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Hate Leads to Anger ... wait ... no ... Hate Leads to Fear …

By: Darrin Snider (darrin at indyintune dot com)
Sunday, July 7, 2013 7:00:00 PM


So remember a few months back when I was touting the wonders of Spotify, voyeuristic consumption, and how cool it was that we’re finding ways to make music a social experience again? Yeah, I take it all back. I think I’ve already mentioned the fatal flaw in the logic of having a reputation as the “devoted champion of the local music scene” is that people tend to make a lot of assumptions about your musical tastes based on who you associate with on the weekends. Now, apparently based on that post, people have started to scrutinize what I listen to. Well, okay, and I guess the Spanish Inquisition was a social experience too. Look, there are a couple of things you need to know: my on-line listening is almost exclusively dedicated to streaming radio stations (which I often choose more because I like the presenters than I do the music) and random shuffles (because, like Shatner, I like to explore strange new worlds … and sleep with green-painted chicks, but that’s for my other blog). What I’m saying is that you can’t infer anything about my tastes based on my listening habits. Anybody who has talked music with me for more than half an hour, however, knows that my two favorite types of music are prog and jazz – neither of which features very prominently on Indy In-Tune Radio because 1) like pepperoni curry, pretention only appeals to a small group of misguided fanatics with strong constitutions, 2) indie rockers are much more fun to hang out with socially, and 3) Indianapolis seems to be devoid of original prog bands, and most jazz players won’t return my phone calls because of my involvement in the “Chatterbox incident of 1995.”

This new socialization, however, gave rise to an interesting observation. It has been my experience, that if someone is going to comment on my playlist or choice of music, it’s most-likely to be negative over the Internet, but positive if we’re hanging out in person. This is also evident in feedback received about the programming on Indy In-Tune Radio. Looking at on-line comments, there’s about a 5:1 ratio of “You play too much hip hop!” or “I really hate the hardcore metal stuff you have on!” compared to “Holy cow, I’d never heard [insert band here] before, what a great find!” and “I am now completely obsessed with this song, thanks for playing it!” That ratio is reversed if the person leaving the comment is standing right in front of me. It’s almost as if any time I’m not keeping an eye on people, they are kidnapped and secretly replaced with Gordon Ramsay. I try not to take any of this personally, but as I also mentioned in a previous rant, it’s unfortunate that when left to our own true nature (instead of the niceties we throw up during personal interactions) we’re more apt to come out bashing something we don’t like instead of enforcing something we do like. Not to mention, my all-time biggest pet peeve is someone who claims they hate an entire genre of music, when in reality they’ve probably listened to very little of it and their disdain is most-likely based on preconception … or worse, misconception.

I fully accept that some music just doesn’t speak to certain demographics of people, and some people have very specific tastes in what they want to hear. Certainly I’m not a huge fan of some of the music Indy In-Tune plays on a daily basis, but I absolutely respect and support those who wrote and perform it (and don’t try to guess, you’d be very surprised to learn what I do and do not like in the playlist). On the other hand, I can’t write off an entire genre or even the totality of an artist’s work, because there’s almost always something in there I can latch on to. Songs that I truly “hate,” I can only think of six – none of which are from local artists, by the way. I mean, to truly “hate” a song it would have to have no redeeming social or entertainment value – like an Adam Sandler movie. I would (despite reasonable effort) be completely unable to find anything complimentary to say it or the person who wrote it at all -- like a Saturday night live sketch after 12:30. Simply hearing the song in the background would completely ruin my mood and my day, and if I thought it were feasible, I would cancel all my remaining plans and join a crusade to have it removed from the space-time continuum completely (like my ex-girlfriend). I am talking serious hate here, bile that would make a Fox News commentator say, “Whoa, dude, calm down, don’t you think you’re getting a little obsessed with your self-righteousness?”

By that definition, I could only find six songs that I hate. Just six. Care to guess? (None of them are by local artists.)

There are hundreds of songs I just don’t like, but each of them has at least one redeeming element that saves it from the “hate” moniker. Yes, I loathe Brown-Eyed Girl, but that moving guitar part in the verses is really well done (you know, the guitar part most cover bands leave out). I jab forks into my leg whenever someone plays “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” but the guitar bends in the lead are pure rock and roll (you know, the bends most cover band players can’t quite get on pitch). Bobby McGee has been covered to death by every wannabe female singer because Janis impresses, and it happens to be the easiest of her songs. (I defy any of you to cover “Cry Baby.” Just once.) Still, there is one perfect mesh of poetry and passion in the “called him my lover, called him my friend” section (you know, the phrase that no bottle-blonde karaoke pop-tartlet has ever hit – and the only thing we remember about your performance later is how they screwed up the best part of the song). If I can find something I like about these songs, I can’t hate them. Now, granted, I don’t want to hear them ... ever … again.

So, here’s a little positive thinking challenge for you: Step outside of your normal listening habits, either by browsing through unexplored genres with TuneIn, seeding an off-the-wall song in Pandora to see what comes up, or just stalking your more-eclectic friends’ playlists in Spotify (stay away from mine though, chaos and madness await thee there). Challenge yourself to find one element you like about each song that comes up. It may be small. It may not be enough to make you want to listen on a regular basis. It may be a single clever line in a rap song, a cool chord progression in a dubstep song, a cool keyboard sound in a pop song, and hey, did I catch you tapping your foot to that twangy country tune? Heck, I recently became a Daft Punk fan mostly because I admired their marketing technique, and I listen to desi electronica and Chinese folk music when I write simply because it’s non-invasive. The point of the exercise is to train yourself to identify the positive before the negative, and to find beauty in unlikely places. I’m sure this would come in handy in other aspects of your life, but they’re probably not nearly as important as music.

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Local Depends Largely on Where You're Coming From
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My Mixed Tape for July 2013

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