On liking. Part of a series.
I like the bands that I like. For instance, Warpaint, who I’m listening to right now. I could talk about why I like them, I suppose, but it doesn’t really matter why, does it? Is it that important? Okay, for argument’s sake, you corner me and hold a gun to my head and ask me to explain why I like them. Or why I like Tom Waits. Or Iggy Pop. Or the Doors.
Sure, if I’m eating a cold .38 barrel, I could mumble out some explanation that mattered.
But the truth of it is that I like that music. I respond to it for whatever reason, generally almost instantly, instinctively. I can be badgered about why bands are important and why I should listen to them all the time (Helloooo Kraftwerk. I’d rather put my ears to Ash Ra Tempel or Neu!) But the truth of it is that I get it or I don’t. It’s not thing to get worried about, though I’m sure some folks do. What’s a good example? How about Muse? They’re great, right? Big awesome rock and yadda yadda yadda. Can’t be bothered. And ultimately, why the hell should I? There’s more great music that I’ll never get to listen to if I spend time worrying about why I don’t like this or that or having to make excuses for it.
Consequently, there’s bands like The Postal Service or Death Cab for Cutie which I guess I’d be irritated by if I had to sit in a room and listen to. But I don’t. Welcome to on-demand culture. And welcome to being an outsider. I’ve got a peer group, more or less, though I skew to the old side of it and it’s a pretty disparate sort of affair. But this comes from being a guy who listens to music and not being a music guy. There are plenty of music guys out there. I know quite a few. Most don’t make it a point of it being a central defining characteristic of who they actually are from day to day.
Those who do tend to be broken, and I don’t hang out with them most of the time.
I’ll happily talk music with most anybody, at least so long as the discussion can range to inclusivity and not exclusivity. But then there’s folks who allow them to be defined not only by liking music, but liking just a specific kind of music to the exclusion of all others. These people I tend not to get along with for very long. Seriously. I never understood the need to define yourself as being a punk in high school and don’t when I’m a father of two. You want to listen to DC hardcore and just that for the rest of your life? Your loss. But go ahead and be happy.
These are the kinds of people who have guilty pleasures. Guilty pleasures are for suckers.
More on this subject later.