I think my favorite thing about breaking myself free of childish judgments are the benefits of the music. The moment I was able to differentiate talented artists and studio artists, I become a music snob and for a long time considered 95% of mainstream artists talentless hacks. Somewhere after twenty-four though, that novelty wore off I realized that seeking obscurity was the real crime. I was denying myself of so many great songs filled with emotional carnage and despair. It also made me a total asshole.
Somewhere after they hit twenty, all of the punk rockers from my generation started this bearded, skinny-jean-plaid-shirt-wearing revolution of hipster shitheads and flooded the music scene with concept albums and ironic acoustic sets of mainstream pop songs.
The last house show I went to (probably the last ever too), was to see a local band with the sort of following that requires a bicycle parking section. After their set, my friend talked to the guitarist of the band that had invited her. Throughout their conversation, I was informed that my job of printing labels for (organic) chemicals was bad because “Chemicals are bad”.
Just moments after that statement, this conversation took place with someone who walked up to say hello to him:
Stranger: Hey man! What’s going on?
Band-Dipshit: Hey man, I haven’t seen you in a while, how’s it been?
S: Good, I saw you at that party a couple of weeks ago!
BD: Which one?
S: The one at asdf’s!
BD: Oh man, I don’t remember… I was probably coked out of my mind.
End significant part of scene.
I counted at least three mentions of coke in the five minutes he stood talking to my friend and even more mentions of being too drunk to remember anything. But, of course, he couldn’t tend to his other guests until he was able to ask my friend if she wanted to help paint the planet costumes for the band’s upcoming show debuting their new (concept) album.
If you ever find yourself curious about what’s going on in the local indie scene in Phoenix, Arizona – there you go.
But, back to growing up and becoming less judgmental of music: that band (a 7 piece including a tambourine player) couldn’t have sounded any better under the influence of twelve shots of tequila. Sadly, just as little as three years ago, I probably would have been slightly jealous of them and wasted money on an album feeling like I was missing something fantastic that all other thirty people saw.
The point I’m trying to make here is that when you bypass music because a lot of shitty people who don’t know dick about music listen to it, you’re sometimes left listening to mediocre music that shitty people who don’t know anything about music make.
Just recently I started listening to The Smith’s. A band I’d always ignored because… exactly. There’s this whole anti-Morrissey thing going on, but I don’t know a damn thing about the guy. What I do know is that “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” and “I Want The One I Can’t Have” are incredible fucking songs.
But because a buck-toothed (very) ex-friend of mine worshiped them (and Tori Amos – who I still don’t like), I hated them because for me, they were associated with someone who didn’t know what “quality” music was, also the fact that their following exceeded 5,000. So I missed all those years of licking my wounds with great songs because I thought having “high standards” was part of loving music.Anyway, due to my previous arrogance, the past few years have been spent going back and listening to music I’d accused of being talentless and superficial or “too mainstream” (I was that dick for a while, yes), and it has been wonderful.
People will always be idiots, but growing up and gaining perspective has taught me that people that listen to music but don’t know much about it, are no different from me liking pieces of art even though I don’t know anything about art outside of mainstream artists like Salvador Dali and Vladimir Kush.
I see something, I like it or I don’t. Art isn’t emotional for me just as music isn’t emotional for some people. It’s like this in every aspect of life. I’m sure there is an account somewhere that truly loves accounting, or a landscaper that really enjoys cutting grass.
There is a point when passion crosses a boundary and you just become a total piece of shit. It took a very long time, but I have finally crossed the threshold of acceptance to a very sensitive part of my life.
I don’t know that I’ll ever have an appreciation for Lady Gaga or Katy Perry or any pop artists of that nature, but I certainly won’t be bitching about them anymore and it certainly doesn’t bother me that other people like them anymore either.
Whoever said growing up was boring must not have had a passion, because this is like falling in love with music all over again.