CMJ has come and gone, but not without lingering conversations about music still echoing in my head. Though it provides more justification for the human race than anything else we’ve produced, music is the root cause of most insufferable discussions. A lot of annoying questions get tossed around:
“Are you going to ask me about a band and force me to freestyle an articulate and contextually rich opinion off the top of my head?
The critical tone of these conversations tends to skew positive. Hey, you never know when that person might be the tour manager/backup drummer/drug supplier of a particular artist.
Not so in a conversation I had this past weekend, offhandedly remarking that a band I’d heard the day before aped The Strokes to the point where they should just go the tribute band route.
Offhand response: “I don’t like The Strokes.”
Incredulous and interrogatively toned half-shout: “What? Why not? Why don’t you like The Strokes?”
Annoyed, tepid reply: “I don’t know, I just don’t.”
Stunned, bewildered silence. Slight twitching of mouth. Synapses firing in search of the correct jargon for rational appeal on objective merits of The Strokes.
And then, while standing slack-jawed, it dawned on me that there is no rational appeal on the objective merits of The Strokes to a person who doesn’t like The Strokes. Music is sound, not opinion, and no one’s opinion will or should truly change as a result of third-party criticism.
My friend should not have to explain herself or say anything further on the subject.
So, now I’m weirdly enthused about defending the right to not like a band that most people find great.
Don’t be obnoxious about it, but stand your ground. There are artists that the opinionated music community-at-large may like, but a respectable individual may not. And that’s fine. I have a few.
Chance the Rapper
I’m pretty sure I get it. I understand why people dig him so much. Why his mixtape Acid Rap has been at the top of so many lists. Super smart kid from culturally ripe community (read: GTA-level violent) melodically recites poignant, clever lyrics over Gen Y’s version of Golden Era hip-hop production. A Kendrick Lamar for the first wave of truly Internet-reared kids. But I hate his voice. And that’s that.
Oneohtrix Point Never
This I don’t get. What the fuck is the appeal behind this guy? I swear I’ve given him a chance. I’ve listened to his latest, more “accessible” album. I don’t understand what I’m supposed to be hearing. Important things seem to be missing. These are not songs; a “soundscape” is not a song.
Whoaaa, really? The Boss? Yeah, not into him. Disclaimer: I’ve seen him live at Madison Square Garden and it was epic. Chris Christie was sitting a few rows away from me with his kids and man, watching that walrus of a man pumping his fist and screaming every lyric was a true privilege. But it’s arena rock through and through. When you take it out of the arena, I think it sounds lame as hell.
To be honest, I have barely listened to her music at all. Can’t fucking deal with her haircut.
All Show Tunes
This is a rough one because my father works in show business, and it’s the entertainment world to which I grew up with the most access. But I have always hated show tunes. All of them. They did not vibe with my ‘90s. I had a girlfriend who listened primarily to show tunes. Weirded me out. Never again. I simply do not like show tunes. And you know what, I shouldn’t even have to explain myself.
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