Not gonna lie to y’all, I’ve been dreading writing this post and exposing this stupid elitist attitude I had in high school. But in the spirit of April Fool’s Day, I’m gonna talk about how much of a fool I was when I was a musical “pick me” girl.
So when I was a freshman in high school, I got REALLY into oldies music and classic rock. Like, I was known as the local Beatles fangirl, decorating my binder a scrapbook of pictures I had printed out of John, Paul, George, and Ringo in their heyday. I would spend my non-school hours researching everything I could about the Fab Four, from photographers’ coffee table books to forgotten demos floating around the internet. I also exclusively listened to K-Earth 101 and 100.3 The Sound (RIP), LA’s respective oldies and classic rock stations at this time.
As pure as my love for the Beatles and music from the 60s to the 80s started, I quickly found myself in elitist waters. All of a sudden I developed the attitude that I was so cool because “not many people my age listened to that music”. Yeah…I was literally the girl who was like “ugh, I was born in the wrong decade!!” Please, feel free to roll your eyes.
I had found a lot of joy in getting to know deep cuts from all these popular classic rock bands and lesser known artists from that era but it turned sour when I started to put it on a pedestal and make it my leading personality trait. Don’t get me wrong, it was a cool thing that I was so curious and into these comparatively “older” artists and their music, but there were definitely some hidden motives behind why I let it get so bad.
For one, I fully believed in the idea of good and bad music. I used to think that good music was classified as songs that were recorded the analog way with “real instruments” and “innovative technologies for the time”. For example, I remember thinking that the Monkees were so cool and underrated because after they were a TV show band, they ventured out to some pretty innovative sounds. But I didn’t keep up that same enthusiasm for EDM. I thought it was annoying and overrated simply because of the instruments and song structures they used. I looked down on dance and electronic music at the time because “tHeY dIdN’t pLaY tHeIr oWn iNsTruMeNtS LiVe.” Please join me as I roll my eyes.
Here’s why that was wrong: music is not inherently good or bad. But, there is such thing as preference. It may be that I prefer pop and rock songs because something about their song structures feels familiar to me. But that doesn’t mean that just because I didn’t prefer dance music then that the whole genre is bad. I’ve definitely grown out of that and now find 2012-2016 EDM as a nostalgic sound. Bonk #1 for high school Kelly.
Secondly, and perhaps more nefariously, there was part of me that was aware that I could use my love of classic rock music to get in good graces with older white men. It was my way of setting myself up for the future to be able to hold my own in the music industry among the powerful players, which I knew were white men. The fact that I was so perceptive of that at a young age is low key crazy but I mean, I wasn’t wrong. I’ve connected with many of these folks just because I can talk about Steely Dan and Led Zeppelin’s music.
Here’s why that was wrong: just because I liked that kind of music didn’t mean that I was a shoe-in to get on people’s good sides. Now, sometimes some nice older man would come up to me like “Wow! I’m so glad to hear young people like my kind of music!” and that would feed my ego. But why did that matter so much me? Well, let’s welcome to the stage the almost dead people-pleaser in me! In high school, I wanted everyone to like me and I was willing to take any shape people wanted me to take. While there was part of me that genuinely connected to the music, I was willing to agree with someone when they said The Rolling Stones or The Who was their favorite band. I would call out one song I liked from them just to prove I really did. Bonk #2 for high school Kelly.
Honestly, it took me a while to break and understand the roots of the wrong perceptions I held, but at least when I finally did, there was literally 10 years of music to catch up to. I’m still thankful for that phase because it showed me where a lot of today’s music finds its inspiration. I find it so cool when I can immediately trace hints of Bowie or the Mamas and the Papas in new songs I hear today.
So, I’ve compiled a list of songs that I still feel special for knowing because of that phase. I’ll pull these songs out when someone asks me what songs I like from these artists or if the old people pleaser in me wants to seem really cool to someone who wouldn’t be impressed by my Jonas Brothers obsession from middle school.
Instead of present-day me explaining why I appreciate these songs, I’m giving high school me the floor just to show you her problematic mind. Don’t worry, I’m embarrassed writing these sections.
Hey Bulldog — The Beatles
This song is like SO underrated. It’s so funky and just such a testament to the GENIUS of the Beatles. Like who would’ve thought to actually bark at the end? Ugh John and Paul are so silly! I made sure to include like actual deep cuts from my boys and their solo careers because like, why aren’t more people talking about how genius they all were! **doesn’t include Ringo’s solo stuff**
Black Magic Woman — Fleetwood Mac
Did you know that the Santana version of this song is actually a cover?? This was pre-Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks Fleetwood Mac which like, why don’t people actually listen to the blues band version of Fleetwood Mac? So many people are missing out. Because before they joined the band was like as good as them! **this is 1/3 songs from the pre-Lindsey and Stevie era she enjoys**
You Told Me — The Monkees
Ugh I could go ON about how underrated The Monkees are (me from today: I still agree and I’ll work on a post about it). Like the lyrics “forewarned means forearmed, this hurts, I’m leaving”?! Michael Nesmith is a GENIUS. Ugh only TRUE HIPSTERS like me listen to them so I’m gonna make sure everyone knows how much they are missing out on them. I totally love every song they’ve ever done! **doesn’t acknowledge she doesn’t enjoy the more experimental songs they did**
Good Times Bad Times — Led Zeppelin
I know everybody knows the other Zeppelin song on this playlist “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” but I had to include another one that I bet most of you haven’t heard. They have SO many well known songs and that’s why they’re one of my top 10 favorite bands of all time. I heard this song because the actor Jason Bateman said he loved Led Zeppelin and said this is his favorite song. So I had to give it a listen to see if he does have taste. **only listened to this song because of her massive crush on Jason Bateman…but that’s another thing for another time**