Common Sense (Or “How to Be a Music Fan on Social Media”).

As a professionally amateur music blogger, I would say that most of the people I follow on Twitter have something to do with music, be that as a performer, a label, or a fan. Most of the time, this allows for a lot of interesting discussion, debate, excitement, and enticement. The Internet is very liberating when it comes to expressing yourself and following your interests. But oh. Oh, the pitfalls.

I was inspired to write this today when someone I follow (a manager, not a celebrity) asked for movie recommendations out of three possible choices. He settled upon viewing one. Someone didn’t like that, so rather than, I don’t know, taking a breath or doing something else productive, replied to him, “whatever kill yourself you retarded lard.” I’m not naming names or including links because I don’t want to give her more attention. When people started to respond to that aggression, she took two paths: being proud that she’d been noticed and being indignant that her “joke” was misunderstood. Maybe since I’m on the downward slope to 28, I no longer understand “the kids” and how they communicate with aggression even regarding people they’ve never met and whom they supposedly admire. Maybe the more popular celebrities are, the more likely these really weird messages. Have no fear, I have suggestions that will help you look like a saner fan in five easy steps.

1. Don’t use hate language. Why does this even have to be said? It’s the online equivalent of throwing rocks at your dad’s motorcycle or chopping off all your sister’s hair while she sleeps to get attention. Being noticed is a reward in itself, right? Um, no. Bullying is ugly and disgusting, and when you make “jokes” like telling, say, Groot to kill himself, Groot isn’t going to like that very much. Chances are Groot won’t reply to you over it (since his vocabulary is limited to “I am Groot” and all), but you might catch the eye of someone on a smaller scale or incite other fans to get upset. It’s just stupid. If a teacher assigned you homework you didn’t like, would you tell him or her to go die? No, because there are consequences. You don’t think about consequences online, but you should. Spoiler alert: You’re not going to be One Direction’s new best friend by being a dick to them online. Also, white people? STOP USING ANY VARIANT OF THE “N” WORD. You know what I’m talking about. I see teenagers banter with it on social media all the time. It’s not cute or ironic or reclaiming a word. Just shut the fuck up.

2. Don’t “COME TO (INSERT COUNTRY HERE).” You know what’s incredible about tours? The fact that they are scheduled months in advance because venues, equipment, crew, and more must be arranged in order for everything to work. When you shriek about being denied tour dates, what you’re saying is basically, “I have no interest in what you’re doing right now. Mememememe. You don’t matter to me unless you’re in front of me so I can try to steal the shirt off your back.” Try to imagine having a conversation with someone like yourself. (All examples are chosen at random, and I have nothing against people in said regions.)

Friend: Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet?
You: COME OT ARGENTINA!
Friend: What does that have to do with anything?
You: WE LUV YUO IN MILAAAAAN!
Friend: That’s not even spelled right.
You: IF YOU DON’T PLAY IN LONDON AND MAKE IT ALL AGES ILL KILL YOUR GF’S DOG.

And so on. Going directly to the source isn’t going to get you jack shit unless they specifically ask you where they should do something like busk or if they decide to have a social media Q&A session. I understand your pain, I do. I grew up in West Virginia. Do you know who toured in my town when I was a kid? 98 Degrees. That is it. Did I see any concerts as a teen? Not until college. Now I sometimes get to go to shows for free! You can live the dream one day. Be patient and stop using your location as a greeting.

3. Don’t spam. I don’t know how this started to get popular. Is it because of trending topics? Maybe I should blame hashtags. Mostly, I blame people. If you set up a separate Twitter account simply to bombard someone else, you are a Grade A asshole. There’s really not wiggle room here. Celebrities do not have the time to read every single tweet/message/smoke signal. They might not ever answer, or they might just answer a select few. Resist the urge to just send out a constant stream of the same fucking thing in order to be seen. Your idol will not think Wow, I simply admire this person’s tenacity and adoration! They will think something more along the lines of Haven’t I seen this before? This is annoying or I’m getting way too many messages. Fuck this. I’m going to go be famous now with other famous people. You screw over others and yourself, and you’re the one left looking stupid.

