Some people tell you what to listen to,
Spend the whole time saying this and that is cool,
You got to follow your own mind and ears,
And find a sound that stays inside your head for years.
So sings Raf Rundell, lead singer of British duo The 2 Bears (his partner in crime is Joe Goddard of Hot Chip), on “Be Strong,” from their debut album of the same name.
Posting this song is tricky, because what is a music blog doing if not telling you what to listen to? And isn’t it implied that all of the songs we post are cool? Why is it okay for a blog, but not for that friend who always commandeers the auxiliary cable?
Music snobs hate that person. If the offending individual begins pumping top-40, the snob can smirk and give his or herself a self-satisfactory pat on the back. But if instead Boards of Canada or Shuggie Otis flows forth, the snob will experience a crisis of identity and jealousy: “If I was as big of a douche I could have taken over the music and played something even more obscure and cool. But I’m not a douche, so I’ll let it go and give myself a pat on the back anyway.”
Casual music listeners also hate that person. They don’t want a music education. They don’t want to confront challenging art, and often don’t know how. Lightning Bolt? Is that, like, Katy Perry‘s new single?
Yet music snobs and causal listeners alike devour music blogs. People, and especially “millennials” desire curation as a way to cut through the noise and find value without spending time. Its much easier for people to shed their snobbery or “basic” tastes in private, where cool is no longer dictated by their crowd and rather by their personal preferences. Even the hippest hipster has guilty pleasure bands, and even the most radio-brained have some Miles Davis in their libraries.
By posting “Be Strong,” I, and therefore Et Musique Pour Tous as a structure, am saying “listen to this song, it is good, it is cool.” My/our opinion. We hope you love it, and that it “stays inside your head for years.” But if you hate it, that’s healthy too. “Following your own mind and ears” is hard to do in the era of curated cool, but I believe in you! By discovering your personal aesthetic preferences without worry about other peoples’, you build self confidence and take a step away from ever needing a self-aggrandizing pat on the back. Freedom from groupthink is a laudable goal, but so too is the reduction of snobbery.