Dave Grohl once said
“I don’t belive in guilty pleasures, I believe you should be able to like what you like. If you a like a fucking Ke$ha song, listen to fucking Ke$ha.”
The most recent playlist I’ve put together to use while driving has artists on it ranging from Sam Cooke, Merle Haggard, Springsteen, Kendrick Lamar, an EDM mash up of the same Kendrick Lamar song, The Pogues, and various WWE entrance songs(specifically The Undertaker’s, that shit rules). If I like a song then, just like Dave Grohl advised me to, I’m going to listen to it. Things can get complicated though when you try to introduce the songs you like to someone else.
I had a co-worker at summer camp once that would carry around a portable I-pod station to play music for the campers. His musical tastes were top 40 mixed with acoustic versions of top 40. One day I got him to look up some acoustic Gaslight Anthem songs. I did this because 1. I love those songs, and was excited to introduce them to someone who hadn’t heard them before, and 2. I just really, really fucking wanted to stop listening to this song.
He got about halfway through Senor and the Queen before telling me it wasn’t really, “the type of stuff I’m into.” And these guys came back.
Outwardly I just shrugged, inwardly I got incredibly defensive and thought, “The fuck did you just say? You like the Black Eyed Peas, the corn syrup of the music industry, but you don’t like this? ” For the rest of that day I thought about Dave’s quote, and here’s where the difficulty of that quote comes into play. My co-worker was into some bands that I wasn’t, whatever, that’s his deal. It was easy for me to not really care what he liked to listen to…until he rejected something I listened to. It was much harder to let him not like what I listened to.
I’m not a music critic. I can’t listen to a band and grade them on the merits of their technical skills, or lack there of. I, like almost everyone else I know, just listen to the songs they like for whatever reason, and as I listen to those songs I go on living my life. That’s where the trouble came from with my co-worker. The songs I gave him to listen to were songs that I LOVED, songs that I had listened to a lot while going on and living my life. The result of which was that in addition to their chords and lyrics those songs were intertwined with the memories of the experiences I had had while listening to them.
A recent example of this for me is this past fall I was going to through some personal stuff, some real Dashboard Confessional shit and I had just found a live version of Chuck Ragan’s Get What You Give that was in heavy rotation on my car’s stereo. It’s impossible for me to hear that song now and not remember how I felt a little less shitty when I was singing along with it in my car. The songs that I love, truly love, are like that. They have memories of people, emotions, and experiences woven into them, but it’s important to remember that the songs didn’t come with them built in.
When my co-worker listened to Senor and the Queen, he heard the music, and decided that, “Hey, not for me.” I can question his tastes, but I realized it’s not something to be offended about. The song for me is personal, but his decision of not liking was not. I whole-heartedly agree that people should listen to what they like, but I thinks it’s equally important to be cool with it when they don’t like what you like.