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Jeremy Gordon

By Jeremy GordonPLAY Columnist

For reasons I will never understand, a friend of mine got drunk and punched a girl in the stomach. Now, my friend is not a misogynist by any means, and this girl is a friend of ours, but for some reason that night, he decided the most logical thing to do at that time was hit her in the breadbasket. When I told him about this the next day, he didn’t remember it ever happening. He couldn’t even explain why he might have done it, or why he kept on repeatedly telling me to read Naked by David Sedaris.

This is how I felt last summer when I came across the mix CDs I used to make in grade school, because they are filled with music I have no recollection of ever liking. However, the evidence is there. One CD I found featured songs by Sum 41, Eminem, Uncle Kracker, Mystikal and most notably, a whopping four tracks by blink-182.

Last week, when another friend of mine played a blink-182 song on his computer, I remarked that I never had a blink-182 phase. Obviously, I did – I may have liked Mystikal because of how many times he said “bitch,” but putting four songs by the Mark, Tom and Travis show on the CD? I must have really liked the band despite the memory block.

What’s more interesting than my forgotten affection for blink-182 is what happened when I started listening to the CDs – I still liked the songs on them. “Downfall” by TRUSTcompany? Catchy nu-metal. “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World? Manifesto for 8th grade survival. “Somebody Someone” by Korn? Okay, even I have my limits.

I like these songs now for the same reason that I liked them in the 8th grade. We all know bands like Newfound Glory are terrible, but they make catchy music. While I’m sure I liked them, and bands like them, because I thought they said something about me, I liked them because they were fun to listen to back then – and they’re still fun to listen to now.

I’m sure that’s supposed to be embarrassing, but to deny myself that is to fall into an elitist traphole. Sonically, there is no reason why I should like a song like the Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion (Lies),” which is kind of catchy but boring, more than Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping.” The Arcade Fire may be indie darlings, but I know which one will be more fun to scream along to with my friends when I’m drunk.

The reasons we like music will usually stay the same as we get older. I liked Limp Bizkit because I thought they were cool — now that I’m older, I realize that Fred Durst is a giant chump, but now I think bands like Sonic Youth are cool (and listenable, too). It’s a cycle that will never end. Listening to music requires accepting your past, and maybe even flaunting it. If no one buys it, you can always pretend you were just being ironic, and it’ll work out anyway.

Medill freshman Jeremy Gordon is a PLAY pop culture columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]