Three Bands Everyone Pretends to Like More Than They Actually Do

Jan. 13, 2011

Sonic Youth

Anyone who claims to love Sonic Youth is 60% lying. It’s not because they suck—they’re actually very good—but it’s because they’re one of those bands that people automatically know to like regardless of whether or not they’ve actually listened to any of their music. It’s just one of those accepted things: Sonic Youth is cool, we need oxygen to breathe, water keeps us alive.  Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore are these untouchable rock gods living in Northhampton, Massachusetts, raising a teenage daughter named Coco, and everyone just can’t seem to get enough of them. They even appeared on an episode of Gossip Girl and people were still like, “Loves it.” As of right now, I have only four Sonic Youth songs on my iTunes, which I’m sure is average for a self-professed fan.  I’m sure you would like to hear more of their music but their discography is so extensive and you’re already consumed with the new Yeasayer album. One day you’re just going to sit down and listen to all of their records, right? Riiiiiiight.

The Smiths

Morrissey got you through a real rough patch when you were sixteen, didn’t he? it was when you hated your parents, your crush wasn’t paying you any attention, and your skin was a real youth in revolt. Listening to The Smiths was the only thing that made it better. Posters of the band adorned your wall and you may have given your best friend a copy of The Queen Is Dead instructing them not to tell a soul about this band. Little did you know they broke up like 20 years ago and a cover of “How Soon Is Now?’ was used as the theme song to Charmed. But as things got better and your emotions started to level out, you found it harder and harder to fit them into your musical life. Today hearing “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore” is nice for about ten seconds until you’re transported back to being an unloved teenager and then things start to get uncomfortable. Your lip starts to quiver, your eyes start blinking rapidly, a zit begins to form on your chin. Suddenly you get the urge to throw your iPod across the room and smash into a million dejected little pieces. It’s okay. This just means you’re a grownup now who doesn’t need to magnify their sadness by listening to some closeted British guy wailing.

Radiohead

When a band is universally loved, they are not to be trusted. Case in point: last summer I went on a group wine tasting tour in Napa Valley {I know, I know!) with a bunch of young married couples who were wearing visors and ill-fitting khakis. For the first hour, things were pretty awkward, but after a few collective glasses of vino, the yuppies started to let their hair down and chat with one another discussing primarily 401K’s, the real estate market, and backyard BBQ’s. This one couple in particular was studying my friend and I curiously, perhaps confused as to why two 21 year old gothic princesses ended up on a wine tasting tour. Finally, the woman—who had managed to get wasted after only visiting one vineyard—asked us if we liked Radiohead.

I replied yes and exchanged a confused look with my friend. I then looked back at the woman and noticed that her performance fleece vest was becoming off balance almost as if it had gotten contact wasted from its owner.

She bobbed her head lazily and said, “We do too! Me and Bob are gonna see them at the summer festivals, um, this summer. Got our bags packed. We’re ready to go. We saw them at Coachella last year and it was like “Wow!” Bob just loves them.”

“I love them.” Bob echoed.

So apparently Bob and the drunk woman love Radiohead. Do they love the band like they love their french press or their Roomba? Who knows, who cares, I’m turned off. When a band has the ability to transcend social groups, you might take that just to mean they’re super talented, but you’re wrong! It means someone is not being completely honest with their feelings, someone is using the band to establish some sort of credibility. I’m not pointing any fingers here, but let’s just put it this way— I doubt Thom Yorke would ever wear a performance fleece vest. TC mark

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