Everyone has a secret guilty pleasure when it comes to art or music. Popular opinion may decree certain artists or artworks (including music) as “schlock”, and that will drive those who enjoy those things underground, somewhat.
In some cases, art scorned as schlock by “purists” may enjoy a widespread acceptance by others and that scorn may actually strengthen their resolve. I was at a party one time and the subject of jazz came up, and a woman remarked “I love jazz! I have all of Kenny G’s albums!”. I am not a big jazz fan myself, but I know I can’t stand Kenny G’s music – too soft, too bland. I know a lot of people who are longtime jazz fans, and Kenny G doesn’t fare to well with them, either. Yet, Kenny G sells millions of records to somebody.
It wasn’t too long ago when someone said a very similar thing: “Bluegrass! Oh, yeah, I love bluegrass – I have all the Mumford and Sons albums!”. It was my turn to try and avoid a spit take. Mumford and Sons – bluegrass? Please!
But, on some level, I imagine Kenny G has led some of his fans to the world of jazz and their lives were enriched by it. Similarly, I bet Mumford and Sons fans find their way to bluegrass festivals and come to appreciate the rich offerings there.
My daughter has a weakness for 80’s metal music, which I find unlistenable at worst, and derivative at best. But that doesn’t make her wrong, or me right. Nobody should have to apologize or be ashamed of any art they appreciate. If you want to decorate your home with paintings of big-eyed kids, hey, all the power to you. If you want to blast Barry Manilow from the stereo – knock yourself out. If you want to groove to Kenny G or Mumford and Sons, be my guest!
I’m going to take this a step further: If you like to play and sing “Rocky Top”, “Wagon Wheel” or “Fox on the Run”, then good for you.
What are my guilty pleasures? 70’s hits by one-hit wonders. “Brandy” by Looking Glass is a good example. “Oh Babe What Would You Say”, by Hurricane Smith. Oh, and TV show theme songs..
If you ever feel like picking on someone for their taste in art or music, please think twice. Some people never allow art or music to affect them, and that’s a terrible shame. So, anyone who lets sonic or visual arts into their souls are much better off, and the “quality” of said art is completely personal and subjective. The heart wants what it wants.