4. Don’t ask them to follow you. This is such a weird, modern bragging right of sorts. As far as I can understand, the more famous a person is, the more elite it is to be followed by them. Beeeecause why? They might see your embarrassing, hysterical tweets of ‘hOGM TAY LOR IS TWET ING IRHT NOW!” (You should really not act like that either, for what it’s worth, but I know that I don’t have enough brain bleach to go around.) Despite infinitesimal chances of mere plebs being followed by the stars, people still ask for this. People who are followed offer to spam the inboxes of the mighty with lists of more people they ought to follow. (Does that ever even work?) Twitter or Facebook will never make them leapfrog into your actual, personal social circle. It translates to nothing of substance outside the screen. Let it happen if you are a magnet of awesome, but don’t ask for it. You are not distinguishing yourself as worthy if you have to beg.

5. Don’t be fucking creepy. I thought I’d end on a note as obvious as my first. Sometimes people have good intentions. Misguided ones, good ultimately good. They find inspiration in a person’s writing. It changed/saved/brought meaning to their life. In return, they just want to share a bit of this changed/saved/meaningful life with the person who made all this possible. And so every tweet tags a musician and is directed to them like a protracted poem of longing. Here I am in Florida, and I am without you, Fabio. Look at this bacon, Lou Bega, for it reminds me of your smile (yes it does!). Tapping into who I really am. Corsets rox. Thx 4 the confidence B*witched! On the one hand, it’s a little oblivious and sad, but on the other, we really should know better. Responding to posts in a topical manner is great and encouraged! Interact to your heart’s delight. The occasional quip thrown their way or even a heartfelt message can be fantastic. Just don’t make your online life all about one person/group and one person/group only. It’s like standing outside someone’s window and drawing pictures in the condensation left behind by your breath. Friends, no one likes a mouth breather. Just think, okay?

Now, friends, you are a bit more socially aware! Go forth and tweet smarter, or stay brilliant if you already are. Just don’t direct any hate at me, particularly if you aren’t able to embrace your backspace or shift keys.

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Dear Musicians: Just Stop. Please.

Hello! I’m certain that I have now claimed the attention of all the prominent musicians on the scene, so I’d hate to waste your time fumbling around verbally. I write to you today to address one key issue: some of you have just lost the fucking plot.

Obviously the music industry is a big, muddled mess right now, with the people on the top wanting to keep their profits while technology makes it easier and faster to discover new talent and consume music, whether you pay for it directly or not. I won’t even go into the streaming services and how many of them don’t give artists their fair share. I’m here to talk about the art itself. Kanye West’s latest release, the insanely hyped Yeezus, seemed to build hype by simply refusing to play the game. This supposedly wouldn’t be about dropping singles for the radio, though a video leaked for “Black Skinhead” demonstrates that West does care about gaining and keeping an audience, rather than creating art in a vacuum and then isolating himself from response. I even saw a Buzzfeed article about why Yeezus as an album was unleakable; I believe it hit the Internet the very next day. If Kanye’s not even immune, how the hell do you create buzz?

Well, if you’re Jay-Z, you get some time during a big basketball game to announce your upcoming record, available for free early to one million people if you used a certain phone with a certain app. I’m an Apple user with an iPhone and a Macbook Pro, and I’m not even mad that I couldn’t get my hands on this for free, especially since the app itself has been widely criticized for data mining. Yes, a lot of apps do that anyway, but it’s a fucking album. If I go to buy a physical CD, I’m pretty sure there isn’t a tracking device in the jewel case to study where I’m going and to bug my apartment to listen to all the phone calls I don’t make (except to my mom at least once a week; hi, Mom). A music release is about what a musician does in the studio to capture that moment in his or her career. It is not about collecting your audience’s personal information in order to know your demographic and then react accordingly. Make the music you want to make, not what you think people will want to hear! Incidentally, I don’t like his other publicity stunts, including putting Magna Carta…Holy Grail on display next to an original of the Magna Carta, trivializing the importance of the document while NOT granting Jay-Z an unlikely audience since let’s face it, nobody going to check out the Magna Carta is going to feel compelled to go buy an album because they saw the cover art. It’s just endless article fodder for free because a rich, popular person has the means of being that cocky.

I’m also not thrilled by his six-hour rap performance for his “Picasso Baby” music video. Whether a tongue-in-cheek approach to the art world or a sincere attempt at performance art, such stunts have been done recently, even in New York. In collaboration with Ragnar Kjartansson, an actual artist, The National performed at the Museum of Modern Art for, yes, you guessed it, six hours. Unlike Jay-Z’s exclusive event, again more about press and a video than actually giving to fans, The National’s performance was open to the public, announced in advance, and not a song from their latest album anyway. The National’s performance feels to me like actual performance and art, particularly given the venue and the individuals involved. Jay-Z’s feels like a means to an end, even if he is a talented person.

