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ubersiren's avatar

Why are we such music snobs?

Asked by ubersiren (15152points) May 21st, 2009

Sometimes it’s generational- someone will say, “Oh they couldn’t POSSIBLY be effected by The Beatles (or Nirvana or Benny Goodman etc) if they weren’t even born when the music was made!”

Sometimes it’s genre- “Country music, isn’t music!” or “You can’t have a real appreciation for real music unless you know your classical.”

Sometimes it’s pride for the obscurity, “Well, I used to like that band until everyone else started to.” Or “OMG I can’t believe James Hetfield cut his hair- what is he trying to be a Backstreet Boy?”

Why do we act this way? Personally I’m guilty of this. I’m only 28 and I’m already like, “The Jonas Brothers!!! That’s not real music! When I was your age I was in my room, inches away from angsty thoughts of suicide with Everybody Hurts playing because my Dad caught me ripping holes in the elbows of his flannel shirts and trying to sneak them out of the house in my backpack! ”

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28 Answers

Ivan's avatar

Music is emotional. Emotions make us stupid.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t know, we do it to belong to certain groups we think are cooler than others…

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

There’s an ass for every seat.

Loried2008's avatar

Idk I like to listen to all kinds of music. In the end people like what they like.

CMaz's avatar

I don’t think we are “Music Snobs”. At least I like to think I am not. By it’s nature music evokes emotion within us, sometimes calming the savage breast. If it creates a sense of euphoria you love it. If it just makes you angry, you hate it. In the day you were inspired buy the music alone. These days, the image that comes along with the songs, (the way they dress, the show that is put on) adds to the personal conflict that music seems to put in all of us.

ubersiren's avatar

Hmmm… I feel like my question was perhaps not clear enough. Seems that @Ivan has maybe the best grip so far.

hug_of_war's avatar

Because people always think that their opinion of something is the best option.

PapaLeo's avatar

@ubersiren Great question! Music is an artifact of culture. Music defines us as belonging to one cultural group or another, just as clothing, food choices, etc. (Of course I’m talking about the developed world where there IS a choice to begin with)

By embracing one type of music, or fragmentation thereof, and discarding another, we make known our allegiances and, therefore, our (sub)culture.

essieness's avatar

First of all, great question. I think I agree with the emotion theory, but I think it’s a little different. I love music in such a way that I become emotionally attached to it, almost like a friend or family member. I feel loyal to that music. It might just be a genre, or a song, and sometimes a particular artist is so good that I become loyal to that artist. The same with the stuff I don’t like. It’s usually that the music just doesn’t affect me on some emotional level. I’m one of those people that feels that way about rap, country, and most popular music. It’s just too shallow for me not only lyrically but musically. But, that’s just me. I’d like to think that everyone listens to the music that makes them feel something, but I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of bandwagon jumping going on why else would Lil’ Wayne be so popular? Ok, ok… music snobbery over…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@PapaLeo exactly what I was trying to say but you said it so much better

BookReader's avatar

…in the deep south and midwest, places i grew up in, the music choices were night and day…in the midwest, it was not uncommon for guys to dance to the chicago bop together…in the deep south, guys dancing together was not appropriate…

…on many levels i am able to disconnect and connect making it easy for me to enjoy not only different forms, styles, etc of music, but i can, also, enjoy an incredible variety of people…

…music snob? sure, sometimes, when i am with fellow music snobs… Great Question…

essieness's avatar

@PapaLeo I think you have a good point there, but I would venture to say your theory applies mostly to people who are trying to fit into a certain group on some level, which is a little sad to me.

ubersiren's avatar

@essieness : GA! It is like a friend or family member- it’s part of you and your life!

@PapaLeo: I like that answer… I feel like it elaborated on what some above folks were trying to say.

BUT-

Why are we so possessive of it? Why do we not like it when our fave underground hip hop artist or indie band is brought into the “mainstream” or if they start making lots of money and pandering to a record company… if the music is the same, what’s the harm in your discovery being shared? Maybe it’s because, similar to what @essieness said, music is also like a boyfriend/girlfriend/soul mate. We don’t like to share our mates, and we don’t like to share our musically inspired experiences. Maybe people who grew up with The Beatles feel like the fab 4 was their soul mate first, and you’re just sloppy seconds.

