Why We Hate Certain Music

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I ran across a post on Freshly Pressed that referenced some of the most “hated” musical artists of recent decades. Not surprisingly, bands such as Nickelback and Goo Goo Dolls were among them. The author of said post explained this as a consequence of “living in the age of irony”, an assertion I’m hard pressed to decipher. Frankly, the Goo Goo Dolls leaned heavily on irony in their lyrics. I mean, read the words to “Black Balloon” and tell me that they’re straight forward.

Nevertheless, I got to thinking on why some artists who make perfectly good music end up hated by a wide swath of the listening public. I don’t think the resonance of the songs or the culture relevance (or lack thereof) explains the adverse reaction. Rather, the ubiquity of the music in and of itself determines it. The most satisfying music is challenging and not immediately accessible. Our satisfaction with it becomes earned through repeated listens. Most popular music, however, is highly ingratiating and immediately gratifying.

Listening to pop music is like eating candy. If you really love jellybeans, you can eat them all day long and not get sick of them. If not, you get your fill and then want to stop eating them for at least awhile. The problem then comes in the difficulty in getting away from some artists and/or songs because they stream frequently over the airwaves and become near-impossible to avoid. Thus, a strong backlash ensues.

In conclusion, let me just leave you with a simple aphorism: “Moderation in all things . . .”
 

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