Why The Beatles Suck (According to One Writer)
THE NEXT TIME you want to be told that you’re a brain-dead moron that doesn’t know a damn thing, tell a large group of people that you don’t like The Beatles. It works like a charm. I learnt this unfortunate lesson during the editorial meeting for this issue.
You see: I have always operated under the assumption that art, whatever form it may come in, is subjective.
1. Based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes or opinions: his views are highly subjective.
2. Dependent on the mind or on an individual’s perception for its existence.
3. Contrasted with objective.
4. You like something for your own damn reasons, not someone else’s.
Apart from the delicious slice of cello-driven melancholy that is “Eleanor Rigby,” I cannot say that any Beatles song really speaks to me. I’ve listened to nearly the entire catalogue and no sparks. Therefore, I am not a fan. This doesn’t mean that I don’t respect the talent within the band and the transformative power their lyrics have had over so many generations. I just cannot lie and say that I love The Beatles.
Given my honesty and my assumption that musical tastes were personal, I was taken aback by the violent reactions to my frankness. I’ve always been entitled to like whichever musical act I pleased. However, when it came to The Beatles, I was suddenly not allowed to dislike them.
This led me to consider whether music, or art in general, really is subjective. Is it possible that there is some standard, objective list of bands, albums, paintings, movies – what have you – which we’re all supposed to like?
In that case, why do we even bother liking anything resembling art when we’ve already been told what we’re supposed to have a preference for? The answer is simple: We cannot help what moves, touches or speaks to us. We come to like these things because we derive some sort of meaning from them, whether consciously or otherwise, that is completely personal. We make associations between the piercing riffs or a dancing ballerina and the endless catalogue of moments in our lives.
Each person that told me that I was both stupid and probably hard of hearing gave me their reasons for why I should love The Beatles. “They’re the greatest band in history.” “They defined music and everything it could be for a generation,” so on and so forth. But these were their own personal reasons. The music of arguably the most critically-acclaimed and commercially successful band in the world touched them in ways perhaps only they could explain. But why would those reasons necessarily have to be transferred to someone else? Permit me to argue that one’s entitlement to enjoy a certain band’s music should then allow another to dislike it. And feel free to apply this argument to art in any medium.
Personal tastes are just that: Personal. They are guided by your experiences and preferences that are unique to you. You want to avoid being labelled as a brain-dead moron? Be absolutely and unapologetically aware of why you like something.
But then again, that’s just this writer’s personal opinion… and anyone who doesn’t like it, doesn’t know a damn thing.
text by jillremulla, web exclusive for TRAVIS Magazine