JUSSAYIN’- Music Mishaps

A.C. “Mac” MacKenzie, Opinions Editor

Since man first could hum a tune or beat a drum, music has been one of the fundamental ways through which human communities have come together. In the modern age where music has become more accessible than ever before, it also has needlessly become a source of division and tempers.

Although people are bound to have different likes and dislikes across the musical spectrum, people become so pugnacious toward music that they dislike and are overly defensive of that which they enjoy. I find music to be the single most relative medium of the arts, and although people are bound to have disagreements regarding film, television and literature, none of these are as impassioned and vehement as the trivial arguments people start about music.

I feel as if some of this must come from the fact that music is taken in by one lone sense and given to the brain to interpret, whereas movies and TV are both seen and heard, and books — while inaudible — are tangible to our eyes and to our touch.

My belief, plain and simple, is that music is something far too relative to be accurately discussed amongst friends without conflict. I do not wish to sound as if I feel the same way about scholarly or professional exploration of music. There are obviously talented scholars and professional musicians who understand the craft and are able to conduct an informed discussion on the matter. I do not wish to diminish their commendable talent and clarity. I’m speaking of discussion of music amongst friends in a casual environment, nine times out of 10, someone is bound to get upset. People are too touchy about their music, myself included.

You would think with this belief I’ve cultivated over the past few years that I would shy away from such discussions, but I am consistently lured into these traps. Sometimes it’s easy: “Beatles or Stones?” That’s a pretty harmless discussion until someone insists on bringing Led Zeppelin into the equation and accuses the asker of having “poor taste.” That is a scenario pertaining exclusively to the arguably largest rock n’ roll acts of all time. Of course some people insist that the three fall into different genres with the Beatles being a pop act, the Rolling Stones being “true rock” and Zep being heavy metal. Although I don’t disagree with these accusations, I don’t see why the three need to be mutually exclusive, nor why anyone needs to be upset about it. I’m sure in writing that I raised many red flags by calling Led Zeppelin “heavy metal,” again, we’re dealing with three of the most popular acts of all time and there’s already dissent. If I were to add in only a few other best sellers — let’s say U2, Michael Jackson and Pink Floyd — I could have a night-long argument on my hands.

Generally I avoid chatting about music with someone until I know their preferences. That way I don’t make a joke about their favorite band or I don’t open myself up to hearing about how mine is a sellout (FYI, my favorite band is Green Day, and in saying that, I’ve discredited myself for some uptight readers).

There are a few people around campus and a few more from high school who I love going to in a search for new music (and of course, dear old Dad) and they’ve introduced me to Arcade Fire, Genesis, Kanye West, Wolfmother and — most recently — Pulp. I in turn have introduced some of my friends to Childish Gambino, Zwan, Pinhead Gunpowder and A Loss for Words. This is the type of support that musicians wish to foster between people, no one is making music just to upset people. Even internet embarrassment Rebecca Black produced “Friday” as a hysterically misguided attempt at a party anthem, not to incite yet another Internet flame war.

I don’t care if you like A Tribe Called Quest, Pantera, Ke$ha or the Insane Clown Posse. I’m not judging you, and I’ll keep my mouth shut. I hope you extend that same courtesy to me. I draw the line on Nickelback though — those guys genuinely suck … Jussayin’.