A few months ago, I turned 30. Secretly, I was kind of nervous about how getting older was going to effect me, both personally and outwardly. Did I have the right job? Was I a loser for still renting an apartment instead of trying to buy a house? Should I pursue a Master’s degree? How about all of those grey hairs coming in? No doubt about it, I was kind of a mess heading into my young adulthood. I personally felt that I hadn’t accomplished enough to be graced with the age 30. Furthermore, I looked around at my peers and was both concerned what they would think and envious of what they had accomplished. What a fuckin’ wreck.
Then I realized something. Turning 30 doesn’t change anything. I’m still going to enjoy all of the same things that I did prior to my “doomsday” age change. And really, everything would figure itself out if I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Except for all of the grey hair. That’s coming faster than ever.
I’ll bet you’re wondering why I’m telling you a boring-ass story about me getting old. You see, I’ve felt those same internal and external pressures to live up to another standard as I did when turning 30. As a music fan, and a fairly engaged one, I’ve felt constant pressure to only like whats “cool” in a scene or to “keep it real”.
But like everything else in life (at least here in America) there is a shortcut. If you wanna listen to a record that your friends would think is shit, or see a concert that is out of the ordinary, you can immediately sidestep any criticism you would receive by calling it your “Guilty Pleasure”.
Guilty Pleasure. What a horrible phrase. Especially when it relates to something as pure and fun as music is supposed to be! Now, not to get all Kumbaya on everyone’s ass, but isn’t the whole point of listening to music to have fun, connect and relate with the artist, even if it is on an incredibly superficial level? By invoking the phrase “guilty pleasure” you are essentially stripping away any connection you may have to the experience of listening. Vulnerability is stripped and walls go up. This is the same exact thing that ruins relationships, and it will ruin your relationship with music if you let it. Ditch the attitude….
I guess it’s that very attitude that makes me feel fairly isolated in music. Everyone has an opinion (myself certainly not excluded obviously) but it seems that a lot of people that I talk to are afraid to admit they like anything remotely “pop” or “mainstream”. Music criticism has become so severe (which I again take responsibility in) and the actual indulgence of listening to music has been largely forgotten.
So what’s the deal here? How is it that I write a music blog that largely contains criticism of musicians and albums, yet I’m saying that you (the reader) should be proud of what you like to listen to. They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too, but I’m gonna be fat and greedy and smear frosting all over my chest when eating the shit out of that cake.
See, that’s the beauty of this whole thing. I may absolutely tear something apart that I don’t like, but I will never ever question it’s validity to someone else. I don’t think that attitude belongs in music. There is nothing wrong with a little criticism as long as you respect the craft behind it.
And that’s the biggest problem with being a fan of music these days. If you enjoy a certain genre or style of music, you’re almost looked down on for enjoying something different than that. That problem can also be seen with the mainstream vs. underground argument. If you dig anything from the underground, then anything mainstream is “taboo” and off limits. Unless of course it’s your “guilty pleasure”, then it’s just an afterthought. How fucking crazy is that?????
The issue of having musical “guilty pleasures” isn’t just for fans of music either. Artists struggle with this too. Tom Araya, lead singer and Bassist for Slayer stated at a recent industry party that listening to Elvis Presley was his guilty pleasure. Are you fucking serious??? I realize that Tom has a tough guy metal act to uphold, but to stereotype Elvis goddamn Presley like that just seems ridiculous. (For the record, I’m a huge Slayer and Elvis fan).
As music fans, it’s time to drop the act. We should never be ashamed to admit we like a song or artist because it doesn’t fit in our friends, peers, or scene. We also need to realize that music is created purely for enjoyment! I’m not saying that you need to like everything you hear, but you should never be ashamed to admit that you do like something just because the dickhead behind the counter at the record store is giving you funny looks about buying the new Madonna record.
I dunno. I guess I’ve just never been willing to bend what I like just cause it doesn’t fit into someone else’s definition of “cool”, and neither should you. So for anyone reading this that thinks “mainstream” or “pop” music is non-compatible with other styles, I encourage you to grow up. It’s all meant in good fun anyways right???
Do you care what people think about the music you like? Are you embarrassed about it yourself?
Let me what you think in the comments section below or get in touch with Gutter Bubbles on Facebook or Twitter.