Don’t Stop Beliebing!

The other day during a discussion of nonfiction-related things, someone mentioned that they don’t get the animosity some people seem to have about writers’ success, which animosity seems particularly worse when an “undeserving” author gets accolades.  She said she just couldn’t understand how people could get so worked up about a book they didn’t like being a bestseller (or winning a prize, or being lauded, or any kind of “fame”).  Like it, don’t like it, whatever, but don’t hate because someone else likes it.  It sort of goes along with the idea of genre fiction, like sci-fi or “chick lit,” as less than (which is bullcrap).

 I agreed with this person, who will remain nameless in case I’ve misconstrued something she said.  I would also extend this to music.  I’m not hip.  When folks post Facebook statuses about music that’s killer or sucky, or whatever, I almost never have any idea who the person/group is, or any desire to figure it out.  If it’s not playing on the radio when I drive my kids to and from school, I probably don’t know it, at least when it comes to current music.  A lot of folks seem bent to be down on whatever is popular.  Owl City makes their ears bleed.  They want to smash Justin Bieber’s face.  I don’t get it.  Here’s what I listen to:

ICP, or Insane Clown Posse, or Inner City PosseICP and I go back to my first marriage.  My ex enjoyed ICP very much, and I tried not to like it, but the juggalos got to me, yo!  Their lyrics are often misogynistic and gratuitously violent, offensive and disgusting, but sometimes they get it just right:

What you consider DRAMA, ain’t all that
It’s just that you’re whack
With Intergalactic satellite data compress
YES but we can’t feed the homeless
And then OJ’s big story unfolded
Everybody watched that while Oklahoma exploded
900 good reasons why this world really don’t care
That’s what it costs for a wheel chair!!


And either way, they do a lot of cool things with beats and stuff.  Their songs are catchy.  Plus, they’ve softened a bit, as evidenced by these lyrics from a newer song, “Miracles”:


But I've seen miracles in every way
And I see miracles everyday
Oceans spanning beyond my sight
And a million stars way above em at night
We don't have to be high to look in the sky
And know that's a miracle opened wide


And later, in the same song:  “Fucking magnets, how do they work?”


Justin Bieber.  Yep.  I’m a Belieber.  Many times my family and I have pulled up to a stop sign bumping “Baby” or “Somebody to Love.”   Say what you want, this kid can belt it.  Plus, he’s sweet, and funny on SNL, which is a big deal for me.  

Big Snoop Dogg / Eminem.  Both of these guys are on my list (you know, THAT list).  And, Snoop’s “Beautiful” is me and my boyfriend’s song.  Not because we danced to it.  That’s lame.  It’s our song because I pointed to it once and said “Hey, this is going to be our song.”  And I think Eminem is both hot and brilliant.  I know, you’re thinking it’s weird that I’d like Eminem AND Insane Clown Posse, on account of their decades-old beef.  I try to remain impartial about that.  I enjoy each artist’s songs poking fun at the other.  I don’t play favorites. 

 I also love classic country—Willie Nelson is also on my list.  I think Kidz Bop is just about the best thing ever.  My kids listen to the radio a lot, and we try to censor, but it’s nice that with Kidz Bop they can still listen to the good, catchy tunes without all the innuendo and inappropriateness (Milk, milk, lemonade, round the back’s where chocolate’s made?  Really, Katy Perry?  That’s all you could come up with? ). 

 So anyway, I say not everything we enjoy has to be deep and provocative.  And I like it like that.


  • It’s like no guilty pleasures – music style! Personal preference is one thing. I for one run screaming toward my radio when Katy Perry comes on (figuratively, of course). And I’m fine telling people that. Where I won’t go is to the point where I hate on people who like her. Debate them about certain aspects of her music, yes. Tell them they clearly have no artistic taste, no.

    But of course this is coming from someone who has had her feelings injured more than once after being told she has no taste in music, so perhaps I’m a tad self-serving here.

    • tanya.debuff says:

      I’m a little tentative to admit it, but I don’t care for the music of Ani Difranco. I’ve only listened to a sampling a friend very kindly made me, but it just didn’t grip me like I expected from hearing how much everyone I know likes her. I feel like people might judge me a tiny bit for that one, so I save my own hurt feelings by not saying it. But I’ve gone and done it anyway. Meh. :)

  • Mel says:

    My husband is somewhat obsessed with that “Miracles” song. Every once in a while, we’ll be assembling dinner in the kitchen and he’ll ask, apropos of nothing, “Fucking magnets, how do they work?”

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