So I don’t want you to strut your stuff in the art world for six hours. What’s left? Well, Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke have recently taken the creepy sexist approach. Music videos are nothing new, and even Whitesnake were sure to have a scantily clad woman roll around on the hood of a car just to get some attention. But since when do women have to get naked while a man remains fully clothed? There’s enough sexual harassment to go around in many artists’ lyrics these days; you don’t have to generate buzz by making women into objects. And while we’re on the subject: Miley, girl, no. I’m all for you doing your own thing and reinventing yourself, but you’ve taken cultural appropriation a step too far. Own your sexuality, whatever, but when your music video involves a man seemingly to achieve orgasm while eating bread, you cease to be someone that an audience can take seriously.

One final thing you should stop doing: apps. I already aired my grievances about Jay-Z’s app. Bjork’s endeavor I do consider interesting because she’s Bjork, but I never got the app and feel no need to see it. If you launch an app to keep up with news, images, videos, then that’s cool. If you’re doing it to create games, chats, and a Whole New World (©Aladdin, of course) for your fans, then just slow down a bit, buddy. Lady Gaga has gone and finally announced release dates for her new album, new single, and new app. I’m not a fan of Lady Gaga’s anyway, but this is just indulgent tripe. It makes it so the best fans are the ones who have the devices necessary to access the “full package.” If you don’t have an iPhone, or a certain Samsung device, or constant Internet access, then you’re just not good enough to be the target audience. When big artists want to make big waves, they have the money to get up in your faces, and they want a return on that investment.

So, dear musicians, how do you get an audience for your music? Make a good album. That’s it. You consume music with your ears. Most of the rest is optional. Start there, and please don’t treat your fans as customers or broken souls who need you to connect them to mend and become something greater. You’re human, we’re human. Let’s dig some tunes.

Fanifesto: let’s hear it for the ladies.

When I was growing up, female musicians seemed to fall into three categories: classic rock, country, or saccharine pop. I didn’t care much for the latter two, and for each spin of Heart, Fleetwood Mac, or Janis Joplin on the radio, you’d have seven songs by The Who alone. No offense to the guys, but sometimes you just want to be able to identify with the singer a bit more readily. I had enough issues growing up with a unisex name and getting confused for a guy by default. I wanted to know that women could have the gravity, honesty, and opportunity to take the spotlight. Fortunately I grew up, moved somewhere with better radio, and took advantage of the suggestions the Internet had to offer me along the way. Accordingly, on this International Women’s Day, I’d like to introduce you to ten ladies you may or may not already appreciate.

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In Defense of Taylor Swift

Disclaimer: If the only thing you enjoy more than mocking Taylor Swift is being right, do not read this post. It will only compel you to a) attempt to correct me, b) go into a homicidal rage, or c) have a medical condition flare up to such severe results that were you to survive, you would sue the shit out of me. If you are one of these people, I genuinely do not give a fuck about your opinions other than the fact that you are giving me repetitive motion injury from rolling my eyes at your holier than thou attitude.

At last, it has come to this. I have had this idea kicking around in my head for weeks, talking myself down from blogging because I do not want to be That Person. But I’ve done some soul searching. I’ve chewed my nails over it. I’ve visited Tumblr for some distraction only to see the same tedious shit reblogged again and again, and I’ve discovered that yes, I am That Person. So here we are. This is my Chris Crocker moment. LEAVE TAYLOR SWIFT ALONE.

There are a lot of reasons to dislike female celebrities. In the case of someone like Ms. Swift for instance, you might argue that hearing her over the speaker at Duane Reade/Walgreens and running into an aisle of her merchandise when you really just need to get some tampons like right now is the pinnacle of overexposure. (To this, I merely whisper, “Beyonce,” drop my microphone, and vanish from the Internet.) Maybe you don’t like her music because you’re just not into that countryish/young girl/pop kind of thing. That’s totally valid, unless you hate all female singers because it’s just how you are, in which case what you are is an asshole. Maybe you don’t know who she is, but you can’t check her out now because she’s already exposed, so the hipster in you just has to rebel against what is popular. (If this is the case, just get your kumbacha and leave.) But this is the point I am trying to make: if you dislike a celebrity, 99% of the time, it should be due to that person’s WORK, not their personal life. Here are the most popular reasons I have seen for disliking Taylor Swift, followed by my rebuttals.

All she ever does is write about her love life!

