If there is one thing I hate, it’s snobbery. I’m pretty much against all kinds, but one form that really gets me going is musical snobbery. There’s nothing I despise more than people who look down at artists who they don’t regard as “cool”, regularly put down the music tastes of others and try to tell people what they should be listening to. So when something happens in the music world that really pisses off the jumped up critics, cool types and the self-proclaimed “guardians of taste” that make up a huge chunk of music journalism, I punch the air and laugh at how pathetic they are.
Today, the Guardian, that oh so liberal and pretentious broadsheet, announced the results of their reader’s poll for the best album and single of 2011. The winner of both polls was..wait for it…Matt Cardle, for his album Letters and the track Starlight respectively. You can imagine the look of sheer horror on the faces of their pop hacks when they counted the votes and realised that their pollsters had voted an X Factor winner as their favourite of the year. You can imagine how bitter the person writing the article result must have felt towards the voters, as well as their thoughts: “Oh why couldn’t they have voted for The Vaccines, or some dubstep act that nobody’s ever heard of?!” How I’d have loved to have seen them squirm.
The Guardian obviously felt embarrassed by the result, so much so that in the article announcing it the writer ridiculously claimed Matt’s victory was down to his fanbase “hijacking” the poll and “block voting” to ensure he won. For one, most people, except Guardian readers and visitors to its website, did not know that the paper was running such a poll. Two, you could only vote in the poll once as you had to register your email address when you voted – a tactic designed to stop block voting. Not even the most obsessive fan of an artist would have the time or energy to register 100+ email addresses just to vote in what is, for the most part, a not entirely important contest. Not even Directioners would do it, however they would give it a bloody good try (they’re very dedicated, those One Direction fans).
Seeing them try to deny the result was amusing, but at the same time so indicative of the attitude a lot of music journalists have towards people like us – the ones who actually buy records and pay to see the bands they love live. If you are going to ask members of the public what their favourites are, you must be prepared if the answer they give you isn’t necessarily what you expect or want. You don’t dismiss what the people tell you and you certainly don’t go implying that the winner won because of what you believe to be suspicious voting activity. Truth is, there are a lot of people out there who like Matt Cardle. Just as there are loads of people who love Coldplay, Keane, the soon to split Westlife, Stereophonics, James Blunt, Justin Bieber, and many other artists that are popular with the public yet often get stick from sections of the media. There are a lot of bands and singers I don’t like, and some whose popularity I will never understand, but I would never put them or their fans down. All music, whatever genre it is, whoever it is by, means something to somebody. For someone to knock my taste in music would be like knocking my memories, the things that have happened in my life, both good and bad. And as for telling me what I should and shouldn’t like, well I don’t tell you to stop being a pretentious twat, no matter how much I would like to.
I admit, I have Letters on my iPod. I downloaded it as soon as it came out, and I think it is a good album. Sure it is a little too slick and over produced in places, but it is still better than a lot of the rubbish that has been in the charts this year. It’s not cool, but then I don’t listen to music for that reason. I listen to it because I like it. The people who voted for it in the Guardian poll did so because they liked it too. And whether the snooty journalists at the Grauniad like it or not, it won fair and square. Fuck da haters, as they say.