The claim “I LOVE music” has been misused for so long. Some probably only really LIKE music not love it, but they wouldn’t know. What does it take to really prove you LOVE MUSIC? Show me your music library and I will tell you.
If the highlight of your music library is a playlist consisting of Katy Perry’s Roar, Lorde’s Royale, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, Lana del Rey’s Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix), Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know, and Regina Spektor’s Samson, but nowhere to be found are Double Rainbow, 400 Lux, Ain’t No Hat 4 That, Carmen and Après Moi, then you are a SINGLE person. The songs you listen to and stumble upon are dictated by the radio, VEVO, and TV shows and movies playing snippets of the latest singles released for a chance at Top 40. You tell me you LOVE music but I shake my head in disagreement. NO, you DON’T love music. You just LIKE music. You lack the initiative to seek out the rest of the tracks bundled with the albums the singles came from, which is a shame because there are many good album cuts that deserve to be released over the singles chosen by the artists and their labels. You bounce around chanting “Ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-oarr!”. but you are missing out on 90’s disco throwback Walking On Air, “To-to-ni-i-i-ight!”, which I think is the better track.
Perhaps you have Adele’s 21 (sporting the 13th track Hiding My Heart), all 14 tracks of Bloc Party’s Four, the original edition of Beyonce’s 4 (and you’re annoyed with the re-ordered tracklisting of the re-release edition), Body Talk Pt. 1, Body Talk Pt. 2, and Body Talk from Robyn’s Body Talk series, or you saw behind Miley Cyrus’ antics and brought Bangerz, then my friend you are an ALBUM person! You have more interests in pursuing music than casual listeners, and you can proudly call yourself a FAN of these artists whose albums you purchased. You tell me that you love music, and I nod, shake your hand, and give you a tap on the shoulder. Kudos! Now join me as I transport myself to the astral plane with The Chemical Brothers’ Further on hand.
You own albums in various forms: cassettes, CDs, vinyls, and digital. Great, man! I scroll through them and see Boiling Point by Tech N9NE, Recovery by Eminem, Welcome to Mollywood 2 by Problem, Pink Friday by Nicki Minaj, and Dice Game by Apollo Brown & Guilty Simpson. You watch my eyes hop from one album to another, and when I’m done you immediately say “I only listen to hip-hop.” I’m not going to slant you for your preferred choice of genre, but the next time you tell me that you love music hear me reply, “Yeah! I’m a food lover but I don’t eat meat.” Sure, you know the ins and outs of the genre, you know the history of it from inception to how it applies to the current music scene, you know the rivalries, who used whose samples, and the ripping offs among the genre’s artists, but you only know about that genre. Other types of music is unfamiliar territory. Taken out of the comfort of your hood, you’ll be beaten, robbed, and left on the streets with black eyes and bruises. You’re not totally a loser though, you got both a right and a wrong. Right? You LOVE. Wrong? Music. Instead, you should proclaim from here on out, “I love INSERT GENRE HERE.”
You don’t listen to radio. Online music sites are more up your alley. You squinch whenever you hear Pitbull, Maroon 5, Ke$ha, Justin Timberlake, or (worse) Justin Bieber on air. I ask to see your iPod but you shake your head and clutch it closer to your chest. I demand to take a look at your iPod but you run away screaming like mad, “NO YOU CAN’T. YOU KNOW NOTHING!” You are one of the ANTI-MAINSTREAM kind. Your iPod most likely contains Almost Charlie, Jake Bugg, The Decemberists, Why?, Helstar, or Abnormal End. I commend you. In a time when the means of discovering smaller or unheard acts have become easier, people still prefer being spoon-fed on what they should listen to. However, you choose not to be like them. You venture into the large ocean of music swimming from one islet to another, rummaging for hidden gems. I like that attitude but there is a misconception when discussing mainstream vs. non-mainstream. Let me correct it. Just because it is mainstream, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s crap, and just because it is otherwise, it doesn’t mean you will not find junk. You are missing out on Madonna’s Gang Bang, Rihanna’s Fire Bomb, Kanye West’s Runaway, and Justin Bieber’s Somebody To Love.
On the flip side of the Anti-Mainstream, we have the MAINSTREAM ONLY folks (tee-hee, I hope you get the pun). They will not be caught dead with Katie Melua, Wavves, Anaal Nathrakh, Of Monsters and Men, The National, or Jamie Cullum in their music library. What you will see in their Artists list instead are Britney Spears, David Guetta, Alicia Keys, Jason Mraz, or Timbaland. Ask them, “Do you listen to Progressive Metal? World Music? Ambient? Bluegrass? Industrial?” All you get is a series of invisible question marks popping over their head. When the DJ begins spinning, they either lose it on the dancefloor or bop their heads at the comfort of their table, drink on hand, singing “I don’t care. I love it!”, “Let me give your heart a break, your heart a break.”, “Uranus! Don’t you know my ass is famous?”, “Weeeee’ve come too faaaaaaaaar to give uuuuuuuuuup who we aaaaaaaaaare!”. That’s Icona Pop, Demi Lovato, Lady GaGa and Pharrell Williams on Daft Punk’s Get Lucky for you. If by any chance, they will exclaim under the influence of alcohol, “Fuck yeah! I love music,” I’ll just roll my eyes and laugh thinking “Fuck yeah! You’re just like Stefani Germanotta singing about seashell bikinis and her anus.”
Now if you can do the lambada along Jennifer Lopez’ On The Floor then sing Sami Yusuf’s Asma Allah after, go faux-rock with P!nk’s Just Like a Pill then follow it up with Memphis May Fire’s Paradigm, and know that Mozart’s Je, Maman and Foo Fighters’ These Days both clock at 4:59, my friend by all means declare to the world that you LOVE music! You don’t discriminate between country and EDM. Your music attention span is longer than the wick of a candle. You can tell the difference between the album version and the radio edit. You’re pissed that Jake Miller’s Fly Away featuring Tab is not on the regular edition and you don’t want to go to Target to get their Exclusive Deluxe Edition. You actually own the Brave soundtrack to hear Birdy duet with Mumford & Sons. You create a playlist for your yoga sessions with tracks from Skye, Russ Landau, Nathan Johnson, and Kasstedy. My friend, Music is impressed! He loves you just as much as you love him.
Now, take a look at your music library again. Then finish this sentence, “I love…”
Cover image: Day 18, Project 365 - 11.7.09 by William Bradley