Wow, that’s incredible! No other musician has ever thought about writing about the trials and tribulations of love ever, and no wonder since it’s obnoxious! Except, oh wait, pretty much everyone does it. You don’t really hear this argument about male musicians, so it is a bit sexist. My favorite band is Snow Patrol, and I’ll be the first to admit that a solid 90% of their songs are about Gary Lightbody’s former relationships. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, a quick Google tells me that The Beatles, arguably the biggest band of all time, used the word “love” 613 times in their music. Next?

But she writes about her relationships! And she has so many of them! It’s slutty but her image isn’t slutty so she’s just really, really fake!

Okay, since when does someone’s musical talent hinge upon the number of notches in their belt? It’s gotten to the point where she can just make eye contact with a man and supposedly be head over heels in love with them according to the press. She’s had a lot of public romances, but that happens when you get famous young and are constantly stalked by the press. These things also flame out quickly for who knows what reasons (said stalking, busy schedules, the relationship fizzling out because God knows why). She’s been under the glaring eye of public scrutiny since she was a teenager, and she’s still very young now. How would she have much else to write about? Also, it’s not like she names names most of the time (and if you take issue with “Dear John” calling out the human slime that is John Mayer, we have a problem, friend). I’ve seen the same newspaper (hint: it rhymes with Daily Fail) claim “I Knew You Were Trouble” is about John Mayer and then Harry Styles, no question, just fact. Duh. Plus are we seriously slut-shaming someone for dating?

Also, she has pretty bad taste. Stop applauding Harry Styles for being classy about their breakup and read up on how he broke up a marriage. No offense to the guy, he has a sense of humor about himself, but being younger doesn’t mean he’s squeaky clean.

Whatever. When you come to your senses, she’ll write a song dissing you too. But she’s still really fake.

I really don’t get this “fake” argument that we unleash on things we don’t like. There’s a huge layer of artifice involved when a celebrity tries to present his or her life for an audience. You become your own brand. I’m going to try to comprehend this though. She’s fake because she acts surprised to win awards? Because she keeps her image pretty tame? Because she talks about hunting for antiques rather than getting stoned? Okay. Pretty much everyone pretends to be surprised to win an award. I’d rather read about antiques than see another pop star getting her tits out, and how the hell does Rihanna not get arrested when there is so much evidence that she’s smoking pot pretty much all the time? We live in a weird society now where it seems we can only like one sort of female pop star, and we have to tear the rest down. Most of the people I know who insult Taylor Swift as “fake” are huge fans of Beyonce. I could explain the irony here, but I’ll just let it stand for itself. At least Taylor Swift doesn’t make up the majority of her writing credits.

I don’t like her face. She’s squinty.

Oh my God, shut up.

I could go on, but I’ve exhausted my brain trying to think of where the hate comes from. You know who’s talking about Taylor Swift all the time? You ,the people who hate her. So get over it and hate on Syria or something, because you’re petty as hell.

Fanifesto: 10 Ways to Fill the Gap Between Concerts.

Traditionally, the winter months aren’t known for their concerts. Travel across some countries is difficult at best when you’re hauling equipment, people hate standing outside in line in the bitter cold, and musicians sometimes go crazy and want to spend time with their families or creating new material. What bullshit, right? Well, you don’t have to go through the agony alone. Here are ten suggestions for beating the SAD (seasonal affected disorder) feels (feelings).

1. Relive the magic through denial. Turn out the lights and put on a DVD or a really nice quality YouTube video if you can manage it. If you only have audio available, try standing in another room so you can tell yourself that your view’s just obscured. It’s just like the real thing but without the late asshole trying to squeeze in front of you.

2. Write fan fiction. If those artists won’t come to you, then you’ll just have to make them. You know, through the written word. The find and replace option on word processing software means that you can even publish your work if the quality’s great enough without having to worry about being sued. Even if it’s really terrible quality, just throw in a lot of sex and it’ll sell. I mean, look at 50 Shades of Grey. (Please don’t really look at it. That’s just a saying.)

3. Binge watch television shows. Chances are your favorite artists have been played as soundtrack music on a show before. If House has one episode with a great musical moment, then chances are that there must be one other episode that has a similar high, right? The only way to find out is to watch every. Single. Episode.

4. Edit your old photos. Sure, you uploaded 200 photos to Facebook as soon as you got home from the gig, but did you consider applying a filter? Crop out everyone else’s hands as they reach for your man! (Stupid sluts.) There must be a way to improve things.

