I feel really sorry for kids whose parents have awful taste in music. For starters, it must suck to be forced to listen to garbage for years before you’re big enough to operate the controls. Second, if you’re raised in an environment filled with shitty music, odds are you’re going to like shitty music, too.
Case in point: my former father-in-law loved Bob Seger. Like, loooooooved Bob Seger. Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band were his favorite band, and I’d like to think his preference for them was communicated mainly through fasion. Like Bob, my former father-in-law wore as much denim as possible in every possible situation. I don’t think I ever saw him without it. While the wedding was by no means formal, he showed up in a denim shirt, jacket, and jeans. In hindsight no one should have taken the event very seriously, but really?
While Bob Seger has a few okay songs, on the whole, he’s not really cut out to be anyone’s favorite artist. He’s mediocre at best, and in my experience, the only people who have claimed him to be among their favorite artists also have a fond affection for things like accruing child support charges, chewing tobacco, and Truck Nuttz.
The point is that my former father-in-law’s taste in music was terrible, as was his son’s. While I haven’t spoken to my ex-husband in six years, I doubt anything has changed. His taste in music – in everything, actually, from music to movies to books to clothes, fuck what a waste of three years that turned out to be – was generic. Blah. Banal. The most boring, predictable, easily digestible, mainstream schlock that any frat boy with iTunes would love. I mean…Dave Matthews Band. That’s really the only explanation anyone should need.
Now, while my parents’ choice in music wasn’t particularly daring for the time, at least I got to listen to some cool shit. My dad has a vinyl collection that reads like Music 101 For People Who Are Not Chodes. Want to know about the first naked person I saw (who was not in my immediate family)? Those kids on the cover of Houses of the Holy. That record was like porn in my house. I’d go down to the basement where the records were and peel that one out, and just stare because those were asses and people could buy this kind of picture at a store!
My dad’s stuff was more traditionally dude music: Led Zeppelin, The Stones, Deep Purple, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, etc (also he likes Linda Ronstadt for some reason, I think it’s her boobs). My mom’s stuff was a little more eclectic, because in addition to all the stuff my dad liked, she was really into Motown, the blues, and dirty jazz. Then there were the Sundays when my dad started drinking early and would turn on the public radio station in the basement, and around 2:30pm he’d start wailing along to delta music with an Old Black Guy accent.
Thankfully, I understood the concept of Not Being A Musical Douchebag. With the exception of Emotional Rescue (because Cat Pick is the most boring person ever to be on the radio, and that includes any heavy breathers on NPR), the only radio I listen to is 88.1 KDHX.* First, it’s an awesome fucking radio station and St. Louis is lucky to have it. Second, everything else on the radio sucks. Third, it’s the only non-Internet source of music I enjoy that not everyone in the fucking world is listening to, and although this may cause some people to label me a snob, it’s more like I’m not interested in the sort of music that Jimmy Ray from Pine Bluff, Arkansas listens to when he shines up that purdy Confederate flag decal on the back of his truck. I’m not interested in the latest Disney star to get videotaped shoving a pharmaceutical cocktail up her asshole. I’m not interested in the manufactured garbage being spoonfed by the .99 digital single to people too stupid to know any better.
Can you even imagine what’s going on in the brains of kids whose parents are into stuff like Nickelback, OAR, and any record labeled with the Glee! or Now That’s What I Call Music! brands? What the fuck are those kids going to grow up to like?
This is not everything that is mainstream is terrible. Of course not. That’s a myopic opinion shared by hipsters and the people who want to sleep with them. Sometimes the popular stuff is popular for a reason. Sometimes. The shitty thing is that more often than not, it’s popular because the people who have the money to spend on it aren’t very bright.
This Won’t Make Anyone Smarter But It’ll Certainly Improve Their Taste
Don’t Tell Me, The View
Rotten to the Core, The Builders and the Butchers
Teenage Kicks, The Undertones
Your Shoes Are The Star Of The Show, Louis XIV
Hussy, Crystal Skulls
A Cautionary Song, Colin Meloy
You Were Born To Be In Battle, The Old 97’s
She Loves You, The Gaslight Anthem
Returning To The Fold, The Thermals
A Little More Time, Zox
100 Other Lovers, DeVotchKa
Neighborhood #2 (Laika), Arcade Fire
Cigarettes, Wedding Bands, Band of Horses
Alameda, Elliott Smith
Dance Me To the End of Love, Leonard Cohen
Lover I Don’t Have To Love, Bright Eyes
The Big Fight, Stars
Bird on a Wire, Rogue Wave
Anna Was A Stool Pigeon, Tom Gabel
Be Your Bro, Those Darlins
My Life Flashed Before My Eyes, The Cribs
Rumbrave, Murder By Death
American Skeleton, French Letters
Ladle, Cowboy Junkies
House of Cards, Radiohead
*Just so you know, today’s Memphis to Manchester show was THE TITS. Well done, John Wendland, sir.