I like Miley Cyrus’ music. There I’ve said it. In public even. And even though I’m sure to be judged by it, I don’t care. Why? Because I love music for the sake of music.
I’ve always thought it silly that people judge music by the image of the artist. Or their age, for that matter. Like you can only like Miley if you’re a teenager. Why? A good song is a good song. A good singer is a good singer.
Too many people listen to music with a closed mind and a preconceived notion of what they should be listening to. If they like rap, they can’t listen to country. If they like metal, they can’t enjoy a good pop song. If you’re over 20 you can’t enjoy a teen musician. If you’re under 40, you can’t enjoy easy listening.
Who the heck wrote these guidelines, and why do people follow them?
One of my favorite examples of how the majority of people let image and other people’s opinions sway them is best illustrated by the following true story:
In the late 90s, Mercury Records released a single to the radio stations with no photo of the band and a very brief biography that said the band was made up of three people. The song was a catchy little pop ditty and it tested amazingly well.
Within two weeks, it was the #1 most requested song at pop radio around the US. Still, nobody knew anything about this band or even what they looked like, beyond the fact they were a trio. Then somebody spilled the beans. The trio were brothers and not only that, but…gasp!…teenagers. Yup, the trio behind the song, “MMM…Bop” were three teen boys who wrote and played their own instruments.
Well, once people found out the full story about Hanson, suddenly the song wasn’t cool to listen to. They were instantly lumped into the “boy band” category and you were made fun of if you liked the song.
So how was the song itself any different after the reveal? It wasn’t. It was still the same exact song, note for note.
But once people knew the full story, preconceived notions came into play and tainted people’s ability to listen to the song for fear their friends would make fun of them for listening to music written and performed by teenagers.
Now, I’m not saying I like everything I’ve ever heard, but I at least go into the first encounter with open ears and an equally open mind. Then, if I don’t like it, it’s because I truly don’t like it. Not because somebody told me I wouldn’t or I was afraid of what other people might think if I actually did like it.
I’ve been told anyone looking at my CD collection would think I’ve got a multiple personality disorder. I’ve got 70s disco and funk. I’ve got big band jazz and delta blues. I’ve got 80s new wave and hair metal bands galore. I’ve got soundtracks and showtunes. Celtic fusion and boy bands. I’ve got every one of AC/DC’s CDs right next to Christina Aguilera’s complete collection. I’m just as likely to be listening to Duran Duran as I am to Stevie Wonder.
Some days I want to rage like a Volcano Girl; some days I’d rather be a Material Girl. I can be a Redneck Woman and I can be a Fat Bottom Girl. Music speaks to me and as with any conversation I have with a good friend, I like to be open to where it takes me.
So, I like Miley. So what? You don’t like Miley? You’re entitled to your opinion, too. But make sure you don’t like a musician because you’ve actually listened to them…not because you’ve heard they suck.
By the way, this is the Miley song I’m enjoying at the moment. While the video is aimed at the teens, I think it’s sweet and fits the song. It’s called “7 Things”:
So now it’s your turn to spill… what song or artist do you like that people make fun of you for? Say it loud and proud!
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