Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Great Appreciator

The Great Appreciator

The Music Snob
A person who believes s/he has a more refined taste in music and has much more knowledge in the field of music in general. Every song and genre is unacceptable unless the snob happens to like it, then it is absolute perfection. Music snobs feel obligated to enlighten everyone with unwelcome critiques and irrelevant musical trivia.

The music snob, the person that prefers to talk about music rather than listen to it and definitely prefers to talk over the music to the ‘lucky’ individual sharing the room with them at the same time i.e. “I love those drums, did you know when this was recorded the microphone was hung over the banisters to capture that natural echo?...etc”* Yes we can be a little annoying and it seems silly that something which is based on listening gets talked about in such great depth and for so long (I’ve lost count the number of books I’ve bought that just discuss individual singles that last less than 3 minutes but that the author has managed to stretch over 300 pages!)

Music is for everyone and everyone is entitled to an opinion but for the great lost scholars of music there is another layer, a secret club that you aren’t all allowed in unless you have that ‘look’, the thousand yard star of someone that has sat through at least 2-3 free form jazz albums and has tried to convince themselves that they like it, before reeling off some vague connection to ‘Eight Miles High’ to convince others that no music has escaped your provincial sonic gaze.

This whole journey started when I read a comment by a high up editor from an un-named music publication (go on be a devil…ok it was NME) and this individual stated in no uncertain terms that they hadn’t ever heard either the recently anniversary edition ‘Nevermind’ by Nirvana (in it’s original or re-mastered format) or seminal British Indie album ‘The Stone Roses’ by the group of the same name (and one that had reformed the very same week after a breakup in the 90s no less.) Now if I may climb up on my soap box for a moment and tuck my t-shirt into my ‘Charlie Parker for President’ pants let me just say that I don’t expect everyone to have an encyclopedic knowledge of every Frank Zappa or Duke Ellington recording committed to memory for them to undertake a job as a music journalist but I would think at the very minimum you could run your eyes over pop culture for the last 20 years and pick out some of the most important bands and albums that were released before you start making a career in dissecting new and ‘original’ bands own material. How could you for example review the half arsed Editors album without hearing Joy Division’s ‘Closer’ you might make the grave error in thinking that it was original and give The Editors a 5/5 star rating and nobody wants that.

If you haven’t heard truly great music, then your boundaries are so skewed and limited. How do you truly know what a five star album sounds like if you haven’t heard a handful across eras, you might consider ‘Definitely Maybe’ a bona fide classic (as I do) but if you have heard ‘Sticky Fingers’ or ‘Blonde on Blonde’ maybe you would be more inclined to give it 4/5 before shouting from the rooftops that the boys from Burnage had made the greatest album of all times. This is why when week after week you get some flavour of the moment with an acoustic guitar strumming Dylan-esque wordy lyrics over softly finger picked accompaniment the reviewer is likely to mention Elliot Smith rather than Nick Drake and the pop-tastic new R&B single will draw Outkast comparisons rather than say Sly Stone or George Clinton.

Can you imagine having the nerve to walk into the offices at a movie magazine requesting a reviewers position there and casually dropping into the conversation that you’ve never seen ‘Star Wars', ‘The Shining’, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ or ‘Jaws’ and that you prefer new films that your friends make on YouTube instead to going to the cinema? The punk ethos ‘year zero’ mentality is one thing but drowning in a self filled bath of your own ignorance is another altogether.

There is a light at the end of the darkness though young friends. Music magazines tend to get a little short of ‘copy’ come the start of the year so when the ‘best albums of 2011’ edition has been released then you can prepare yourself for the new years ‘BEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME/60s/70s/80s*delete wear applicable*)’ specials that will come thick and fast to fill the gap until the high flyer's in the industry come back from their Xmas breaks some time around early February. Flick through this lists, get on Spotify or hit the New Year’s sales and fill your collections up with music from the musical renaissance that was the 20Th Century before embarking on the new.

Barry: "You don't have it? That is perverse. Don't tell anybody you don't own f%*king Blonde on Blonde. It's gonna be okay." [sighs deeply and hugs customer]”(from High Fidelity)

*= if you know what song i'm talking about...welcome to the club

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