A rant, a dialogue, a confession, a contradiction, a secret, a review, a revelation, an acceptance.
Coldplay is for bitches, and Tame Impala sucks because when you Google Image search the lead singer he’s always wearing this absolutely not-for-warmth infinity scarf. It is honestly painful to me that if you hit alt and j on your computer this triangle forms ∆. And this dubstep, EDM, are-you-sure-you-actually-like-music-or-do-you-just-wanna-candyflip-and-wear-glitter-and-American-Apparel-leggings cultural phenomenon really gets me down. Like Sirius XM, are you kidding me? You gave a whole channel to Pitbull? In their defense though, “Timber” is a very real guilty pleasure for me.
I’ve hated Coldplay since 2011, when DungeonoftheNutsack’s YouTube video “Fix You” told me too. You have to be a bitch to listen to Coldplay because Coldplay sucks. But every day when I was little, I used to play the Coldplay version of Tap Tap Revenge that I purchased on the iTunes store. I only at best got a 75% on “Clocks.” And when “Yellow” came on at the Coldplay concert my dad took me to, all of these huge yellow balloons fell down. And then Chris Martin popped one with his guitar, and yellow confetti burst out, and it honestly made me feel so magical. I must have been a huge bitch back then.
The Arctic Monkeys used to be cool in 2006, when I would sing them in the back of my dad’s car. But then, in high school, Kaitlyn Waggoner went to their concert on Halloween and wouldn’t stop talking to me about it, and now the only evidence of my relationship with them is that I still know every lyric to “From The Ritz To The Rubble.”
I’ve been rolling my eyes at the mention of Kings of Leon ever since I was in the back of a cop car, and me and this cop listened to “Sex on Fire.” And I can never take alt-J seriously because of the singer’s grimy squeal of a voice, but mostly it’s because I watched these two had-to-be-high dudes on YouTube make an alt-J song while eating rice crackers and singing about tessellating inside of someone’s butt.
I truly do not understand or like rap—although I do know every lyric of Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now,” but that doesn’t even count because he hit Rihanna—and that makes me feel like a frail grandma sometimes. But I’m pretty sure it’s because I spent all of high school watching glitter sparkle off the faces of skinny white girls drinking watermelon Four Lokos and dancing to A$AP Rocky’s “F**kin’ Problems.”
Did you know that Kim Kardashian has a single on Spotify?
I’m sorry that I’m annoyed by your music.
You only listen to like four bands, and they are all stoner music.
It’s not my fault that you don’t like Mac Demarco.
Are you kidding? You didn’t even know about him before me. I’m just not in the mood for that right now.
All right, well why do you hate my music? Like why would you even tell me that? Did you seriously even say that ’cause that’s so bitchy.
I’m sorry, I’m just being honest. Like tell me my music sucks. I don’t care.
Well who specifically do you hate?
It’s only Tame Impala. They just have this stigma. It’s not a bad thing though.
Yes it is. Stigma means a negative connotation.
No it doesn’t. It’s just like an association, you know?
This is literally the dictionary definition of stigma: “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.”
Yeah so what’s their stigma? Hm?
Like everyone who likes them where I’m from just sorta sucks. They put it on to like smoke weed and feel all chilled out and it’s like their token cool music.
Not where I’m from.
Okay, fine, it’s just honestly super lame to me.
Gil, oh my god, you’re a music elitist.
No I’m not.
Yes you are.
I discovered that I was a music elitist on February 4, 2017 when my partner yelled it at me while he was anxious-washing the dishes during a fight. I was in denial until I woke up on February 5.
I’m a music elitist. I’m judging you for listening to Ed Sheeran on the subway. In order to write that I just had to look up how to spell his name, and that felt like a little golden star of cool to pin on my shirt. My favorite band is the Grateful Dead. And if you told me that yours was too, I would think that you were a Touchhead or that you’ve probably only listened to their studio-recorded greatest hits.
