By Alisa Pierce
There is a musical hierarchy in the great big world of music that we all enjoy. This hierarchy does not exist in the form of bands being more talented than others, or lyricists writing better content than their rivals. This order in the music industry is most prevalent in the spheres that concern the fans, groupies, and above all those that work within the music world.
I’m talking about music snobbery. Not music knowledge or involvement, but an arrogance that surrounds those who consider themselves better for knowing every single genre or band on the planet. Usually this comes in the form of people trying to show off in front of others they want to impress, especially those who can help them get started in the music world. To be honest, I don’t think this is entirely bad. It’s normal for music fans to be proud of what and who they know, but flaunting that pride is a completely different issue. It seems that every time I attend a show people are trying so hard to look involved that they forget that knowledge can shine subtly. Although the pride they have in that knowledge is understandable, I wish they wouldn’t talk about it in such an alienating way.
Ska, punk, garage rock – the number of genres we use to categorize our music is ever changing and lengthening. It can be challenging to keep up, so not knowing all the genres does not make someone a poor music fan. It just makes them a fan that is trying to figure out how to label the music that they enjoy.
For those who are wondering if they are music snobs themselves, here are some examples of what one might do:
Overly Criticize Other’s Music Taste
I don’t think there is anyone on the planet that doesn’t consider themselves to have a better taste in music than someone else, but every narcissistic thought that pops in your brain should be taken with a grain of salt. Yes, your music is great, but that doesn’t mean another person’s music is bad. When you’re overly vocal about how much you hate someone’s taste in music, it doesn’t make yourself seem knowledgeable, it just makes you seem like a jerk. Criticizing someone’s taste too harshly can alienate that person, and possibly make them unwilling to listen to the music you enjoy.
Liking Music That No One Else Does – Just Because They Don’t
How many times can one person complain about hipsters? We’re about to find out, because this one is for those who swing on the pretentious side. Underground music is great. It can be weird, raw, and political. Basically, underground music can be everything an impassioned college student would love to listen to. However, Underground isn’t for everyone. Sometimes when the going gets tough, the tough need a break to process it all. Sometimes, silly mainstream music can be therapeutic. However, some people insist on listening to unknown music just because it isn’t mainstream, and not because they actually like it. These are the people who claim they only listen to college rock but then singalong to J. Cole (who is a great rapper, no diss to J. Cole intended) on their snapchat stories. Ever heard someone say “Oh my music? You probably haven’t heard of the genre” with a weird smirk? Does it follow up with an overly long history lesson on the origins of garage rock told by people who drink coffee that tastes like dirt and is so organic? If so, that’s who I’m talking about. I should probably stray away from the war flashbacks though and focus on the point: listening to certain bands just to seem cool totally disregards the point of music. Listen to music you actually enjoy. I promise it’s worth it!
Showing Absolutely No Excitement Whatsoever
You are allowed to enjoy music and be excited about new releases! You are allowed to dance and experience a show to the fullest! Actually, you’re not just allowed, you’re encouraged! So why do people hang on the fringes of shows, avoid showing interest in anything, and pretend to be unimpressed by music that others are excited for? If you haven’t figured it out already, it’s probably because they’re a music snob. This characteristic angers me the most. Why would you hold back from swaying to Haim’s music, or from screaming along to Jeff Rosenstock? Music is one of the best things about our society, about our world. Why would you want to distance yourself from something so wonderful and powerful? Music can inspire a generation, and it can provide hope for those without it. Feigning uninterest does nothing but alienate yourself from that energy and experience. Don’t miss out on what music can offer.
I hope this short list can shine some light into the lives of those who are acting or feeling kind of snobby. Pride is great, but using that pride to create a false image of yourself and shaming others turns pride into arrogance. Being humble can go a long way, and I promise that those in the music industry value a person who knows when to compliment themselves rather than someone who brags.
Featured image by Alisa Pierce.