Saturday, November 7, 2015
This Was, Bad Company and Some Other S**t
An old friend has been posting something he calls "100 Greatest Albums Over 100 Days" on his Facebook page. Each day, the cover of an album appears with no commentary, leaving the field open for others to weigh in. I've been watching daily and by Day 10, I realized that this list was strictly personal. This wasn't a list of records based on history, sales or influence. It was a list of my friend's history, his past and the records that were important to him. By Day 20, I realized that any comments would be pointless. I love Led Zeppelin, but they had already appeared three times in the first three weeks and all 20 records were from the mid-70's. (I guess I shouldn't pass judgment for another 50 days, or so.)
Day 33 and Bad Company's "Run With The Pack" appeared. I couldn't hold back. I left what I thought was a respectful comment:
I realize this is your list, so I won't rain on it. And even though I think "This Was" and "Stand Up" and "Benefit" are all better than "Aqualung," at least I understand you choosing "Aqualung." But, Bad Company doesn't even like "Run With The Pack."
I was hoping for a bit of a sparring session. I concluded with a "Carry on," and a smiley face because that's what you need to do on Facebook so people don't unfriend you. (And being "unfriended" is only slightly better than not being "unfriended.")
His response was, "And THAT is why they call it MY list." He went on to say he loves the comments and "Y'all keep comin' back now, ya hear?" Then, he said "This Was? Better than Aqualung? LOL!"
And that's when I removed myself completely from his thread and his posts. I am fine agreeing to disagree, but a condescending laugh is hardly an invitation to participate.
Now I began to overanalyze my comments.
Was I condescending? Disrespectful? Is everyone who has an opinion obligated to share it? Should I have let my friend enjoy his 100 days without any negativity? One other fleeting thought was, "You're a fucking arrogant putz for laughing at me and my opinion of Jethro Tull's This Was," but I got over that in 7 hours. He is a friend.
BBJ, who is a friend and occasional contributor, once said both to me and to all of you on the comments page, something like "I have finally learned how to comment." And Jeff K, another friend and contributor, once told me privately that every so often my replies to comments can be off-putting. I've taken both those comments to heart and while I am not perfect, I do try to remain respectful, even when I don't agree with someone. I know I have never laughed at anyone. Even when a friend looked me dead in the eyes and said, "The Beatles are overrated. Their music is simple," I did my best to explain why most of us believe that isn't true. I did not laugh, even after he continued with, "I don't know anything about music. I just know I don't like The Beatles," which to me is a completely different statement than what he expressed inititally. Again, the fleeting thought was "Why are you talking about something you know nothing about?" And again, I let it go, out of respect for my friend.
Back to my "100 Albums" friend for a moment. One last thing I had considered asking him was, "When was the last time you listened to Jethro Tull's This Was? The reason is, back in the day, when we were both coming of age to the soundtrack of FM radio, many of us had no idea Tull even existed before Aqualung, or that Pink Floyd existed before Dark Side Of The Moon. I had a gut feeling that the last time my friend had listened to This Was might have been 40 years ago, when our minds couldn't handle any more than "Locomotive Breath." Was HE talking about something he knew nothing about? I chose not to ask because again, I thought my comment might be off-putting. Suddenly, I'm censoring myself, feeling like every opinion is better left unsaid.
That feeling stinks.
This blog exists because I love music. I love listening to it, buying it, selling it, talking about it, sharing it and criticizing it. I think all of you feel the same, which is why you remain part of the community. Strong opinions are good. Trolls, assholes and the like, are not.
The same friend who doesn't like The Beatles, likes to say, "The Earth will still be spinning in the morning." (He tosses that out whenever someone gets excited about anything he doesn't get excited about.) It's not untrue. Yes, if my friend loves a Bad Company record that I don't, the Earth will continue to spin. Mets lost the World Series? Most of us woke up the next day. If Leon Bridges sells out every show on his tour, the weather will still be the weather. But then, why care about anything? Let's all sit hooked up to an IV and just wait it out.