Saturday, April 18, 2020

Musical Snobbery


There's lots of music I don't like -- there's more I do like. It's not that I'm superior to Steven Tyler or Crosby, Stills or Nash. Their music simply doesn't resound brightly with me. Musical taste is impossible to define. 

Being a thirteen-year-old who liked country music taught me about snobbery. "Country music? Like Johnny Cash?" kids would snicker. Those same kids are now sixty-five years old and cherishing their newly minted thirty-dollar vinyl copy of "Live At San Quentin".(I never was a Cash fan, by the way.) I didn't dare point out that Mama Tried was a far superior track to Snoopy Versus The Red Baron. Mostly no one outside my family and my best friend even knew that I listened to country.

My theory is those who sniff at any kind of music truly don't like music; they're just haughty prigs. I had my phases, too, but my prejudices were generally aimed at artists who tried to change country into something it wasn't. For a time I hated John Denver and Kenny Rogers. In the late sixties I detested Glen Campbell. Happily, I now like both Denver and Rogers; and I cherish Glen.

My favorite (really, my only) country music site sometimes reflexively denigrates artists of the past, while enshrining obscure musicians few have even heard of.There is a certain songwriter who recently passed away who is being (implausibly) touted on the site as a candidate for the Country Music Hall of Fame. While I knew the man's name, I had to Google his songs, and I am here to report that I've never heard of any of them. And I've been enveloped in music for a good sixty years.But he's cool.

This blog is non-judgmental. Music is music, and if you like a track, cool. Joy is what music is supposed to bring to our lives. It should be apolitical; it can be nonsensical.Sometimes it just has a good beat and you find yourself dancing in your chair when you hear it.

Music can be dissected, but boy, that takes the fun out of it. Listening to SiriusXM on my weekend nights, I hear recordings I used to dismiss, but suddenly I'm hearing them with fresh ears. And I don't solely listen to country music. It depends upon my mood. My bookmarked channels range from the 50's to the 80's to Yacht Rock, with a smattering of seventies and eighties country and, of course, Willie's Roadhouse. (Why is there no nineties country channel, Sirius? Hit me up -- I can help you out.)

People can revel in their hipness. I'm just going to derive joy in whatever music hits me.

In the mid-seventies, I was caught in a chasm between country and rock, and I mostly leaned toward rock. AM radio was still the king of the car, and certain tracks were predominant. I remember my brother driving me somewhere and hearing "Heard It In A Love Song' and thinking for the longest time that the title was "Pretty Little Love Song". Not that I necessarily liked the song, but it was played incessantly. That reminded me of this one, that I summarily dismissed, but I really kinda like it now:



Enjoy your weekend. Avoid people. Snack a lot and good luck finding something decent to watch on Netflix. Better yet, crank up some tunes. I won't tell anyone.












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