A lot of people seem confused about this. Let’s set the record straight.
1) You can like whatever you like.
2) Other people can, too. Even if they like Nickelback. It’s like how the Tea Party is allowed to be in Congress.
3) There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure. If you want to feel guilty about something, eat an entire pie. (Don’t feel guilty about that. You deserved it.)
4) Liking an “eclectic” mix of music does not make you a better fan than the person who only listens to one kind and vice versa. Actually, nothing you listen to makes you a better fan than anybody else. Why would you want to be? Go play beer pong or ironic kickball or something.
5) If you know somebody who likes “everything except country,” you should make them a rad playlist, but don’t be angry when they won’t come vinyl shopping with you. You did your best.
6) If you care about “authenticity” or “honesty,” you should read a history book or take a polygraph test. Musicians are performers. The word you’re looking for is “sincerity.”
7) Sincerity (or enthusiasm, or trying really hard) alone does not make great music, just like really loving basketball doesn’t mean you can start for the Lakers. But it helps.
8) Topics of discussion that do not substitute for having an actual opinion about a band’s music:
- A band’s wardrobe
- A band’s haircut
- A band’s record label
- Whether or not the band used to be in another band
- Whether or not the band sold their music to a commercial
- The band’s latest Pitchfork score
- The band’s admittedly super-awkward Pitchfork interview where they talk about their lawyers and managers
- The band’s cat’s Twitter account
- The availability of the band’s t-shirts at Hot Topic
- The band’s annoying 12-year-old fans
- The band’s annoying 12-year-old fans’ moms
9) Liking a band because it’s popular on the Internet may (emphasis on “may”) get you laid, but it won’t fill the icy void in your heart that would rather be listening to Lady Gaga.
10) Not liking a band because it’s popular in real life doesn’t make you a beautiful unique snowflake. It just means you get to hang out with the other sheep who smoke American Spirits and have unfortunate tattoos.
11) When someone says or writes, “I don’t like this band,” they’re not actually saying “I don’t like you, you idiot. How could you possibly like this band?” They just don’t like the band. You will worry about this less after eighth grade’s over.
12) That new band you like probably has some older albums that you will also really like. You should Google this before telling people your favorite National album is the first one. (Nobody’s favorite National album is the first one.)
13) Music that came out before last week can be really good! You should go back and check it out. Start with Steely Dan.
14) There’s no such thing as “Best” when it comes to music. Really! When someone says “Best,” they actually mean “Favorite.” They just want you to click through their five-page albums list, which you totally did. (If they actually meant “Best,” they’re probably wearing a t-shirt with a wolf on it right now. Take a deep breath.)
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