There is a lot of music out there that doesn’t tickle my fancy, but for the most part, I still try to enjoy it. Music is an expression of someone’s emotions and thoughts, and I think I’d be a pretty big dick if I belittled them for their efforts. After all, it’s no secret that the most terrifying thing in the world to me is singing in front of people. I can barely do it at all, and once I do, I’m like a nervous wreck of a man barely able to keep from succumbing to the weepies.
Generally speaking, if I don’t like a song or an artist, I just don’t listen to it. I figure that if it isn’t resonating with me, then it probably means I don’t have enough in common with the musician. I mean, I don’t know shit about getting krunk with a gol’diggin’ hussy, so I don’t really listen to a lot of Kanye West. (On the other hand, the fact he makes a career out of using the auto-tuner appeals to me as a person who is incapable of singing even one bar without causing intense physical pain for the listener.)
I’m white, I grew up middle-class in the suburbs, so as far as music that resonates with my life experience, I’ve pretty much got my choices narrowed down to three major types:
Top 40 – Now, I don’t want to say that I never listen to any of the “Pop” chart “music” but for the most part I avoid it. To me, music is about the meaning behind the song, and something written by a giant emotionless computer programmed with the successful song algorithm just doesn’t appeal to me. That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a woeful ballad or a catchy dance hit. I just don’t go out of my way to keep up with the latest boy bands or mall tour princesses. Fortunately, I have plenty of friends that keep me in the loop.
Alternative Rock – I’ve listened to a local Kansas City radio station for a long time, 96.5 The Buzz. I don’t know what part of me decided at age 14 that I was going to listen primarily to whining power ballads and angry songs about sweaters. The point is, it did, and I haven’t really ever stopped. I admit it, I love me some emo rock. I think that’s normal.
Rock ‘n Roll – Really, what my brother refers to as “butt rock.” I can dig it, sometimes, a bit of old school hair metal or a Canadian dude with a mullet singing about how that one time in high school they burned down an arcade or something. Honestly, it isn’t usually my bag, but I don’t think there is a person alive that isn’t moved by the tones of Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer. It’s just flat-out infectious.
While I can admit that I have developed more tastes since becoming an internet junkie, including techno remixes of classic opera and nerdcore hip-hop, for the most part, I still just listen to the alternative rock.
Still, even with my fairly close minded view of music and going out of my way to avoid music that I don’t feel I can properly appreciate, there are still a few times that I can’t help it. It’s during these times of musical vulnerability, that I find myself boogying to songs that I intellectually despise but can’t stop from gettin’ down to.
Lady Gaga is the worst offender. When I’m not listening to her banshee wail, I can keep my mind clear, remembering that her music is made by electrocuting puppies and stabbing herself in the brain with an ice pick, but when I the songs, they dig their talons into my brain and I’m instantly turned into some sort of bouncing freak.
I saw that…. She’s gotten you, too.
Run, run while you can.