Hello friend, how are you? Notice how I do not write ‘yo’ or ‘sup’ or even the blasphemous ‘sappening?’ This is because I am not one to bow to popular opinion. Indeed I am only swayed by intense trauma and light breezes. We had both agreed at our first meeting at the AAthesists Society (of and for people who don’t believe in atheism) that popular things are the scourge of the earth. That if something is enjoyed by the masses, then it is an art form low enough to be understood by just anyone and therefore lacking in any serious merit. But now I must confess something disturbing to you. You might want to sit down for this.
I listen to popular music. Cry not, dear friend for this hurts me more than it hurts you. I know all real music is borne of pain and suffering and is never met with commercial success. That popular songs are mass manufactured by corporations as part of their Capitalist Bourgeoise Schemes, but I fear that I am now too far gone to recover. Logic and reason fail to help me stop enjoying these songs. My foot taps uncontrollably, my head bobs terribly on its own accord as I weep into my coffee mug. I have become the very thing that both of us despised…a fan.
I remember when we first met in college. The sound of the fifty three minutes avant steel drum and viola instrumental I was listening to drew you to my room. You were surprised I knew of the band Please Give Us Money We Are Starving, but of course I did! I had been listening to their music since their very first album We Sold Our House To Produce This Album Please Help. Obviously I had not told anyone about their music, because that would make it popular and thus unartistic. I kept the knowledge of PGUMWAS all to myself, and apparently so did the rest of their fans as evidenced by their last album Fuck All Of You Hipsters. An instant classic!
Over our years in college we shared our taste in many things, the common thread being that we were part of its only fans. For it was too simple just to enjoy the music that everyone was listening to. To truly find art worth appreciating, one had to dig for days through Myspace pages to find experimental bands from countries that don’t exist anymore. That was music.
I remember when we first decided to start our own band, Difficult Listening, and all our performances where we wouldn’t allow audiences to attend. Oh what times we’ve had! But I am not that person any longer. I listen to popular music. It started innocently, like any addiction does. They played this music in the gym that I go to in order to work out only my legs. Before long I began to catch myself humming their tunes. I told myself that this was because the music had entered my subconscious. I didn’t really enjoy it! This was an ear worm! A nefarious entrant into my brain!
But I was lying to myself. The sheer amount of denial is horrifying in retrospect. I began to download pop music. I used to drive far out of town and park my car in a field and listen to Katy Perry songs. I tried not to think about what I was doing. I would delete everything off of my phone when it was done. A gesture of guilt and shame. To cover up the evidence and dismember the body. But it was already too late. It was almost as if it wasn’t me, it was someone else doing all these things. And before I knew it this secret blew out into an addiction.
I had songs, albums, playlists! I played them in my car without even using headphones. Mouthing out loud the lyrics and then singing them. You know it’s so great when songs have lyrics and no subtext? There was no deeper meaning! They didn’t claim to be a product of pain and suffering. These were rich people making enjoyable music in exchange for fame and money and after half a life of listening to freestyle harpsichord and trumpet jams, this was a welcome change.
So I wanted to write you this letter to tell you before you heard from anyone else. Your friendship is dear to me and I will completely understand if you never want to speak to me again. If you do, however, if your open mind is also open to popular things and not things that you already believe, I have enclosed a CD for you to listen to. I found this compact disc at an antique store and on it have ‘burned’ many tracks that you may enjoy. Please do me a favour and at least listen to them, give them a chance. I really hope you have a CD player.