Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Breaking News from BriTunes
My mom once remarked that my favorite music geek bears a slight resemblance to Brian Williams, news anchor extraordinaire over at NBC. Hmmm, now that I think about it, my friend likes Great Lake Swimmers ... Brian Williams likes Great Lake Swimmers. My friend likes Camera Obscura ... Brian Williams likes Camera Obscura. My friend likes Jason Isbell ... Brian Williams ALSO likes Jason Isbell. The similarities, it seems, do not end with the cut of the jaw.
And how do I know all this? Brian Williams likes to rock out more than he lets on, judging by the fact that he recently launched his own music blog, titled, unfortunately enough, "BriTunes." (Apparently, Williams did not choose the name and is quite nonplussed about it. Then again, some of us choose random names for our music blogs based on dumb jokes and later live to question them, so maybe he should be glad he can blame someone else for his blog's title.)
Williams interviews up-and-coming musicians for the site and posts his own playlists, a.ka., "What Brian Williams Loosens His Tie to When He Gets Off Work." I have no problem with a somewhat stuffy news anchor listening to the same music I do. However, some small-minded critics view him as an interloper and question his ability to connect with the twentysomething anti-establishment, citing his parental interview style, a.k.a., "I Actually Don't Know How to Loosen My Tie, So This Is Me Being as Hip as I Can Be with Your Bearded Indie Ass." One blog I read said that in Williams' Deer Tick interview, he comes across like an oblivious parent trying to connect with his son's stoned friends (think lots of mumbling and smirking from Deer Tick).
You can watch for yourself...
Laugh all you want, but Mr. Williams has surprisingly good taste, and it all begs the question: Why should a music fan have to look a certain part to enjoy the same music as someone sporting skinny jeans and mutton chops? If you love music, who cares where you get it and who else listens to it? Age, income, and personality should have nothing to do with enjoyment of music. When my friend and I went to see Grizzly Bear at The Blue Note in October, we were easily some of the oldest people there, but we enjoyed every minute of the show, seemingly more than the drunk sorority girls around us who texted and talked the entire time about how bored they were. Sure, Williams has a signature interviewing style, which may seem parental or awkward in a hipster context, but we still learn about Deer Tick from his interview. So why shouldn't Brian Williams be allowed to "interlope" with rock musicians?
Will music snobs check out BriTunes? Probably, but they might be too ashamed to tell their friends. My favorite music geek was actually the one to point out BriTunes to me this past weekend. We giggled a little, but then we started discussing The Seeds and Antony and the Johnsons and Fanfarlo and The Crystal Method and Florence and the Machine, all of which are posted on BriTunes, and then it didn't really matter that Williams might not look the part of an indie music fan. For that matter, I don't look the part of an indie music fan, and maybe that's why this whole music snobbery thing rankles so much. I don't necessarily look hip, but I love music made by people who do.
Music snobbery is a savage beast. I've been guilty of it my entire life, and it is not an admirable or, really, an enjoyable thing, especially now that I'm getting older and losing whatever shred of coolness I may once have achieved. When it all comes down to it, just listening to music without having to project a certain image or worrying what other people think should be the most important thing.
Let's hope harsh comments from readers don't stop Williams from posting about The Dead Weather on his music blog or cranking the album when he's pouring himself a Scotch after work in his mini-mansion out east. Really, it's none of our damn business if he throws on a flannel and pops a Miller Lite instead. I think it's great he has a forum to share his love of music, and I wish him luck.