No Accounting for Taste

There are some bands or artists of which I will just never understand the appeal, or rather, the intense appeal or hold they seem to have over large groups of people.

I get the Beatles, to a point. Not as much as most Caucasians with parents over 45, mind you. I get the quantity of good songs, the high quality of each effort, and the variance in and blending of what had come before. That’s why I like the White Stripes. But, much like the White Stripes, I can take them or leave them. I just don’t feel passionately about any of the Beatles’ songs except “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “A Day in the Life”. The rest are so generic and childish (Paul’s) or incomprehensible art for art’s sake (John). While that does not preclude them from being capital ‘G’ Great, how can I call a band the Greatest Band to Ever Live if I would give up their entire catalogue, forever, if it meant I got to hear “Sympathy for the Devil” or “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” one more time? I’m not even a Stones fan.

I’ve tried, continuously, to listen to and understand what was so good about Velvet Underground now for years. It just sounds like really high people lazily singing about the drugs they just got, and I’m sorry, not well. Plus, the production is shitty. Generally, the way white music drolled out and just laid there in the early ’60s depresses me. Give me Motown any day. Ironically, I love Lou Reed’s album Transformer. But that did come out in the ’70s.

Joy Division. WTF? The music sounds like it could sound amazing. The vocals sound like they could be distinctive and cool. So why did they go into a sewer tunnel and lay down in piss, then hook up tin cans and string to record? Was that what “Goth” was? I don’t fucking get it.

Maybe it’s because of an association with racism and/or conservatism, but most country music and Southern rock just sound like Klan rallies to me. I like “Free Bird” and “Simple Man”, but you can keep the rest of Skynyrd’s catalogue.

Lady Gaga is like Christina Aguilera, only less edgy while pretending to be more edgy. The thing is, Gaga isn’t doing anything we haven’t seen before. It’s like she read Shock Music for Dummies and cooked up some music video ideas, but the music is innocuous repetitive dance music with less to say than even her partner in crime, Beyonce. Christina did an album that took ’40s style USO music and made it talk about guys with big dicks. She just released a video that looks like a mash-up of every Madonna video ever made, but where the video looks derivative, the song is surprising for a pop star: “Cause I’m doing things that I normally won’t do / The old me’s gone; I feel brand new / And if you don’t like it, fuck you,” all while she implies she’s going to be willingly gang-banged. That is real shock. That’s feminine sexuality actually, finally, completely, unrelentingly unrepressed instead of suckling at the 30 year-old teat of androgyny. You may not like Aguilera, but she’s proud of liking to fuck. Gaga is just another repressed little girl who wants to surround herself with gay men because she’s terrified of her own vagina.