Our bloggy friend Caroline over at Drunkinarowboat has posted a few times about how irritating it is when people get mad at you for liking mainstream music. In her articles, she talks about how much she loves Coldplay and John Mayer, and how, you know, we’re not supposed to like them because everybody likes them.
I’ve been thinking about this today for a couple of reasons. First, this quote was in Quotes of the Day today (yes, I know, I’m obsessed):
The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he really is very good, in spite of all the people who say he is very good. [Robert Graves]
I hear ya, Robert! I mean, who’s to say John Mayer isn’t to music what Shakespeare is to writing? (That could be just ever so slightly a stretch, but you see what I mean.)
Second, this morning over breakfast, I read a Coldplay-bashing article in the NYT magazine. In it, Virginia Heffernan spends an agonizing 15 paragraphs dissecting Coldplay’s MySpace page. No Virginia, not okay. She draws this impressive conclusion at the end:
Because it lacks the conviction of a real, florid MySpace page, [Coldplay’s MySpace page] is obscurely embarrassing. Yet, in a straightforward way, it underscores the embarrassment of Coldplay’s music — the mawkishness, suppressed arrogance, halfheartedness and squeamishness about rock stardom. When illustrated by the graphics here, embarrassment seems like an entirely worthy theme for very hard soft rock.
Wait, what? Either way, I’ll still going to consider it totally enjoyable and acceptable to loudly duet “Viva la Vida” in the car with my sister.
The third reason I’ve been thinking about all the elitists who hate popular music is that I’m going to a festival this weekend that several of my hippie/emo/elitist friends have condemned as “too mainstream,” as if the crunchy folk and the angry teenagers had the market cornered on music festivals. I think the lineup is amazing: headlined by Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, and TOM PETTY, with other acts like Stephen Kellogg, Jason Mraz, Citizen Cope, moe., O.A.R., Spoon, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Brett Dennen, Ingrid Michaelson, Flogging Molly, The Roots, and The Black Crowes. Plus some others that didn’t make my short list. And yes, I did just want to brag a little bit, because how kickass of a lineup is that?
Even though I’m thrilled about the above mainstream/hippie/jam band acts that I’ll be seeing this weekend, I’m still annoyed that people are so condescending about it. I was talking to this kid at a bar about the concert, for instance, and of course he said that he wasn’t attending because it was “too mainstream.” He then asked me what my favorite band was. Here’s the moment where I know I’m about to be judged by a person like him, because, goddamnit, I just happen to be hardcore in love with the Counting Crows.
Now, why on earth should I be embarrassed about that? Alternative Elitist Boy at the bar seems to think I should be, but it’s not like I’d be admitting to owning every S Club 7 album ever made (did they even have more than one album, by the way? And didn’t they have a movie?).
The point is, everyone should just calm down, pour themselves a tall Jack and Coke, and admit that songs like “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” really are insanely good. (Incidentally, “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” is the song I request every time I’m hammered and someone pulls out an acoustic guitar. The fact that NO ONE ever knows how to play this song has never stopped me from begging.) Anyhoo, let’s take a listen to a live version and I’ll stop ranting:
[Posted by Mallory]