So, Bon Iver won "Best New Artist" at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards this Sunday. Did we all get the memo with the assortment of canned responses to give our friends, family, and colleagues in case the subject comes up? I'm going to go with, "Ugh. They aren't even good anymore. I used to like their first album, but the second one was just awful. Can't believe I was a fan."
In reality, I did like their first album more than their second, but that's really just because it holds a special place in my heart. It came along and surprised me with its somber beauty, and I'd venture to say it's one of the best break-up albums ever released. But honestly, I don't have to justify my opinions to you. They're my opinions, and no one else's thoughts or actions -- whether they be yours, a professional music critics, or the judges for the Grammy Awards -- can change them. Well, unless you managed to convince me that Justin Vernon's lyrics were actually about an awesome sandwich he'd made that he never got to enjoy because he dropped it on the floor. Then I probably wouldn't be able to take the album seriously any more.
But aside from that unlikely scenario, I'm probably going to keep feeling the same way I do about Bon Iver. That's the wonderful thing about music. Just because I say something is good, doesn't mean you have to think it's good as well. My opinion does not have to have any effect on your opinion, unless you choose to let it. And a band "going mainstream", "selling out", or "hitting it big" doesn't really factor into this at all.
|The only real sellouts.|
The epiphany that something could still be good even if stupid people also liked it came to me some time in high school. Since then I've made an attempt to give everything a fair shake, no matter how many borderline intolerable people rave about it. Sometimes I slip up and act snobby about something I don't even really know that much about just because it's popular, my wife can attest to that, but I'm always trying my best to avoid pre-judging something I don't know a lot about.
Growing up, The Offspring first got me into music. I didn't really listen to anything before I got into them, and through my obsession with everything Offspring related I found a ton of other great bands from their cover songs and record label. As my tastes slowly crawled into more underground artists, I started to get a little embarrassed by the band that started it all for me. They became a guilty pleasure for a while, until I began sheepishly including them in my "like list" to people whose opinions on music I greatly respected. Some made jokes, but when I defended my position they always said something to the effect of, "That's cool that you like them. Not my thing, but to each his own." Soon I had the confidence to enjoy their music proudly, even if they had some cheesy, over-played radio hits.
|Even when Dexter Holland looked like this.|
Unless you're a fan of Nickelback. Then you should just kill yourself.