Benoit Denizet-Lewis is so courageous. The author of America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life reveals his love for Dave Matthews in a piece at the Advocate, in which he doesn’t attempt, not even a little bit, to redeem his affections with claims that DMB is good music.
Instead he quotes his therapist, whose assessment of Denizet-Lewis’ taste probably applies to even the most pretentious listeners/music critics.
How to explain my DMB obsession? According to my former therapist, it is yet another example of my unwillingness to grow up. “You’re 30 now,” she said deliberately, as if breaking some terrible news. “Should you really be going to concerts with cute, stoned, shirtless college boys?”
Who isn’t clinging to a college band or two for dear life even if your taste was terrible way back when? I like Denizet-Lewis’ (and his friend’s) appraisal: “I love them because I love them. Or, as a friend put it, ‘You love them because you have shitty taste.'”
I’d add this to the friend’s assessment: You can have good taste and like shitty bands just like you can have shitty taste and like great bands. Music lovers should be able to appreciate the good and the bad without swaddling their confession in critical theory or self-deprecating slams. (Slamming a band you used to love simply because it’s no longer cool is like talking shit about the person you dated simply because everyone you know thinks he/she is a skank. It’s essentially a form of cowardice.)
E.g. My freshman year roommate used to pump our dorm full of the sounds of Incubus and 311 arranged for strings. (We’re still friends despite him having played those two albums every single day for a full semester.) During a recent get-together outside of Philly, I reminded him about the string arrangements and he did his best to pretend like it didn’t happen. When avoidance didn’t work, he dismissed my jabs by saying he had done a lot of growing since then.
But after a few drinks, I got him to admit how he really feels: S.C.I.E.N.C.E. is a great album, and it was only slightly less great arranged for strings.
God, how awful is it that we end up bashing the albums and bands that made us music lovers? I hope I listen to emo music for the rest of my life.
Dear readers, I invite all of you to admit to loving music that everyone you know makes fun of you for enjoying. Fuck those haters.