Monday, July 24, 2006

In Other News, Spellcheck Recognizes "Cuomo."

So, have you been to, yet? (Which, for some reason, they won't let me link to, correctly - there's a psuedo-link down there, anyway.) Because, a few days ago, I finally gave in to the come-hither call of the “just enter all of your stats, here, and receive a brand new stalker in less than a week!”-type website, which means that, for the first time ever, I am actually capable of friending you. That is, if anyone else actually belonged to the site (because, yes, that is the excuse I’m using for my lack of frienditude). But friends or no, it’s still a very cool place to receive much-too-detailed information about what people are listening to, and letting them do the same back in your direction. But, like an unevenly toasted bagel, there is a dark side to The Music Community. A side that, judging by what’s on my iPod, probably despises me as much as I despise them. A side that is so blinded by their own opinions of both their music and themselves that they’re probably the only people in the country who wouldn’t admit that Kelly Clarkson’s latest CD provided as healthy a boost to popular music, in the last few years, as the one provided by American Idiot. That’s right: I’m talkin’ rock snobs.

Because, seriously, what is it about getting into music that so easily turns people to the dark side? A person buys one Wilco CD, and, suddenly, he’s denouncing all else, actively hating any artist he doesn’t particularly love, and constantly searching for segues to turn any conversation into one about his favorite band, even though he’s already planning to cap off said conversation with a “but, never mind, you probably haven’t heard of them, anyway,” um…anyway. I mean, I understand the way in which people connect to their personal soundtrack to the point where it becomes part of their identity (which I guess, due to my taste for just-below-surface level indie music, poppy alternative and bad ‘90s songs would make me Seth Cohen in Rivers Cuomo glasses eating a Spice Girls lollipop, speaking of which, does anyone else remember those? They were awesome.) I understand the rush of discovering something that other people haven’t (which is the only thing that explains my recent purchase of three large sailing vessels and a pocket-sized telescope). Heck, I even understand hating FM radio, because, just…expletive deleted do I understand hating FM radio.

But what I don’t understand – and what seriously gets to me more than it should, to the point where this particular entry is probably even less humorous than usual, seeing as to how I’m mostly just complaining, here – is the weird (and probably somewhat subconscious) way in which rock snobs seem to gather music as artillery, rather than entertainment. The way that they acquire bands and then hole them up, mentioning them in conversation while holding back from actually recommending them to you, because if you know all of their tricks, well then what will they have to use against you? I mean, they like music, I guess – or, okay, I know – but, just as often, it seems that they like the idea of liking music even more. That they’d rather listen to themselves talk about the latest Yo La Tengo than they would the latest Yo La Tengo, itself. And that the only thing they like more than the idea of liking music is the idea of disliking your music.

And it’s always the same tricks too. If a band is appealing enough to be played outside of a select group of basements? They suck. If a good band dares to make it big? They’re sell-outs. If a band has credibility but also fans? They’re overrated. Which seems to be the latest trend in rock snobbery, by the way, and which is also my least favorite. Because it’s just such an…easy and obvious way to bring down anything that’s liked by anyone, and everything ends up being overrated, and you are so obviously trying to show off your more-musical-than-thou attitude if whatever isn’t liked enough is actually liked too much, you know? I mean, I’ve heard people call the Beatles overrated, which: A. Okay, now you’re just being contrary, B. And also, you sound ridiculous, because C. The level of rated that the Beatles are means that calling them overrated would be similar to calling, say, chocolate overrated – maybe it’s not your favorite, but it’s obviously worked well enough for enough people that the bar of ratedness has been raised so high that you will never be able to reach it and drag it back down, anyway, so how about you put on your headphones and stop trying.

It’s like, I get it, you’re a fan – I read the t-shirt and everything – but you can like Radiohead without being a jerk about it, you know? I’ve seen it done. And I actually find it sort of amazing that so many people find ways to be a jerk about it, in the first place. It’s music. Some people like the Shins, some people like Shakira.

And while nobody should like the Black-Eyed Peas, well…some people just don’t know any better.

Background Noise: I'll spare you this, today, because if you clicked that link up there, you already have a general idea.