Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Guilty little secrets

If someone asks you what music you like, what are the first bands you would mention from your collection?
Chances are you'd pick a couple of safe bets that you're confident few people would deride you for liking, before throwing in a few lesser known but widely accepted artists to prove you're not completely musically blinkered.
You might even be brave enough to push through to some bands that few have heard of, but you're determined to act as their ambassador - spreading the word so perhaps others might find the same enjoyment from them that you do.
It's easy to respond to the music preference question by kicking off with Led Zeppelin or The Beatles, before moving on through the likes of Massive Attack or Diana Krall, then dangling the carrot of someone rarely heard of like Mesh or Xandria.
But what of the other music buried within your collection - the things that you normally omit from such a conversation?

Personally I'm quite happy to trot out a list of artists I like such as Pink Floyd, Genesis, Coldplay, Marillion (the Fish years),  Depeche Mode, Roxy Music etc, and once I've judged the reactions I might move into more diverse territory like Within Temptation, Oh Land, or Lunascape.
However there are always those bands that never get wheeled out during such conversations, and I wonder why that is.
For example, I also enjoy listening to Pet Shop Boys, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Madonna, Lady Gaga, and even ABBA, but for some reason I assume that to admit to this during one of those taste-probing conversations would be social death.
It's probably a fear of being judged, but why would I be worried whether another person would laugh at me for my taste in music?
It doesn't stop there though, because moving from the CD racks and turning attention to all the music stashed away neatly on the computer reveals a whole new world of musical sins.
A quick browse of the 'Misc' folder shows such delights as 'U Got 2 Know' by Cappella, 'Rush Hour' by Jane Wiedlin, 'Only You' by the Flying Pickets, 'Push It' by Salt n Pepper, and Zager & Evans' 'In The Year 2525'.
These and many more similar examples lurk in the depths of that folder like dirty little secrets - a Pandoras Box of musical shame.
Yet I love spending time investigating this treasure trove of inane nonsense, picking out and enjoying snippets of stuff that you'd never admit to liking during some hairy-chested debate over a few pints down the pub.
Metallica? Fine. Betty Boo? Better grab your coat and run 'cos there's a lynch mob coming!

Like most things there's an element of snobbery surrounding music. There's always some toff whose idea of music doesn't stretch beyond Mahler, and anything that doesn't get played on Radio 3 is symbolic of all that's been wrong with the world since the end of the nineteenth century.
Others might bang on about the emotion conveyed in a singer's voice or the poetic excellence of the lyrics, and that's all very well but it doesn't guarantee that it's a piece of music you actually enjoy.
Personally I like nothing more than sitting back with my eyes closed, immersing myself in Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon' or Enigma's 'MCMXC-AD' from start to finish with no interruptions.
But while there's a big place in my heart for a good prog rock album full of many experimental sounds and a hefty dose of pretentious posing, I also believe there are times when a session of light-hearted pop nonsense is exactly what you need.

As far as music goes there's pretty well a time and place for everything (except for Skrillex which is anti-music) and if you like it then listen to it and enjoy it.
Unfortunately there are some things - even in music - you just don't admit to in public.
Like I just did.
Damn.

Careful what you admit to!