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 Princess Stomper

Why you’re secretly an elitist (and why that’s a good thing)

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By Princess Stomper

MLM April 26, 2012 at 12:34 am says:

Well I like Arcade Fire. I like a lot of things for a lot of reasons.

But it seems that the people that are so vehement about the ‘good’ music they like are the ones that miss meritable music right under their nose because they’re so stuffy.

I’m totally bored with elitists. I’ve been in bands with them and it makes for boring music and tiresome opinion.

I don’t know anything about MLM, so let’s just make someone up and talk about them instead. Let’s call him Bob. Bob is a slut and a whore. A slut because he’s indiscriminate: he downloads thousands of tracks every week and doesn’t even bother to listen to half of them. When you saturate the market, you devalue its currency: each individual song is worthless. Well, Bob, did you even bother to learn its name? He’s a whore because he does it for the money: God forbid he’ll spend 79p on a track for his £400 ipod.

Bob’s also a commitmentphobe. He won’t make a choice to buy one album this month (so make it a good one). It doesn’t matter to Bob if he reaches his five-play limit on Spotify because he just wanted to sample each without committing to any. He listens to so much stuff that he can’t remember how any of it goes, let alone whether one of those thousands of songs might have changed his life. He doesn’t invest the time and effort to get to know it intimately – to spend months or years with it, exploring every aspect of it, nurturing a deep and lasting love. No, for Bob, it’s all about instant gratification. A shallow, empty fuck to scratch an itch.

Arcade Fire are like a hook-up in the toilets at a nightclub. They do the job, sure, but there’s nowhere to go beyond that. You can’t imagine being with them five years from now, and learning that they can still surprise you.

So you think you’re better than Bob, do you? Think you’re something special? Well, of course you think you’re something special because if you don’t think you’re something special then you think you’re just one of a number. Devoid of particular value. If you don’t value yourself then of course you’ll spend time with any old crap because you secretly believe you don’t deserve any better. If you don’t, in your innermost heart, believe that you’re special, then how would you even get up in the morning? What does Bob tell himself when he looks in the mirror? “I’m nothing, I’m nobody important”?

So, of course you think you’re special. You value yourself. You value your time and your attention. You discriminate. You only want the best, and you are willing to invest in that (particularly time). You’re not going to listen to just anything because that’s time you’re not spending with The One – that perfect record that gives you shivers. The one that teaches you things that you never imagined. The one that makes you feel things you’ve never felt before. The one that you will love fiercely, passionately and tenderly until the day that you die.

Of course, there’s never only one “One” – like the women of Wisteria Lane, husband number nine definitely has that something the last one never did – but unlike Bob, your affections are pure. You return to past loves over and over because devotion that strong can never die, but you believe your latest love will last forever. Every moment with that One means something, even if there will be a different One next season.

So you’re an elitist in the best possible sense. You stand head and shoulders above the rest of the internet rabble because you don’t blindly accept whatever crap lifestyle magazines throw at you. Download Whores like Bob read lifestyle magazines because they’re lazy, but it’s that lack of discrimination that makes for boring music and tiresome opinion. Thinking “that’s not good enough – I need something better” is what motivates you to dig deep into every corner until you turn up that sonic gold. The trouble with insisting on “good” music is that you do overlook the “meritable” music, but you’re OK with that because meritable music won’t satisfy you the way that good music can.

Last year, I reviewed a YACHT album and I said, “It’s an incredible feeling when a song makes you want to scream your love for it from the rooftops, or inspires you to form a band or start a blog or even just buy the T-shirt. There aren’t any songs like that on Shangri-La, but there doesn’t have to be: it would be exhausting if every record you heard made you feel that way” – but do you want to know how many times I’ve listened to that album since? Zero. Because an album should make you feel that way – because that’s like saying, “Sex doesn’t have to be amazing”.

That doesn’t mean an album can’t be flawed – some of the best albums have had some terrible tracks on them – but what it must not ever be is meaningless. It has to have value and add value to your life. It has to thrill and enthrall. It has to tease and promise that more secrets will be revealed if you stick around to find out. It has to captivate and command your attention, but offer comfort when you need it. It has to be amazing, and you don’t find that just anywhere.

So, yes, you’re an elitist. You believe that only the best is good enough for you. You think you deserve more than the sonic equivalent of a bathroom hook-up with someone who won’t remember your name. You think that you deserve better than merely meritable or adequate.

You’re better than that. Music is better than that. You deserve each other.

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