Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Cool Factor

It is always tempting to decide to hate a band once they appear on MTV or leave their indie label for a major or any of the myriad slights for which a hipster or college student or music blogger can decide that a once loved band now sucks.

I get it. In my youth, I had certainly been guilty of abandoning a band for putting out an overly commercial album, etc. I have also been keenly aware of the cool factor when discussing music with an aficionado (like when I leaned in on an early date with J and mentioned that while I know it's not cool, I love Joshua Redman, he concurred and agreed that it was extremely not cool).

Still, the cool factor leads people to overpraise "cool" music and ignore significantly better though more popular music.

The cool factor seems to be genre specific and only comes into play when discussing music that is dependent upon hipster cred - Indie, jazz, etc. In all of my years working in hip-hop, I have never once heard someone say, "damn, once Flip left The Leprechaun behind and signed his Sony deal, I am just not down with him." (Of course, I have heard them say, "damn, once Flip got bitched by TI in the ATL or got his ass kicked in his own neighborhood, I am just not down with him," but hell, once someone is a bitch, it's pretty much over.)

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