What’s interesting is that many of the responses swerve the usual targets of derision (Nickelback, Coldplay etc) in favour of bands you’d normally regard as critical ‘untouchables’ – The La’s, Dylan, The Cure.
This illuminates an important truth about musical prejudice – namely that nothing intensifies one’s hatred of a band like unswerving critical praise.
For example, the one band that propel me into a headlong hate-spiral are The Hold Steady. No amount of five-star reviews can alter the fact that they represent the intersection of all my least favourite things about music.
Plodding, po-faced and entirely glamour-free, they marry the hoariest kind of bar-room Americana with a particularly supercilious, humourless strain of finger-wagging ‘philosophy’ derived from early-mid 80s hardcore.
In recent single ‘Stay Positive’ Craig Finn sings (or rather growls – even after taking singing lessons he still can’t hold a note steady): “The Youth of Today and early 7 seconds/Taught me some of life’s most valuable lessons.” To which my response is: try reading some books.
It also infuriates me that so many critics imagine that these rudimentary rockers have in some way assumed the mantle of Bruce Springsteen. It’s a misconception that arises from taking only the narrowest view of Springsteen’s output.
Yes, ‘The Boss’ (as actual fans almost never call him) occasionally indulged in meat-and-potatoes, bar-band rock (‘Downbound Train’, ‘Spirit In The Night’). But he was also music’s greatest chronicler of male complexity.
Which Hold Steady lyric comes close to capturing the sexual exhilaration of ‘Candy’s Room’, the questing existential gloom of ‘Wreck On The Highway’, or the terrifying, road-to-nowhere nihilism of ‘State Trooper’?
But enough of my prejudices. You, of course, will have your own personal bêtes noires.
Do you despise White Lies? Nurse a burning hatred for Led Zeppelin? Grind your teeth to powder whenever you hear a Ting Tings record? Now’s the chance to vent your fury.