November 2nd, 2006
I have Anne Murray on my iPod. If you don’t know who Anne Murray is, then you’re missing out. If you know who she is, then you’re probably embarrassed for me, and that’s okay too, but I’ll get to do the Tennessee Waltz, and you won’t. I also voted for Carrie Underwood over and over and over again during her season on American Idol. I know it was that much cooler to like Bo, or better yet, Elliot, but I was with Carrie all the way, dude, right up until “Jesus Take the Wheel,” where things got a little too…well, I just don’t think that Jesus is taking any wheel of mine because I’m a pretty lousy driver.
And Dave Matthews? I still love him. I have since freshman year of college, before Under the Table and Dreaming was annoying, and when he was still – no, just becoming – cool. And then one day I woke up, and he was no longer cool, and I seemed to have missed the memo that he is mock-worthy and appropriate only for fraternity parties, which I am supposed to be vastly above. I’m not. Bring on the ice luge shots, I guess.
I also have a strange sort of affection for Celine Dion. I mean, let’s be honest. Name one other woman in the world who can get away with an Egyptian-themed wedding in Vegas that involves headdresses that weigh as much as ten watermelons suspended in mercury, and actually takes herself seriously. (“We have an epic love! That requires headdresses! And SEQUINS!”) Come on, you have to admire that, dude. And seriously, I like “My Heart Will Go On,” if I’m in the right mood. Mock me if you will.
Adam and I often talk about how music choices, more perhaps than any other hobby or personal preference, are reflected in who we are, what we do, how we look. And honestly, nothing makes me happier in the whole world than listening to music. Peter Gabriel can change my entire morning, and if “I Grieve” happens to flash across my iPod while I’m driving, I need to either frantically hit ‘skip,’ or prepare myself for a morose drive full of crying jags followed by a day of repeated calls to Adam to scream how much I love him and please do not die, today or ever, or I will kill you.
Music is pretty damn miraculous that way. It changes us, makes us who we are, and brightens our mood. It can, in a way, define us.
But at the risk of sounding cranky, I’m getting a little bit annoyed at the whole hipster scene going on in music today where if any band is remotely recognizable then my God, they’ve sold out, and you are a sellout by association because they were so much better back then, and you missed it you fool. And you’re also completely clueless because haven’t you heard of the FranzingFlenFriends? They are so hot, dude, and what the hell is wrong with you?
I’m exaggerating, and perhaps being needlessly cruel, it’s just that I really loathe snobbery of any kind, unless it involves lunch meat, and in that case, snob away, because no one should have to endure jellified turkey, and can we not talk about Carl Buddig packaged meats? Ever? Boar’s Head, please. Dietz & Watson if you’re desperate.
And it’s just that music snobbery is just so awful, because everyone feels differently about it. It doesn’t have to define you as cool or uncool. It’s kind of malleable. It can be fun, if that’s what you feel like, or you can weep into your chocolate soda, if that’s your mood. However, Celine is FUN and comes with chest-thumping! Your heart, it goes on.
And yet, so many people are so determined to make it not fun. Maybe it’s fun for them, because listening to the FarFlungFruitLoops makes them feel like they are so much cooler than the rest of us, and my God, do they let us know that they are cool because of this very fact. FarFlungFruitLoops says so, because they sing like angry teenagers who’ve smoked too much weed, and wow, do they have confusing lyrics! Cool, confusing lyrics and greasy hair and whiny voices. And don’t get me wrong, I fully support these choices as much as I do any other musical endeavor. And yes, I like me the confusing lyrics and whiny voices, and far flung bands, but that does not make me cool by that fact alone. I hate the implication that you are cool because you can throw around random band names and mock people who like someone more mainstream, because they are stupid and don’t know any better. It’s just different. Bad music does not make you stupid.
I’m all for hobbies, and the music afficionados who run out and find obscure bands and genuinely enjoy them – I really am. But when a hobby becomes an exclusionary tool, I’m out, man, I AM OUT, and I’m just going back to my New Kids on the Block, Morrissey and New Order. The great irony is that I’ve been accused of musical snobbification, especially because I think in terms of song titles (I do that because it makes me happy, and also think of fun music! Yay Neil Tennant!), but let me assure you, the music I listen to, I happen to love because I love it by accident, and I don’t care if you love it, and I don’t even care if you’ve never heard of it and want to go home and listen to Michael Bolton on repeat over and over again, with a little Rod Stewart thrown in, followed by a chaser of Kenny G. I will still think you are supercool.
(Although, seriously, I had a Kenny G song played on the piano at my wedding, and I lied on the program and used his full name – Kenneth Gorman (Sorry! Edited: GORELICK! GORELICK!) – because I just didn’t feel like dealing with the assholes would be all, “KENNY G AT YOUR WEDDING, YOU CHEESEBALL,” and at that point, I was so stressed that I would take the easy way out of anything, and that includes betraying the very point I’m making now. So if you are getting married, I fully support this decision. People are assholes. Change Rod Stewart’s name to Rodney Stewartostopholis-Macy, I do not care. I will not judge you. Weddings make you crazy.)
And in case anyone was wondering, I choose my music very scientifically: I grew up in the 80s and 90s, and spent a lot of time listening to The Cure, because back then I was really angsty and superimportant because I was a teenager and woe, seriously WOE, was me, and also, I was madly in love with ELO because of my weirdo parents. And then in middle school I found Peter Gabriel by accident. Hence, I have spent the last 10 – 25 years trying to recapture the magic that once was, and I do so through Amazon’s suggestions, iTunes surfing and maybe Pandora if I have an assload of time.
And also! Music is to be shared together, not hoarded like you’re some kind of special person. Share! If you wanted to listen to whatever I listen to, and if you wanted to copy my entire iPod and run around with my playlists and love on them, I’d be so flattered and excited and I would give you whatever you wanted because we should all listen to The Smiths! Girlfriend in a Coma!
Or maybe you prefer New Kids on the Block? I have Hangin’ Tough and also Cover Girl. And I also met them in New York City when I was 13, and I was actually THERE when Joey bought the peace sign jacket he wore in all the photos and the Hangin’ Tough video. And then many years later, he hit on my friend at a bar after he was uncool and tried to tell us that he was very cool, and then EVEN LATER, a friend of a friend (hi Annelise!) made him leave Daisy Buchanan’s on Newbury Street by singing, “I HOPE YOU ALWAYS STAY THE SAME” really loudly to all of us and then staring at him a whole lot. We were 27. Sigh. So I guess what I’m saying is that I have an obligation to keep NKOTB fresh.
My really long-winded point is that God, we find a way to make everything exclusive and frustrating sometimes, don’t we? Even music, which is possibly the greatest gift in the history of miraculous gifts, and I think that kind of blows. Long live Celine.
*Pet Shop Boys
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