Saturday, March 19, 2011

I Don't Care If You Think Your Music Is Better

Several weeks ago, I was like most people in that I did not watch the Grammy's. Award shows bore me, especially their endless and pointless drivel being spewed after anyone wins an award. I did, however, enjoy checking out the performances the few days following the show. The one performance that stuck out (for a couple reasons) was the combination of Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, and Bob Dylan. My first thought when Mumford and Sons started playing was "When did Alec Baldwin start a folk-rock band?" Once I was able to get past this resemblance, I was able to enjoy the rest of the performance. While Bob Dylan was horrendous and The Avett Brothers were very, very good, Mumford and Sons' rendition of The Cave was absolutely amazing. The energy, the sound, the look, the music, everything impressed me. After enjoying their song, it was only natural to wander over to YouTube to listen to more of their work.


It was there that the musical elitists showed their mangy, dirty, ugly faces yet again. . .

A majority of the comments on the Mumford and Sons videos stated that they knew about the band before the Grammy's. These sages' prior knowledge made them musically superior to us schmucks who happened to be introduced to them more recently.

Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that discovering bands had a time limit. I truly apologize. I will push their exceptional performance into the recesses of my mind and immediately stop learning anything more about these talented folks because you, far superior musical listeners, have already filled the Mumford and Sons fan quota.

Their perspective blew me away, despite having seen this vitriol being directed toward newly-added fan bases in the past. The comment sections for videos of any up-and-coming band are littered with similar sentiment; only fans since the beginning allowed. Logically this makes no sense. When I am a fan of a band, I would like as many people as possible to enjoy them as well. More exposure and more positive responses mean more music being created by that band. It is a simple concept. A exceptional band with little following is forgotten about quickly, has less accessibility to their music over time, and has much less staying power than a pretty good band with a rabid following. Think about this situation outside of music. The Boston Red Sox, prior to 2004, had not won the World Series since 1918. The Chicago Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908. Every year, their seasons ended with disappointment. Despite this ineptitude, the fanatical fan bases have keep these teams consistently two of the three most popular teams in baseball. (Who had the 5th in the "Which paragraph will Mike make an unnecessary reference to baseball?" pool?)

Back in the music world, think about what happened with Green Day in the 90's. They were considered sellouts when their albums starting going mainstream. Their popularity drove the punk world into a punkish frenzy. Years later, Green Day is one of the most successful bands of our time. They are 50 years old and still dropping punk records that sell like crazy. I would argue that their success was the impetus to the today's punk popularity. Prior to Green Day's supposed sellout, how many punk bands were in the regular rotation of mainstream radio stations? It wasn't many, if there were any at all. Perhaps the Mumford and Sons Grammy performance will do to folk rock what "Dookie" did for punk, pull their style of music from the fringes and to a wider audience. For that reason alone, those original and elitist Mumford and Sons fans should embrace these new additions to their club and look forward to years and years of banjo rocking.


In the grand scheme of things, why should anyone care how or when people unearth music they enjoy? I discovered Mumford and Sons from the 2011 Grammy's. My love of classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd stems from my middle school friends. I was exposed to Rise Against through friends in college. I learned about Muse through Guitar Hero. I was turned on to Oasis because someone told me they were going to be the biggest thing out of the UK since the Beatles. I started liking Radiohead as I listened to and bantered about their music with my coworker Alex while we ran Atterberg limit tests. I listened to George Strait because my mom loved him when I was growing up. I found David Hasselhoff because I love freedom and light-up suits. And I was blessed with The Darkness because their awesomeness revealed itself to me in a beam of heavenly light. The various ways I found these bands doesn't make my love for each particular band more or less authentic. To all you musical elitist with your superiority complex - take a quick look at how ridiculous you sound and get the heck over yourself.

Until the next post,
Mikey

1 comment:

Mike Flick said...

This post is dedicated to my friend Johnny X. May he be a constant reminder to update my blog.