My relationship with a genius

Last week I realised a lifelong dream; I hosted my very own show on student radio. The show focuses on fresh and shiny new music. I love finding new music (along […]

Last week I realised a lifelong dream; I hosted my very own show on student radio. The show focuses on fresh and shiny new music. I love finding new music (along with the sound of my own voice), so compiling the playlist was almost as fulfilling as doing the actual show itself. However, it was during this compilation that a dark, personal realisation hit me like a ton of bricks. Shit went down.

The epiphany struck me as I was trailing through new releases on iTunes. Happy with my choices, I decided to hit up the Genius Bar, just for the kicks. Usually, I relish in the new musical goodness this clever little feature offers – they don’t call it genius for nothing you know!  But this time was different. This time, a horrible feeling settled deep in the pit of my stomach. And I mean way, way deep; I could positively feel it in my toes. Glaring back at me from the screen was a little thumbnail of Cheryl Cole. I had been recommended her debut solo album, 3 Words.

At first, I assumed Genius had stopped working, or at least was having an off-day along with its friend Blackberry. But then, I started to notice other signs of this strange affliction.

On a night out with a friend the other week, I became excited when The Wanted’s seminal single ‘Glad You Came’ was played. I dragged her to the dance floor and was startled to find I knew all the words.  Then one morning as I was in bed dreamily listening to the radio, I actually unearthed myself from the duvet in order to turn up the volume for One Direction’s ‘What Makes You Beautiful’. And it gets even worse.  Last Sunday, I found myself distraught, yes, distraught, that I’d missed the X Factor results! (side note: Kitty is still in, really?)

Staring despondently back at Cheryl’s beautiful little pouty face, a thought struck me. Why was I getting so upset? Why was this sudden exposure, nay, appreciation of mainstream pop music causing so much pain?

And that’s when it dawned on me. The Genius Bar doesn’t think I’m cool any more. 

Why is it that some music is cool and some isn’t? I mean, as a kid, I loved nothing more than watching the Steps video (on VHS baby), on loop, learning all the dance routines. At age 10, with Avril Lavigne as my inspiration, I decided to learn guitar. That’s commitment. Traveling to see Hear’say’s massive stadium show in Glasgow caused huge jealousy amongst my primary school classmates. Nowadays, the recent news of a Steps reunion makes me shudder and I won’t go to see any band unless the venue is sufficiently dark and small and my shoes stick to the carpet laced with the spilt beer from days of yore.

When did I start to care? More importantly, why? In the current climate of image-conscious indie kids, hipsters and being ‘ironic’ (yeah, I went there) what you listen to really matters to your overall persona. People trade their cool new music finds like Top Trumps cards. “Oh you’ve only just heard that? We’re all listening to the new [insert buzzworthy post- dubstep/French electro/future disco DJ] remix this week.”

Perhaps it’s due to some animalistic instinct of the longing to fit in. Unfortunately, the cool kid tribe aren’t into Cher Lloyd these days. So I decided, if that’s the way the Genius Bar is going to play it, silently mocking me with myriad images of JLS in various states of undress, then I was done with it and its mind games.  I went back to the iTunes store and, OK, still couldn’t bring myself to download Chezza, but if you look close enough at my tiny wee ipod screen, you may just discover a boy band or two.  Or three.