Mark Richardson: Music Listening and Alleged Conflict
Something I saw being said last week in many of the interesting discussions about the Pitchfork list is people saying they loved to “argue about music.” There’s this apocryphal scene where two people sit and have a heated exchange about whether early Beatles is better than late Beatles or some shit. And I dunno, I’ve never had a single in-person argument like that in my life, with anybody. It sounds miserable. I’m willing to concede that it does happen, but I’m guessing it happens far less than people say, since I’ve been in record stores and in the presence of music obsessives for many, many hours in my long life, and I’ve barely ever seen this sort of thing outside of High Fidelity. Conversations about music is another story.
I don’t know if I can emphasize this enough: I HATE arguing with people about music. I’m not sure if I even like TALKING about music. Somebody (maybe Klosterman?) once said that if he’s at a party he’d much rather end up in a conversation about sports than music. That’s definitely true for me. The great thing about music is that it’s so intensely personal and even spiritual for people; it’s hard to seperate feelings about songs that you love from the feelings you have about yourself and your own life sometimes. Not to say that doesn’t happen with sports, but at least with sports you have things like statistics and championship titles to act as hard “evidence” as to which is “better” in an argument. Also, there’s no expectation that two fans of opposing teams will ever persuade each other. With music, it seems like we are always trying to talk each other out of liking something.