Hating on Hendrix
I’m done with classic rock.
What is it that makes me so apprehensive towards what is, undeniably, good music? I sit in a coffee shop and grow more and more agitated as it transitions from Janis Joplin to Jimi Hendrix. Both are great artists that influenced a countless number of young musicians, and yet I can’t bear to hear it.
It used to be that I thought Jimi Hendrix just didn’t have much replay value for me. Now, however, I cringe when I hear the opening riff for “Purple Haze.” Before that guitar can get beyond the two alternating notes that signal its arrival, I have my headphones in.
When did I get so broken?
I hate feeling like the contrarian hipster. I don’t want to dislike something that brings so much joy to people, and brought so much joy to me. I mean, I loved Hendrix. And yet, now I feel as if someone above the age of 18 knowingly and intentionally playing and/or listening to Jimi Hendrix must have something wrong with them or a severely limited scope of good music in their cultural vocabulary.
Which is wrong. We are allowed to enjoy those things that are tired, are overplayed, and overexposed. There is nothing wrong with listening to Jimi Hendrix, just as there is nothing wrong with laughing at an episode of “Seinfeld,” or reading Catcher in the Rye for the first time and saying you liked it.
The important thing is that people are taking in art. Expression of the self to a wider audience is the essence of cultural development and evolution. The suppression and limitation of what can (or should) be appreciated by people isn’t just pretentious, it’s borderline fascist and totalitarian.
So why do I keep doing it?
Maybe I’m a fascist. Maybe I’m just too Irish Catholic for my own good, so instead of blowing off steam on the internet by targeting a specific individual I instead go on an extended rant on how much I didn’t enjoy “The Departed.”
Regardless, I need to remember that my taste isn’t the only taste, particularly since mine is so limited in scope. So many people I know have such a deep and wide knowledge of what’s good – whether it be in music or film – and I grow not just envious, but ashamed.
Long story short: it’s okay for you to listen to Jimi Hendrix. Just don’t take it the wrong way if I put my headphones on. It’s not you, it’s me.