There was an interesting discussion over at Jezebel this week about "musical dealbreakers." You know, those bands or artists that could possibly ruin a potential relationship? I don't know if it's age or that I'm not the music geek I thought I was, but I really don't have any. Given that I listen to Cher completely sans irony, and have had fleeting obsessions with oddball artists like Klaus Nomi, maybe I'm not the one to decide the dealbreakers.
Here's something else that rarely gets mentioned when the topic turns to music: who gets to decide what's canonical or sacred. Musical "taste" is something that can't really be pinned down, though I know plenty of inveterate music geeks who's dealbreaker would be the trifecta of Bruce, Neil and Dylan. If you can't like those three, or at least acknowledge their influence, you cannot have "taste." It took me almost two decades to decide that, no, I really don't like this Dylan person, and that's okay.
In the grand scheme of things, the songs on your iPod are of little importance, but when you've spent the better part of your adolescence and early adulthood with a definite idea of what "good" is -- be it music, books, movies, whatever -- it's only when you start questioning who gets to decide what's worthy, what makes it into the "big book of rock," and what's relegated to footnote status, you understand how many artists have been excluded.