I’m not starting a political blog, but with the days of contemplation approaching, I dare you to think about the following:
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” (Isaac Asimov)
Not everyone is equally capable, and that goes for music just as much as for politics. Some animals are more equal than others. I don’t have to tell you, but there is a reason the singer is on stage and we are in the audience. We are not meant to sing, we are there to admire the artist and applaud the performance. Most people can’t sing and shouldn’t, especially not when they are standing next to me and sing-along at the top of their lungs. The sing-along concertgoer is a little less annoying than the tallest guy in the audience, who always happens to stand in front of you, and a tiny bit less nauseating than that dreadlocked hippie, who only takes a shower once a year, and that day wasn’t today. For that reason I sometimes wish smoking in public places was still allowed; cigarette smoke is very effective in counteracting bodily odor.
People sing-along with the songs they love. Fortunately, the songs most people love are usually not the best ones, which finally brings me to my point:
Are there any songs, by artists you love, that everyone seems to love, apart from you?
I’m not talking about songs that divide opinions, or even create a whole new class of fans (fans who love just that song, but are otherwise indifferent to the artist, the people who know Nick Cave from his duet with Kylie Minogue). I’m also not talking about dinosaurs like ‘Stairway to heaven’ (Led Zeppelin) or ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (Queen), songs that have been played so many times they’ve lost all meaning. No, I’m talking about the ones you should like, you have to like, because everyone does, and hating them makes you feel like a pariah.
My favourite songs to hate? Three, basically.
Joy Division – Love will tear us apart. They will crucify me. Honestly, I’m a big Joy Division fan, but the only thing I like about this song is how accurately its title describes my feelings for it. It does tear us apart, Joy Division and me. I don’t understand how a band with such great sense of melancholy and drama can come up with a song that is so linear. Compared to practically all other Joy Division songs it gently stays at the surface and doesn’t hit me in the face. The song is about detachment and does exactly that. I can’t relate to it. How one of their weakest songs could grow into their most iconic one, is a mystery to me.
Radiohead – Karma Police. For me, Karma Police represents the moment OK Computer (1997) breaks down. Up until then it’s a great album, after that there are too many fillers. It’s not a bad album, but on the scale of greatness I rank Kid A (2000) and In Rainbows (2007) higher, and I definitely like The Bends (1995) more. Karma police is a whiny song. Tom Yorke has a weird voice, but normally keeps it more or less in check. Here I think: what is your problem? The accompanying music is barely more interesting.
Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah. Yes, I’m an atheist, but let that not be an excuse. I love Leonard Cohen, I love almost all his work, but Hallelujah simply doesn’t have the underlying tension so characteristic of most of his work.
That’s my list. Will you tell me yours? I won’t tell anyone. Your secret is safe with me.Tweet