….but we are all fabulous.

Music snobbery and guilty pleasures

I love music. I love singing along in the car or the shower, going to gigs, dancing at weddings or parties, running to music, reminiscing on YouTube etc. So far so good…

So far I haven’t mentioned what I listen to, and as soon as I do, there will be people out there who start to judge. It doesn’t matter what music I ‘confess’ to liking, someone, somewhere will deem it inferior or worthy of mockery. I am ashamed to say that having fallen victim to this as a teenager (I owned only 3 albums deemed worthy at one stage*) I have been guilty in the past of sniggering when someone mentioned music I didn’t like, but in recent years I have become baffled by why this attitude persists. I mean at one level I get that there is something about what music you listen to being as much a part of a teenage code as clothing is, but why on earth does it persist into adulthood?

The upside of this is that having suppressed my own tastes for years in favour of other peoples and subsequently growing to like much of what I listened to, I have an eclectic collection, but the downside is that I still feel a little trepidation when I talk about music to new people, not knowing whether they are going to be a judger or not. Depending on who I am talking to and how I am feeling, I might play up or down any of the following: The Velvet Underground, Bryan Adams, Nickelback, The Cramps, REM, She & Him, Motown, The Dandy Warhols, Karine Polwart, Bon Jovi, The Damned, Adele, Joni Mitchell, Muse, to name a few…


velvet underground

The album cover for the Banana Album by The Velvet Underground and Nico


Wikipedia defines guilty pleasures thus: “A guilty pleasure is something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The “guilt” involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one’s lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes…”

When we’re talking about music or books or knitting, pursuits that are not doing harm to others or indeed even impacting on others at all, why do we feel a need to label things as guilty pleasures or to feel any negative emotion at all? Guilt or embarrassment would surely be better reserved for activities which cause distress to people around us, such as sneering (or worse) at those whose choices are different from our own.



*Blondie, David Bowie and Rocky Horror in case you’re wondering.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: