21 November 2010
Let me be clear from the beginning. We all have our own musical tastes, and for those of us to whom music is important, we tend to define a part of ourselves by those tastes. It's a matter of identity, in a way. Sometimes it's outright snobbery, and that's okay too.
So here's a brief overview of mine. Favourite band ever is, without question, Radiohead. I'm a little annoyed that mainstream media paid virtually no attention to their music after Ok Computer, because they produced some of their most beautiful work after that. Anyhow, some others: Catherine Wheel, Raising the Fawn, Metric, Tegan and Sarah, The Ropes, The Tragically Hip, old U2 (up to and including Achtung Baby - it all took a dive after that), and Aimee Mann in a big way. Aimee Mann is probably the biggest departure from all the others, but the woman is one of the most brilliant songwriters I've ever encountered. There are, of course, others, but that gives you an idea of where my musical appetites hang out.
So imagine my unease when I was forced to confront the uncomfortable realization that I actually like Taylor Swift.
There's something damnably catchy about her music, and she actually does have a particular turn of phrase that I just find irresistible. I wouldn't call it brilliant or groundbreaking or anything like that. It is, after all, still more or less conventional pop, formulaic and standard. Candy, you know. But a truffle is candy. And you would never put a truffle in the same class as a bag of Fuzzy Peaches. The girl actually does have real talent, and for her to be writing material like this at twenty years old (yes, she wrote her third album without any collaborators), is impressive.
Still, I was kind of horrified at first.
I confessed it to a co-worker, who I won't name. This guy is a NOFX/Bloodhound Gang/Bad Religion sort of guy. So naturally, at first, he laughed at me. Then he quieted down a little, looked at me with a sort of pity, rolled his eyes a bit, and pulled his own iPod out of his pocket. "You wanna talk about guilty pleasures..." he started, scrolling the wheel a little, then put the iPod in front of me so I could see the highlighted artist on the list.
It was Aqua.
I can't deny, it made me feel better.