My friends from high school do not give a shit about a band's influences, genre, politics, or contribution to the art world in general, and that's why I love talking to them about music. As much as I like reading pretentious internet opinions about why Savages are leading the much-needed feminist resurrection of really corny post-punk or whether Yeezus sends a responsible political message amidst its nuanced exploration depraved sex acts, it's refreshing to hear what people who use the internet exclusively for pornography think about some of the most discussed music this year. To get a sense of some of the previous research I've conducted in this field, I've detailed some of my friends' more incendiary opinions and musical preferences: Ethan thinks Radiohead's Kid A sounds like "broken computer Coldplay sex sounds," and Animal Collective has "like two good songs but is mostly just really fucking annoying." He's gotten really into classic rock recently, so he updated his cover photo on Facebook to the cover of some Yes album and plays "Blinded By the Light" literally every time I've been in his car over the past three weeks.
Todd thinks Lightning Bolt's Wonderful Rainbow is "seriously dude just not even music," and will adamantly defend Juicy J's musical talent whenever I catch him listening to "Bands Make Her Dance" and deriving genuine enjoyment from it. Todd has probably the most eclectic taste in music of the three, and will admit to liking Slipknot as much as he does LCD Soundsystem.
Joey's favorite album is Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle, and he pretty much won't listen to anything if it's not classified as "g-funk" or an early 2000s R&B radio hit. He describes his girlfriend's penchant for indie-pop bands as "relatively inoffensive," but often wonders why it "all sounds like it was recorded in a bathtub?" His favorite movie is Elf.
Kanye West -Yeezus:
Ethan: "About 2/3rds of this album is completely unlistinable but I like "Bound 2" and "Black Skinheads" The auto-tuning is really awful but it's fun to listen to just because it sounds so different than anything else out right now. I feel like how crazy it is means I have to have an educated opinion about it in order to justify liking it and that kinda makes me not want to ever listen to it in public."
Todd: "So awesome. The samples sound awkward as fuck but once you get used to it it's hard to listen to other music immediately after. I don't usually listen to albums all the way through but I've already done it with this one almost twice a day since it came out. The lyrics sound like they were all made up on the spot which is hilarious but seems half assed at the same time. My mom hates it."
Joey: "I like it because each song has so many parts and different ideas. I feel like he makes so much effort to emphasize the fact he didn't put that much effort into it, and I'm not sure if that's awful or really cool. The packaging is really stupid but somehow appealing. I sometimes think I'm just being tricked into thinking this is 'art,' but maybe I'm over thinking it."
Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City:
Ethan: "I could definitely take naps to this. I would just be worried that while I was asleep someone would walk into the room and actually catch me listening to it which would be very embarrassing."
Todd: "Yeah, I listened to all their other albums the other day and I liked them but I really wouldn't want anyone to know I did. I would definitely pretend it was my sister's iPod if my dad walked in on me listening to this. It seems really well done and professional, which is cool when you think about it just being five dudes in a room writing songs together. Still really fruity tho."
Joey: "My girlfriend puts this album on whenever she's cooking so I associate this pretty much exclusively with garden salads and vagina. Definitely 'good' music but I can't imagine listening to this by myself. I like that it sounds familiar but always puts a unique twist on the type of song you think you're about to hear. I like Diane Young but everything else is way too boring."
Danny Brown's Various Singles:
Ethan: "He just says the most ridiculous shit but he's so good at rapping you can't stop listening to it. I really like how it doesn't feel like you're listening to rap music. It seems more like rock or punk or something. I can't listen to it in front of anyone other than you though because my mom/ any female will think I'm into weird sex acts and most dudes I know think his voice is really annoying."
Todd: "His flow is amazing and he can describe eating a girl out in such detail that you almost forget that by most people's standards the lyrics are just fucking gross. The production is so different than most rappers in a good way and "Black Brad Pitt" has been stuck in my head ever since I heard it. Ive gotten all my friends at school into it but every girl I know can't stand him."
Joey: "This really confuses me about what 'good' music is critically. I think it's really enjoyable but I don't really see the artistic depth in it or why how anyone could actually think about its message or something. I can't imagine anyone liking it in ten years."
Disclosure - Settle
Ethan: "So fucking good."
Todd: "Why didn't you show us this until yesterday? I listened to the whole album last night and it's just really good music that makes you want to dance. I like that it doesn't have big drops and shit like that because it makes me feel less guilty about liking it."
Joey: "I would listen to it at a party but it seems weird to listen to this type of music alone in your car or whatever. A lot of the vocals are really corny and the beats can sound too similar. I feel like I'm going to hate it in about three days because you guys like it so much. I'd rather just listen to 'Get Lucky' 14 times. I feel like I've heard half of these songs in various scion commercials."