5. Stand outside for five hours with minimal supplies. You don’t want to be off your game just because nobody great is touring. Having nobody to hold your spot in the imaginary line will just make you that much more hardcore. If you need motivation, camp out in front of a store and wait for it to open. May I suggest a local record store?

6. Jump up and down and scream. For hours. Look, the worst feeling in the world is going to a gig and having your legs defy the magical dance party going on within your ears. Keep those legs and lungs fighting fit! You might also want to throw some elbows in case you expect someone to be pushy at your next show.

7. Check out local artists. Of course they’re not going to be as great as what you’re used to, as you tell yourself in your biased mind, but you might be able to brag in a few years about how you saw them for the cost of the beer you drank. You can also convert their fans to your superior obsessions!

8. Set up a fan page. I mean, who cares if everyone’s seen the same photos over and over again? On Tumblr, all you have to do is embed it and then post. Watch it get reblogged without citation! Also, it’s totally cool to steal photos and then put them on Facebook unsourced. You look like the hero and don’t have to share the credit. Watch them bow down to you, and try to ignore how much they want your future husband since you already know what your future looks like. Be sure to tell them about it!

9. Use all the money you’re saving and apply it to something else. You could pay off your credit card debt, but that’s boring. Why don’t you buy the same instruments your favorite artists use, then learn how to play their songs? Someone could get injured at some point. They might need you. You wouldn’t let them down, would you? This could delay touring further.

10. Make some new friends. Haha, no. They don’t get it.

Fanifesto: your end of year list sucks.

Listen up. I know you have an opinion. You’re really keen on expressing it, because you’re enthusiastic about music and movies and everything popular culture. There’s just one small thing that you need to keep in mind: nobody cares about your end of year list.*

It seems impossible, doesn’t it? You’ve spent the last twelve months submerging yourself in the scene, throwing every spare bit of bob toward the box office of your choice, devouring the arts because you are a loyal follower of the Greek muses, particularly Euterpe because she has that sweet retro Aulos. You’ve muttered, “Argo fuck yourself,” and laughed knowingly because you’re reciting this very clever phrase at people who haven’t possibly seen the Ben Affleck docudrama yet. You’ve got more special edition box sets of new releases than you do digital albums. Though you’ve enjoyed all that 2012 has to offer (and hate-watched or hate-listened to some of it, just to confirm your already existing biases), the greatest gift is telling everyone what’s good. Because you’d know, right?

My grandfather one gave me a very sage bit of advice. He said, “Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one, and they all stink.” (He might’ve said buttholes to preserve my virgin ears, but we all know what he really meant.) I’m an ex-journalist stranded in the realm of freelance reviewing (emphasis on free), so I understand the compulsion to slap together a list of really awesome stuff I’ve heard, seen, or read this year. I really adore taking people’s interests and recommending something new to them based on what I already know. Half the time I am riffing on what I know about their tastes, but sometimes I Just like to throw in some dark horse that I genuinely love and want to see succeed.

Therein lies the problem with an end of year list: it’s only for your personal benefit. Most individuals realize that when they are just ranting off into the blogosphere or their social media outlet of choice, but what’s up with the media? The same albums, the same movies, the same books just appear consistently, and I’m sorry, but a bunch of middle class white people can’t possibly be as infatuated with the diverse list of releases that they claim because it’s just a little bit suspicious that there is only one R&B album that appears consistently with no other representation from the genre. Not to name names, but you probably get what I mean if you’ve read, well, any fucking end of year list from any magazine this year. If you’re not saying something about yourself or your audience with your list, then what’s the point of even putting it together? It should be about the love of music, not about whether anybody’s heard of a single artist on your list. (Caveat: don’t just be a hipster and name your friend’s bands because you know nobody’s heard of them and you think that in ten years, they might just sell a hundred records.) Spoiler alert, Nicki Minaj doesn’t really need you to encourage others to sell her records. Why not break the news that there are other people out there who are actually talented and working hard?

A lot of really awesome, huge bands that I adore released albums this year. They don’t need my exposure, and they have publicity campaigns for this sort of thing. So in 2013, you should get off your ass and listen to (in alphabetical order) Bronagh Gallagher, Building Pictures, David Ford, Duke Special, Foy Vance, The Guggenheim Grotto, John Smith, Maria Doyle Kennedy, A Plastic Rose, Rosi Golan, and The Windsor Player. None’s a huge name, and not all of them have put out new music this year. But fuck it, it’s the end of the year, and I want to see them have a good 2013. Should you value my opinion? I don’t know. Why don’t you give things a listen and figure it out for yourself?

