I know exactly when it happened.
My first year of university, I started dating this guy. A music guy. Who actually got watery eyed when he searched through my CD collection and found Now 4. And not only did he find that particular CD extremely and personally offensive, he found dozens more like it. In fact, he didn’t find a single CD to approve of in the mix of boy bands and mainstream pop.
Instead of defending my choices, I meekly listened as he raved about all the new, hip and obscure bands I had never heard of- that were now essential to know. Soon I was accepting weekly mix CD’s, some of which I enjoyed, most of which I had to force myself to listen to. A collection of bands who all seemed to have names that started with the word “The”. As in, *The Hipsters, The Purple Renegades, The Apologetic Snaps, The Barbie Girl Fiasco.
It wasn’t as though I just collected these cd’s, I gathered the knowledge that I was to be ashamed of anything that was mainstream, or average or liking songs that everyone heard on the radio. Songs that made me happy to sing along to. Suddenly, liking popular music was worthy of excessive apologizing and explaining, as though you just broke your host’s toilet after a 5 course Mexican dinner.
Even after we broke up and I regained sole control of my cd player and freely listened to my pop music, I always felt embarrassed of my choices- ashamed that I was never quite up-to-date on who I was supposed to be listening to, what band or artist I was supposed to be loving. It’s taken a few years (okay, 5) to get over this slump. To really and fully appreciate that it’s perfectly acceptable to like popular music, to enjoy what I hear on the radio. But thank Taylor Swift, I’m finally there.
It’s funny, people who are into obscure artists feel the need to save me still- send me links and files and CD’s of what they think I might enjoy,- because it’s what they enjoy. Though I always appreciate the effort, it does make me smile. Very rarely will you find someone who likes the music that society has deemed ‘embarrassing’ for a 28 year old girl to like, send a file to someone who classifies himself as a music snob with a note attached “thought you might enjoy this“. In hip clubs on Saturday nights, you won’t hear a music lover lecture someone about the superiority of Britney Spears over The Weepies, but? I have many, many times heard those who legitimately like Britney Spears or Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus be laughed at.
Ifwe want to live in a world where people are treated fairly, where all are seen as equal, let’s start by being musically blind- and appreciating that our musical loves make us unique and different, not superior or inferior. Or let’s just stop making excuses for who we enjoy listening to and instead celebrate how awesome it is that we live in a world where Taylor Swift, Drake, Jem and Run-DMC can co-exist. Amen.
My ipod is crammed full; Lady Gaga, Jack’s Mannequin, Ani DiFranco, The Damnwells, Jeremey Fisher, Chester See, Ingrid Michaelson, Regina Spektor, Bob Dylan, Mandy Moore, Lynard Skynard, Fiona Apple, Greg Laswell, Frank Sinatra, Alexi Murdoch, Cat Stevens, Beck, Kenny Chesney, Jurassic 5, Kings of Leon, Asher Roth, Ray LaMontagne, Beth Orton, Beyonce, The Who, Tristan Prettyman, Tegan and Sara, Snow Patrol, Sam Roberts, Sara Bareilles, Joseph Arthur, Rilo Kelly… and so many more.
This is the playlist I sing to in my car on a bad day. Give me Miley Cyrus over Bob Dylan when my day has been long and I am tired.
And I’m not apologizing for it.
1. Magic – B.o.b. (featuring Rivers Cuomo)
2. Teeth- Lady Gaga
3. Faded- Soul Decision
4. Party in the USA- Miley Cyrus
5. You Belong With Me- Taylor Swift
6. SOS- Rihanna
7. Circus- Britney Spears
8. Hotel Yorba- The White Stripes
9. Calling You- Blue October
10. Mr. Brightside- The Killers
11. All I want to do- Sugarland
12. Us- Regina Spektor
13. Take A Bow- Glee
14. I Love College- Asher Roth
* Don’t google those. I made them all up because I have purged my brain from the actual band names.
Have you ever felt guilty over liking a particular song or type of music? What’s your guilty pleasure song?