I think I’ve always been one. Maybe I was primed for it. When I was five, my dad took me to see Natalie Merchant—you know the girl with the song that Michael plays on a boom box in The Office when he thinks he’s leaving and getting a job at corporate, but really it’s Ryan who gets the job. You’d know it if you heard it. Anyways, I don’t remember anything but struggling to climb up the red-carpeted stairs to the balcony. Maybe that was the start of the elitist in me.
But it couldn’t have been then because I saw Snow Patrol for my seventh grade birthday, because I chose a Killers song to represent me during my eighth grade graduation, because I used to listen to Mumford & Sons every morning when my dad still drove me to school.
I’ve let go of so many bands that I used to enjoy, so many songs that I used to know all the words to. And maybe that’s just because I grew up, I moved on. But maybe it’s because everyone started to know them. They became mainstream, and it was no longer special, no longer my dad’s and my morning secret.
And sometimes I wish I wasn’t judging, that the songs were not just guilty pleasures. But highbrow is invigorating. Snobby is addicting. Pretentious is dangerously fun. And elitist is too good to quit.
Seventies music is buttery. It’s like a creamsicle—that milky orange and white swirling together, dripping a sweet ‘n’ sticky high fructose corn syrup river down my forearm, pooling into the crux of my elbow before I can lap it back up.
It’s dreamy and cozy and wonderful.
Here’s the thing though—I reject the mainstream, the fizzled out pop of the Top 40, yet I scavenge through Spotify listening to the ’70s’ greatest hits, the smash hits, the classic hits, the lost hits, the one-hit wonders, the disco hits, the pop hits, “Best of the ’70s,” “Totally ’70s,” “All Out ’70s,” “I Love The ’70s”—the mainstream back then. But that doesn’t seem to count because it’s not from now, and that makes it cool.
Maybe I would have been a bitch in the ’70s. Just a thought.
Shazam is sinful. The bright blue light is glaring and sickly. As I clutch my phone to my chest, I hide the blue. It is my guilty admission of not knowing everything, my guilty pleasure.
John Mayer is a square. He’s a feel-good fuddy-duddy whose following consists of wino moms who sway to his sensitive, breathy whisper of a voice, moving their hands sensually down their waists. He, like Jason Mraz, must wake up in a hammock to a burst of sun shining on his face and sand between his big toes.
An experiment: John Mayer’s “Still Feel like Your Man”
With a thick, throbbing backbeat, chunky guitar, and waves of sugary chimes, John Mayer’s new sound is a groove.
(John Mayer still feels like your man.)
“The prettiest girl in the room she wants me/I know because she told me so.” Interrupting the danceable beat, the confident lyrics are pop-y and smooth.
(Get off your high horse, John. If you Google search “John Mayer is,” the first option is John Mayer is a dick. Your song sounds like a parody. It’s like you’re Flight of the Conchords singing “The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room),” but you’re complimenting yourself.)
The between-verse interludes swirl with guitar, spiraling into the improvisational realm of jam bands.
(I still can’t believe the Grateful Dead let you play with them.)
The chorus is catchy as hell—a bright, suave, and drenched in falsetto earworm that makes you want to dance with all of your limbs.
(At this point in the music video, he’s dancing with pandas at a disco dojo.)
“I still keep your shampoo in my shower/In case you wanna wash your hair/And I know that you probably found yourself some more somewhere/But I do not really care.”
(Seriously? You really do that? I bet it’s a bottle of Suave.)
“I listen to everything but country.”
That feels dangerous, writing off a whole genre with such accepted ease. But really who actually listens to Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” out loud? And if you do, that beer-saturated bro-country is your identity now. And that’s all I need to know about you.
It’s like that stuff isn’t even music anymore. It’s just one huge stigma sloppily written in black Sharpie across your forehead, creasing when you talk. You can try to wash it off I guess, but it’s just going to seep in further, muddying your pores with its manufactured toxins.
Fuck me, I’ve been listening to “Still Feel like Your Man” all day.