Take pride in your musical tastes, ignore music snobs

Francie Johnson

The other day, as I was driving home, something pretty rare happened: A catchy acoustic song, one worthy of looking up later, played on the Top 40 radio station I was listening to. Throughout this mystery song’s duration, I wondered what it was called and who sang it. However, after the song ended and the DJ announced the title and artist, my jaw immediately hit the floor.

Long story short, the song was “Story of My Life” by none other than One Direction, the British teeny-bopper boy band I have always prided myself in hating.

Even as I type this, I can’t help but cringe. I’m still adjusting to the fact that I actually like a One Direction song. Of course, I immediately swore never to tell a soul about my new-found discovery. How could I ever own up to the shame of sharing the music taste of a 12-year-old girl? (Naturally, this promise only lasted about two minutes before I had to call my friend and tell her the news – but I digress.)

But then I realized, what’s the point? Who cares what kind of music I listen to, and even if anyone does, why should I care what anyone thinks anyway? Why do I feel this uncontrollable urge to apologize for what I like?

We’ve all got our guilty pleasure songs – those songs we’ll blast at full volume when no one’s around but adamantly deny it after the fact, the songs we immediately skip when our iPod is on shuffle if anyone else is in the room, the songs we’re embarrassed to love because they tarnish our otherwise impeccable music taste.

It took an undeniably attractive, albeit not particularly talented aside from that one song, British boy band to make me realize this: There is never any reason to apologize for who you are or what you love, and music is no exception.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a music journalist and hope to work in the music industry someday, but I’ve always felt as though people are constantly judging the merit of my music taste. In the past, it seemed as if my credibility depended on liking the perfect combination of classic rock and super-underground indie bands that only six other people had heard of. Up until this year, I wouldn’t be caught dead listening to a country or Top 40 radio station.

I thought I had good music taste, but in reality, I was just a snob.

Here’s a little secret that probably isn’t even that much of a secret: Anyone who judges you for your music taste (or taste in literature or fashion sense or any personal preference you may have) is a jerk. You have no obligation to earn their respect.

This is as cliche as it gets, but life is too short not to do what you love. So stop apologizing for your music taste. Blast your Justin Bieber, your One Direction and even your Nickelback if that’s what makes you happy, or don’t if you genuinely don’t like that type of music. Either way, in the words of Kevin Gnapoor, don’t let the haters stop you from doin’ yo thang.

That being said, I definitely won’t be rushing out to buy any One Direction T-shirts or posters any time soon. However, I’ll gladly turn up the volume and sing along whenever “Story of My Life” plays on the radio.

Just admit it: It’s a pretty good song.