The Genre-Phobe. Don’t be that guy.

My dad, circa 1973

As many of you know, I have a pretty extensive music collection. I recently did a rough count and when you include albums, 45s, cassette tapes, CDs, and downloads I have over half a million songs in my collection. Yeah, I know. Hard to believe but it’s true. That’s a lot. I have the complete works of several artists, including The Beatles, R.E.M., Eels, Todd Rundgren, Pink Floyd, The Who, The Chi-Lites, Bob Dylan and many others. My collection is very eclectic, from The Osmonds to Frank Sinatra to Tchaikovsky to Hank Williams to . . . you get the idea. The point of this blog is a problem I have with certain people. What people, you ask? The people I call Genre-Phobes. I made that word up by the way, although I suppose it’s possible that it’s been used before. Actually I put two existing words together to make up a new word. Anyway, a Genre-Phobe is a person who says he “hates” certain types of music, or says certain music is “stupid”. You know the guy I’m talking about.

Don’t be that guy.

My point is this – how can you label an entire genre like that? How can you even eliminate a genre from consideration? How do you “hate” an entire form of music? For that matter, how can you hate an art form of any kind? Isn’t music like a painting? What may be appealing to you may not be appealing to someone else, right? Just because YOU don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s bad, folks. One man’s trash, you know the old saying.

Don’t be a Genre-Phobe.

Random Thought: Isn’t good music in the ear of the beholder? I believe it is. If ”Ice Ice Baby” is beautiful to you then it’s beautiful, period. Done deal.

I’ve always had a problem with music critics as well. What gives them the right to tell me what’s good and what isn’t? If I think something is good then it is. Amirite?

In addition, most people have singers or groups they like but they’re sort of afraid to admit it anyway, right? Listen up kids. It’s OK to listen to ”Party in the USA” or “Call Me Maybe” in the privacy of your home. I ain’t mad at ya.

And the idea of music as competition is another concept I’ve never been able to grasp. Grammy for best song? According to who? A bunch of the ass-clown critics or old dudes in suits? Meh.

Do you know what the best-selling song of the ’70s was? “You Light Up My Life” by the immortal Debby Boone. Now personally I didn’t care for the song but millions disagreed. That doesn’t make them stupid. Well, maybe a little. And do you know what Stevie Wonder’s most popular song is? It’s not “Superstition” or “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”. Yep, it’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” which isn’t exactly my cup of tea but people like it. Who cares? Not I. Play on playah. I really have no idea what point I’m trying to make by telling you these things other than the fact that people have different tastes than mine and that’s OK. Don’t judge, people. Leave that to the talking heads on “American Idol” or “The Voice.”

Random Thought #2: Imagine if Bob Dylan came along today. He’d be one of those guys they make fun of on American Idol and dismissed as a loser. Why? Because he can’t sing worth a damn very well and looks like a train hoppin’ hobo.  Janis Joplin? Too ugly. On your way young lady, and take that hoarse, “pitchy” voice with you.

Sad. Sad indeed.

So here’s today’s lesson. Don’t be a hater. Don’t judge people by the music they enjoy listening to. Don’t be embarrassed when someone walks in on you and that Susan Boyle CD is playing. It’s OK. Everyone has different tastes so deal with it. There’s no right or wrong musically.

Now excuse me as I, proudly and without shame, go put on some Kelly Clarkson.

Have a great day.

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