostalgic elation and our bodies reacted appropriately by dancing, jumping, singing and laughing our heads off. Shouldn’t music be fun sometimes? Like I say, it’s not always the right time to listen to Steps, but on that beautiful day it was perfect. If we were there watching some obscure, post-rock/noise band, I’d have stood there stroking my beard and nodding my head at the subtle nuances…but Elaine would have been bored out of her mind. It’s not the appropriate platform or situation for that kind of music.
As a teen I was so dismissive of so many great genres of music. I had a bee in my bonnet about Reggae and Punk and Ska and Pop and R&B and Metal, as well as anything electronic and tonnes of other genres. I even looked down on people who listened to this stuff. How stupid is this? I only ever admitted to liking Grunge, Indie, Scottish Post-Rock, Folk, and Country (and let’s be honest, I could have categorised all of those under two headings; Rock and Western Folk). In defining these ridiculous parameters around my taste in music, I denied myself the joy that I felt that day performing the dance routine to Tragedy in the scorching, summer sun. I’ve matured since then and I love Reggae, Punk, Ska, Metal and all sorts of electronic stuff in the right conditions. Hell! I’ve even been known to indulge in a little Cardi. It’s all about the time and the place. I love Metal and Punk when I’m driving or getting ready for work or a night out. The Ska and Reggae tents at a festival have fantastic vibes and they are great for chilling with your mates in a beer garden. You can’t dance to Damien Rice with nearly as much energy and passion as you can to Dubstep, D&B, Techno…and in fact all of the genres listed in the second sentence of this paragraph.
Even within the genres I had limited myself to, there were further imaginary restraints that were forced upon me by my ego and my ill-advised quest to be recognised as some sort of music guru. I’ve still to this day, never listened to a U2 album, or Nickleback or Status Quo because other people, other credible music gurus, told me not to. I hid my love for Coldplay and Linkin Park even though they brought me satisfaction that some other bands couldn’t. Now, Coldplay are no Radiohead and Linkin Park are no Rage, I know that, but they are great bands. Coldplay are perceived as dreary and depressing but A Rush of Blood to the Head is an extraordinary album, full of dynamics, emotion and excellent musicianship. Likewise, Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory is an absolute juggernaut of an album.
So, I don’t want to try to impress you anymore. Not that you ever asked me to or even cared at all. It was just an immature attempt to be accepted as cool and refined, that instead rendered me dismissive, closed-mined and actually far less musically educated than I believed I was at the time. Like a flat-earther with my hands over my ears screaming “LALALALA…” in Stephen Hawking’s face. I want to enjoy what I enjoy without considering it a guilty pleasure or hiding it from the gurus. I’ll continue to listen to listen to Daniel Johnston and Sigur Ros and Explosions in the Sky and all the other eccentric, unconventional artists I love, but I’ll also continue to listen to, and strive to explore and experiment with whatever the hell else I want. And you should do the same. Stop limiting yourself because you’re supposed to. If you’re a rapper that exclusively listens to rap, your music will suffer as a result and so will you intelligence, your vocabulary, your zen, your emotional quota, and your gig experiences. I spent so many years binging exclusively on folk, country and alternative rock but my music and my taste in music suffered as a result, along with my intelligence, vocabulary, emotional quota…etc. etc…
Music snobbery is boring and dismissive. It’s not big and it’s not clever.
Viva la Revolution, Okurrr!