COLUMN: Aaron Osborne (I Exist) presents another entry in our column series where we give musicians freedom to offer a unique, personal and individual voice.

Today, I Exist guitarist Aaron Osborne delivers the June entry in his monthly column.

The musician reflects and discusses the notion of “guilty pleasure” in music and the often unfair judgment that resides within.

“Inferior and Full of Anxiety”

The term ‘Guilty Pleasure’ when it comes to musical tastes is something that has got me in a huff of late, and will be the focus of the next couple hundred words of chatter. I have recently experienced and have been witness to a large amount of grief being given to people for liking music that isn’t in line with the trends or styles that currently fit under the heavier end of alternative music’s collective umbrella. I have essentially seen a bunch of people be really judgemental and shit about what people like outside of ‘heavy stuff’ and feel like these people need to be reminded of who they are, and where they fit into the grand landscape of music in the world.

I, like most people of my age group come from a world in which heavy music really became an interest to pursue for me when I discovered Nu Metal (here begins the judgement from the accused) and I have never tried to hide that. Others came through punk, or pop rock or maybe some hard out metal hero heard Incantation’s ‘Onward to Golgotha’ when they were 12 and were blown away, but I’d be very surprised if that was the case. What I’m trying to get across is, that really, everyone started out listening to something that could be described as somewhat cringe worthy to an adult, but no one is perfect. Now, where this becomes an issue to me is not abandoning these likes or dislikes or not owning up to them, it is being overly judgemental towards folks who have a different opinion, or like music that is broader than your favourite genre. I see music as something that has brought me a ton of friendships and awesome experiences, and I basically have a whole bunch of Nu Metal bands to thank for that…in a fairly ‘as the crow flies’ look at where I started my journey.

I lay down this foundation to describe where things have started to get a bit too judge-y for my liking over this period of time in which I have noticed my complaints occurring. Why do people really care what other people listen to outside of the ‘kewl’ music that has brought our friendships together? It is a fairly arrogant assumption that everything you listen to or deem as ‘AWESOME!’ will be true for your close friendship groups, built from music, and is something that is totally subjective when you break it down to its core. I am very happy for people to know that I love 80s and 90s RnB, and Hip Hop, and also your standard radio rock hits from the 70s onward on top of my predilection for 90s death metal and Eyehategod. These musical tastes have made me into the person that I am (along with a decent helping of real life shit, let’s not forget that this is just music, c’mon everyone) and I am proud of it, so I feel I have the right to be somewhat defensive when my tastes get questioned, by other folks who have equally as ‘guilty’ tastes as my own.

Look, basically don’t be a jerk and assume that what you like is the maddest shit out, because deep down; it’s all just as goofy as what everything else is. Justin Timberlake looked funny as hell in that full denim suit/cowboy hat, but so does every Death Metal band in every promo photo, the ‘Tough guy’ aesthetic sweeping the world of alternative music is pretty wild at the moment, but let’s not forget that people have been looking gruff in pictures for ages (just don’t let those people get in between you and patting a cute dog, cause they will NOT let that thing go before a serious snuggle).

Tastes are your own, and you are completely within your rights to not like something and tell someone you don’t like it, but please, can we just let people enjoy what they like and not need to throw around offensive, homophobic and just plain stupid insults to them to display your distaste? We can all like our music and we can share our likes and dislikes, we just don’t need to be pricks to each other in the process. Make this ‘community’ or whatever it is as inclusive and supportive as it often claims to be and everybody just chill. I’m getting sick of people being overtly critical, and I for one am not going to stop listening to Jagged Edge’s ‘Where the Party At?’ because of it – so yeah, DON’T TRY AND MAKE ME.

-Aaron Osborne

Do you agree, disagree or maybe just have additional thoughts? Let Aaron (KYS username: AaronOsborne) know in the comments below.

I Exist support High On Fire in Sydney this July.

One Response to “COLUMN: Aaron Osborne (I Exist)”

  1. SteveC

    I can dig that. I guess people just like judging other people for no reason. They forget music is about fun and self-expression, not placing boundaries or being the coolest kid out.

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