The White Stripes: Elephant

Song: “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself

My iPod loves playing The White Stripes. No matter how random the shuffle, there will be a White Stripes song in there, so I’m glad I like all of their songs. I have ten Beatles albums, six or so Radiohead albums, all the Weezer, but my iPod has a crush on The White Stripes.

I only recently learned that this song is a cover of a Burt Bacharach song (Jack White removed the lyrics that suggested getting back together. Not Jack’s style, I guess.)

I learned this piece of information from someone who’s a bit of a music snob. Now, I’m a music snob, so that’s not a dig. In fact, I have a lot of respect for music snobs. On Six Feet Under, Claire’s Republican boyfriend meekly admits that he’ll just buy any song he likes on the radio and that’s what defines his taste in music. It’s supposed to be an endearing quality for the guy, but it would have sent me running in the other direction.

Recently I heard someone complaining about someone. She said, “You know, she’s the kind of person who still lets music be bigger than just a song? Like she actually has a soundtrack? So annoying.” What? No! Music is bigger than just a song. I do have a soundtrack. Even when the iPod’s not spinning, there’s still music going on in there. I even got caught once by Carlos, sitting at the writer’s table. “What’s the song going on in your head?” he asked.


“Your head was just bopping a little. What are you thinking about?”

He was right, but I felt so busted I completely forgot the song. Odds are it was “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” anyway.

Most of my friends are music snobs. All to different degrees. The Blaus are a unique breed of music snob — they actually understand how music is composed, and know music theory and create music and get paid money to sing music and they understand why Jon Brion is supposed to be so awesome and not just a random series of plinky-plinky sounds.

stee and I are the only people I know who like System of a Down. Here’s how bad it gets: sometimes it’ll just be on in the house, on shuffle or whatever, and inevitably, whether there’s three people or thirty people in the house for a party, someone will pull me to the side and say, “What the fuck is that noise coming from your stereo? You must turn it off.” This has happened no less than seven times. People can’t stand the sound. Chris hates it so much he once had a dream he was the drummer for the band. I’m snobby enough to totally not care. I could give a list of reasons, but for a band that absolutely nobody likes but the two of us? What’s the point. It can be our snobby secret.

A couple of my friends are mono-music snobs. They like the seven things they like, and hate all other music. Despise anything new, anything too old, anything that doesn’t sound like the kind of music they’ve grown accustomed to. That’s a music snob who’s difficult to buddy-up to, because part of the fun of being a music snob is swapping a song and having the other snob go, “This is awesome,” and you get that swell of pride at knowing you were right, and passed that song onto someone else who gets it.

My favorite kind of music snob knows that the music he’s listening to is really good, is willing to share at any moment, and will drop just about everything to sit and talk about an album or a song or a concert. The kind who enjoys making a mix tape. Someone who can finish the lyric you just started, and knows the next three as well. I like a music snob who appreciates all different kinds of music, but still knows which ones are better than the others. I think this means my favorite kind of music snob is the kind who has the exact same taste as I do. And uh, that’s probably true. Once you find that album in there that goes against everything you think music stands for, it’s hard to look at your friend the same way. I’m all for variety and learning new things, but there’s no reason to listen to adult contemporary. Unless you have no sense of rhythm and need things to keep the voices in your head from whispering evil thoughts to you. That’s probably something useful that kind of music can do. But all the other music? Even the twangy, plucky, strummy, yodel-y, roboticky, crunky, noisy, lilty, screechy, or jammy? Bring it on.

That being said, I still don’t want to listen to your fucking Coldplay album.

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