Dear 17 year old girl who wrote about how much she hates today’s popular music,
I’d like to respectfully suggest that someone’s taste in music is an entirely personal matter. Whether or not your particular tastes happen to reflect what the majority like, has nothing whatsoever to do with a person’s intelligence or their supposed ‘conformity’.
It’s a bit shit that people’s music tastes make us stereotype them like that. I’ll admit, reading your letter I had a picture of you forming straightaway in my head, even though I know nothing about you other than what you consider ‘good’ music. And when you know what I like to listen to, you’ll probably immediately form an opinion about me that may or may not be wholly inaccurate, based on nothing more than my tastes in music.
But anyway, the idea that listening to pop music = 2D, crowd-following robot, to me, is a bit of a sad generalisation.
You could totally disagree with me here, but I personally have this theory that no music is bad music if you make the effort to understand it. As a music student I’ve had to listen to and study countless pieces I really couldn’t stand at first - my best example would probably be Desmond Dekker’s 'You Can Get It If You Really Want’, which I just found insubstantial and irritating when I first listened to it. But after listening to it a number of times, understanding the thought that went into writing it (yep, it takes effort to compose even the most apparently-meaningless tune) and getting to grips with its influences from Jamaican, Mexican and 1950s doo-wop music… bam, suddenly the piece was fascinating.
I’ve never managed to keep hating a piece once I’ve started thinking about it.
So yeah. Obviously most people don’t consider the heavily-distorted basslines you hate so much in as much depth as me, but that personally is what helps me whenever I feel like I hate a song so much I could be physically violent to the next person to mention it in front of me :)
Another 17 year old, who could listen to anything from 16th century madrigals to Broadway musicals, Mozart to Ed Sheeran to random Scottish folk music, without getting bored.
PS The celebrity side of music and the desire to become the next big thing that you talked about? Take it up with Beethoven. He started it.
PPS If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend the musical 'We Will Rock You’, since it pretty much sums up your opinion of pop music and also, if you’re the kind of person who likes Pink Floyd I reckon you could do worse than live through a couple of hours of Queen.
he hasn’t smiled. it’s bothering you, eating at you. you’ve smiled and he’s frowning, blank, unreadable. why isn’t he looking at you. his eyes are bloodshot and dull and you’re staring again, but how can you not? you’ve left half of a sandwich by him but it’s untouched (it’s been forty minutes. is he busy or ignoring you? it’s poison in your gut to see him do nothing). hands racing across the keys with nary a break as you chat with those in the chatroom–what else is there to do, honestly–and your stomach sinks as they tell you to comfort him. you’re the only one who can, but how can you if he doesn’t spare a glance at you? oh, it hurts, wrenching in your stomach in a tight ball of hurt but you smile all the same and assure them, “I’ll do what I can.” It helps them, but not you, but they’re more important–they need to smile too. sparing another glance at him, you catch him for half of a second looking up before he’s staring at his screen again, the monitor reflecting in his glasses making it hard to see his eyes. you huff a little, dropping your legs to the floor and heading towards the door, the only thing seeing you off being the sound of computer keys.
his mind is racing, it won’t stop; it’s hard to stay calm inside let alone outside.don’t let her see, he tells himself, don’t let her see. she could get hurt and she’s already in danger. he demands his heart to settle every time he feels her eyes on him. she doesn’t stop, occasionally asking him gently if he’s okay but he never responds, instead acting as though he’s listening to music and humming a song he can’t even place (that’s a lie. it’s her ringtone). she sits a plate down next to him and he spared a glance. a sandwich, neatly cut in a small portion just for him (good going. she’s worried. why can’t you just push her away and make her hate you? her worry is clenching his heart, his chest, it hurts, oh god–). love isn’t meant for him, but he’d be damned if he didn’t care for her. he hears her get up and go out the door, but to where? he gets worried. scared. she can’t leave; what if something happens? he’s scared, frightened, but does he follow? he considers getting up but then he hears the water in the shower. he tells his heart to quiet down. his fingers stop moving–fuck, he can’t focus–and he listens carefully to the sound of the water in the bathroom. he can’t focus. his heart won’t rest.
you step back into the room feeling refreshed, but not settled, and when you look at seven, he’s staring at his monitor again.