I like Katy Perry. There. I said it. Now I can wipe my sweaty palms on my on my high waist skinny jeans, roll up the sleeves of my tucked in plaid flannel, and push my oversized rose rimmed glasses back to the bridge of my nose. I feel like I’m at a hipster AA convention, except it’s Music Taste Anonymous.
You’re probably thinking, “Why does it matter if she likes Katy Perry and is a hipster?” Well, you’d be surprised with the connotations which accompany being a hipster and enjoying flannel shirts and oversized cardigans: only shopping at Goodwill, drinking Pabst and actually liking it, riding a fixie, hating the “man,” being excited when Iron and Wine releases a new record so you can play it on your 1989 vintage record player . . . but the biggest connotation of all: Only listening to music that no one else listens to.
For a while, I was content only listening to music that wasn’t on the radio and my friends didn’t know about. It’s like I wanted to be the only one with a key to a beautiful castle, and I didn’t want anyone to come in unless I gave them permission . . . Sometimes, I would even become frustrated when my friends would listen to “my” music, and I would outright judge people whose Ipods were only compiled of the Top 10 artists. I would always ask myself, “Why couldn’t they have better taste?” It wasn’t long before I realized I was asking the wrong question.
When I think West Texas radio, I think of two words: pop and country. From there, I think of one action: off. As I sit in my driveway, preparing for a road trip to visit my boyfriend, my Ipod dead from forgetting to charge it and my CDs stowed away in some foreign closet, I resort to the radio I so passionately refuse to like. Now, I could choose silence in the confines of my car, or search for a station. Amidst the static, I can find one or two Spanish stations, one oldies station, about five country stations, a couple news shows, and a handful of top pop stations. Hard in my ways against anything popular, I would gladly choose Spanish over country and pop, but, not being able to understand it, I resort to the news. It isn’t long before the drone of political races makes my eyelids flutter . . . so here’s the dilemma I created for myself: fall asleep at the wheel or give in to pop . . . .
“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again? Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin, like a house of cards, one blow from caving in? Do you ever feel already buried deep? Six feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing? Do you know that there’s still a chance for you ‘Cause there’s a spark in you? You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine, just own the night like the 4th of July. Cause baby, you’re a firework, Come on, show ’em what you’re worth, make ’em go, oh, as you shoot across the sky. . . .”
I don’t care what the connotations of being a hipster are, but regardless, these words from Katy’s “Firework,” are beautiful. They explore what it’s like for us to break out of our shell, to do something, and take the dive to make changes . . . and we should, we should do it. Music should fuel us to do such things. Granted, there’s going to be bad music whether you listen to pop, country, or underground bands, but when you find the good stuff—share it, because you might set off the spark in someone else to go explore.
I like Katy Perry. I’m not afraid to say it. She, and many other pop stars, is a good musician; she has control of her words and the various messages she portrays. I think this is the right question, “Why can’t we have broader taste?” I’m willing to bet Katy has a music library full of many different kinds of artists, much like I do, and much like The Appetizer does.
Most music challenges us to broaden our perspective—whether it’s on love, how to have fun, coping from break ups . . . So, here’s my challenge, take two hours from your busy schedule, leave your judgments at the door, and listen to The Appetizer, a local radio show hosted by D. Grant Smith (I’ve put the link to it at the bottom). The show doesn’t limit music to only pop, or only country, or even only underground music like so many stations do—it just cooks up good music, from all genres. Oh, and for the record, Pabst is awful.
Check it out: http://blog.appetizerradio.com/listen-now/