PapaLeo's avatar

@essieness This is unfortunately true. And it applies not only to music, but also to clothing choice, etc. The “wanna-be’s” and “wanna-belongs”.

But at a certain age you get over that and you make the choices for yourself, based on the value of the particular choice for you, and only you. Why do I still listen to jazz, classical and rock? Certainly not to impress anyone (I’m 50+—who should I impress anymore with my music choices?!!), but far more for the inherent value.

essieness's avatar

@PapaLeo Exactly my point. I didn’t know your age, so I didn’t want to offend :) I’m 28, by the way. The teenagers especially tend to latch on to a particular genre or style, as you mentioned, as a way to “fit in” and I have to wonder if they actually like some of the crap they’re listening to sometimes! I’m like you, I listen to many types of music regardless of what people around me think about it.

@ubersiren I sort of feel that way about The Beatles and Led Zeppelin ;)

adreamofautumn's avatar

I know that i’m guilty of this, particularly of the pride in obscurity part. I don’t know what made me that way, I think that in certain social scenes, there is a certain pride in that obscurity, it’s an art-form in a way, to find bands before the rest of the world, to be able to say “I loved so-and-so back when they were indie, now they’re opening for _____ what a bunch of BS!”. Amongst a lot of people I know, your “legitimacy” in a social scene is based off of how obscure and/or how deep your knowledge of music is.

CMaz's avatar

I will use the example of rap music. Sometimes it has a good rhythm, I feel the desire to want to like (some of) it. But (for me) it come off so self centered, ignorant and childish it irks me. So I avoid it like the plague.

essieness's avatar

@adreamofautumn I’m a guilty of that sometimes. For instance, I saw Coldplay in a really small venue right after their first album came out, and now they’re as big as U2! I enjoy finding a new obscure band and sharing it with my friends. I wonder why it is that we get a kick out of finding a new great band before anyone else? Is it that whole “I know something you don’t know” thing?

aprilsimnel's avatar

I went from Duran Duran and Hall & Oates at 11 to R.E.M. and The Smiths the next year. I think other 80s kids know how that went. And that while the other kids on my block listened to R&B and hip-hop exclusively.

There’s music in every genre I like very much, except for CCM, though I lean mostly towards indie rock. I’ve accepted now that I will probably be about the oldest person at every rock show I go to from now on, unless the Davids (Bowie or Bryne) show up. And I do see them at a lot of the shows I attend.

susanc's avatar

This is such a cool discussion.

I subscribe to the generational-identity school of thought. As we grow up, we must individuate from our parents – especially complex as we remain dependent on them for so long – the human animal achieves adulthood extreeeeeeemely slowly, by design. To identify with our age group instead of our parents gives us a step out of babyhood and toward actual self-sufficiency.

With age (trust me on this), you become more open to whatever, because nobody cares what you like any more.

Sometimes when I’m surfing the radio stations in the car, something completely grabs me, I find out it’s some twerp musician 16 years old, and I smile a big, big smile.

AstroChuck's avatar

Come and take a look at the ecclectic variety on my iPod. No one could ever accuse me of being a music snob.

ubersiren's avatar

@AstroChuck : That was funny if I read that right.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

It’s mostly vanity and ego.
People try so hard to be different and unique when they really aren’t so different than anyone else.

People also fall into the trap of tying up their identity with the music they listen to.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Well, come on – country music really isn’t music.

adreamofautumn's avatar

@essieness I thought we were friends…until you said Coldplay was as big as U2, i’m not sure we can even pretend to get along now. ;).

AstroChuck's avatar

@adreamofautumn- Perhaps what @essieness really meant was that they are both equally overrated bands.

essieness's avatar

@adreamofautumn Oh noooooo!! I really do think Coldplay is as big as U2, and better. But then again, I was never a big U2 fan. I thought they were way overrated. Coldplay… well, I just love them. If this means we can’t be friends anymore, well, so be it :(

@AstroChuck LOL

adreamofautumn's avatar

@essieness I suppose we can still be friends, if I stopped being friends with everyone I know that declared their love for Coldplay i’d be down a whole bunch of friends. ;).

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