March 16, 2006

In Defense of Music Snobbery

In today’s humble “post,” dear reader, we aim to get something off of our collective chest. This may not make us particularly popular. In fact, it’s liable to earn us a place in popular culture infamy—right next to Denny Terio, perhaps. Or maybe Jamie Farr.

We have the distinct feeling that today’s “post” will make us happy our “weblog” doesn’t allow “comments.” You may just hate us for this one. So be it.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are officially fed up with pop music devotees who rudely “correct” us when we discuss one of their favorite entertainers. Just the other day, for instance, someone asked one of the senior editors here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call him “Chip”—whether he liked a band called Oasis. “Chip” replied that he isn’t fond of pop music.

“Chip’s” interlocutor, mirabile dictu, was greatly offended. You’d have thought that “Chip” just shot his mother, for crying out loud. “Pop music? Pop music?” he cried. “Oasis isn’t pop music!”

As Annie Hall might say, well la-di-dah. Oasis, it seems, is a “rock band,” not a “pop band.” And claiming otherwise is more dangerous than saying “mankind” in a Womyn’s Studies seminar.

To which we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” reply: Oh, puh-lease. Why is it that these pop music aficionados label everything from J.S. Bach to John Cage “classical,” but become deeply offended if you mix up “trip-hop” and “drum & bass”? As far as they’re concerned, Louis Armstrong and Cecil Taylor deserve to be lumped together, whereas somehow Genesis and Billy Joel are extremely different.

If you ask us, the obsessive re-labeling of what can broadly be labeled pop music comes down to one thing: Pop music fans don’t like to admit they like pop music. Instead of listening to music of any real value, however, pop devotees take the easier route—inventing paltry new sub-genres in a vain attempt to pretend they’re classy.

Earth to pop music fans: You aren’t fooling anyone. Rock is pop music. Rap is pop music. Soft rock is pop music. Hard rock is pop music. We could go on, but we think you get our collective drift. And, as much as you may enjoy a little aesthetic slumming, they can’t hold a candle to Beethoven.

Now, many of our reader(s) may say that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are a passel of music snobs. After all, jazz was once regarded as pop music too.

To which we reply: Jazz records don’t sell in sufficient quantity to be labeled “pop music,” and that’s because their sophistication apparently isn’t for mass appeal. And, quite frankly, if you want to label us music snobs, so be it.

As far as we’re concerned, America is plagued not with too many music snobs, but too few. When classical composers must eke out livings in academia in order to survive and Kid Rock is a squillionaire, the world could use a few more people with taste.

Posted at March 16, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack