I’ve been working on shoring up some of the gaps in my cultural knowledge, starting with movies and then getting to books. Next up is music: Below you’ll see three critically acclaimed and popular musical artists I know very little about. That there are popular artists I know little about shouldn’t be surprising, I can’t follow everyone. There are tons of perfectly good bands who I just don’t care enough about to follow closely but the three below fall into another category. Unlike the other gaps in my knowledge I haven’t just missed these, I have heard them and chosen to avoid them. I didn’t listen to them mostly because when I first heard of them I liked another band who I perceived as similar and I couldn’t split my loyalties. This personal policy may sound silly but when I was very young I believed in divisiveness when it came to music; it was Beatles or Stones, party or go home etc…so for many years when it came to music I make a choice and stuck with it.
Did I make the right choice? I think so but you can judge for yourself. Here are the acts I avoided and the ones I preferred.
U2– I know that U2 are no longer critically acclaimed but there was a time when they were practically beloved but by that time I had cast my lot with REM and I no amount of radio airplay was going to change that. Actually, if you want to get technical I originally chose The Alarm over U2 but then ditched them after I discovered REM and that was that. the lesson here is that I really liked as a kid REM and I could never stand U2.
Black Flag – I’ll take SST label mates Husker Du and The Minutemen over Black Flag every time. The ubiquitousness of Henry Rollins only serves to reinforce this belief.
Radiohead – Honestly I like anything better than Radiohead. I’ve just never understod the appeal of these guys so name any band who released records between 1995 and today and I’ll take them. Whenever I have heard them I think of Grouch Marx in Animal Crackers; as Chico struggles with a tune on the piano Groucho leans over and says “If you get near a song, play it”.
Over the years I’ve considered breaking my personal ban on these artists but so far I haven’t done it. I suppose there is time but I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.