*Read with an open mind rather than getting automatically defensive about what I’m suggesting. Also realize that I do understand the irony of all of this. As you were.

Concert Etiquette: The Meet & Greet

Somehow, your fantasies have come true. The clouds have parted, the cherubs have fucked off because they’re not who you paid to see, and you find yourself actually coming face-to-face with the object of your musical affection. “I can’t!” you cry to your friend as you squeeze her forearm right on her camera strap bruise. “I’ll just babble and sound like an idiot!” Rest assured, music fan, you can actually talk to a musician and not explode into a cloud of goose feathers and pheromones. Just try to keep a few simple things in mind, okay?

– They’re only human. Yes, they may be surrounded by the shimmering aura of the Chosen, but they are actually people. They eat, they drink, they sleep, they occasionally procreate (probably not with you). Talking to strangers can be just as awkward as approaching someone you admire, but at least you have a starting point. Just be genuine and show your appreciation, and unless you’re dealing with a total asshole or end up speaking another language, it should go fine. Just don’t try to push your tongue between their lips because that is not a good way to single yourself out.
– Respect personal space. If you see a celebrity in the street, it’s okay to say hi. It goes with the territory, and they’re not obligated to do anything in return. If you’re triangulating their location via a map and their Twitter information from the past thirty minutes so you can confront them at the next stop sign they encounter on the road, you really need to slow your roll. Know that being in the same place doesn’t mean you’re there, together, sharing, oh my god look at us we’re friends. Likewise, try not to trample other fans because you NEED an autograph before they jump into a white van and retreat into the disappointing night. It’s just not polite, and a shoving frenzy doesn’t exactly invite someone to relax and mingle.
– Strength in numbers. It’s better to make a friend rather than an enemy of the person next to you. Combining your awesomeness, you have someone to take your photo, hold your stuff, and generally back you up so you don’t spit out a proposal or rudely ask where the hot guitarist is hiding out. Also, having friends nearby means that if the person next to you is obnoxious, you can come up with all sorts of clever ways to start your own miniature war against an enemy that does not recognize the declaration. Bonus: bone up on The Art of War! My college roommates used to hang excerpts of this tome in our sophomore bathroom, and it clearly changed my life. I’m sure Sun Tzu was great fun at parties.
– Be prepared. If you’re waiting outside, dress warmly. If you want something signed, bring a Sharpie. If you want a photo, stop ruining the world with your Instagram shots that have minimal lighting before you add your awful filters anyway. Being prepared gives you something to do while you nervously wait, and it makes you look attentive and special later on, just like you so obviously are.
– Gifts are good…sometimes. Life on the road can be challenging, so sometimes a nice book, a CD, or just a chocolate bar is just what someone needs for a quick lift. Homemade crafts can be sweet. Just know your boundaries. Unless they express undying devotion to baked goods, you should probably steer clear of actually offering them freshly baked treats from your own home. After all, would you eat a cookie that someone handed you in the street? Oh, you would. Well. Awkward. Anyyyyway. Don’t spend too much money, and don’t expect something specific in return for your effort. It’s a gift, not a bribe.
– It’s not a contest. Feel free to share a little about yourself. If you had your life changed by a song in some way, sometimes that’s great to share because really, what’s more empowering than saving a life? Just don’t make it a competition. Spending the most money, logging the most miles, having listened for the most years? Those things don’t matter. Someone will always outdo you, but that doesn’t make them better. Can we not be one encouraging, nurturing society that wants people to go after what we want? No, because we’re selfish human beings. Shit.
– You are lucky OR you have not been rejected. Look, not every gig gives you a chance to meet your idols. Do you realize how incredible it is to go to a concert and hear the songs you love, live, in person, with all the beauty and flaws and chaos and unpredictability of the present tense? I grew up in West Virginia, and the only tour that blew through my hometown when I was growing up was 98 Degrees. Needless to say, I did not attend. Live music is powerful and a privilege. Sometimes shows go badly, but it shouldn’t be because they didn’t play a specific song, your camera batteries died, or you didn’t get a hug after the show. These things are superfluous, and it’s no slight to you if your Future Husband doesn’t come out to meet you even though you’ve been waiting two hours in the rain. You still got to experience something that 17-year-old me would have killed for, and even if it only happens once every two years, that adds up. You’ve paid for entertainment, so enjoy yourself, make some friends, make some goddamn memories. And if you get a really great photo and an autograph, well, then you can high five that image of yourself for years to come, baby.