Part of my job as a music critic at CITY Newspaper is wading through a lot of music and recommending it to you all—or at least telling you what to expect and what to avoid.
The question I get asked the most is whether or not I like everything I hear. The criterion is simple: I don't have to love it, but I have to believe it. It's easy to like a band because it sounds good or plays in a style you inexplicably love. However, hating a band or style of music is a much more complex thing—in my case, especially with contemporary pop music.
I hate the over-singing, the auto-tune, the insipid lyrics, the whole phony facade of it all. It makes me angry because it takes precious time away from the bands I love. So I've decided to embrace my hate. Hell, it's worked in other aspects of my life as well—specifically when dealing with cigars, corned beef hash, and brown shoes.
About five years ago, I started smoking cigars at the rate of about one a year. I love the artwork they come packaged in and their un-lit aroma is intoxicating. They remind me of my Uncle Fred. But the love affair with cigars ends there. They taste like sucking the exhaust pipe of an overheating payloader and the cancer they promise. I don't know why I feel the need to smoke them, honestly.
Same thing goes for corned beef hash. I eat it annually just to remind myself why I don't eat it more often. Corned beef hash lies. It lures you in with its aroma and hearty appearance. You put a forkful in your mouth and you get hints of baby throw-up and ALPO.
That all changed this past weekend, when I had a bite of my wife's hash at The Original Steve's Diner on Penfield Road. It was delicious and was made all the more so when you consider I went in there with my mind made up. It didn't suck. It rivaled my French toast.
I went shoe shopping the other day and bought a pair of brown shoes. No big deal, right? Never in my adult life have I purchased or worn brown shoes. But they didn't have my size in black, so I punted and took a chance on what turned out to be a very comfortable pair of shoes. It's not like they were sandals.
Perhaps this is my age of enlightenment and maybe I should embrace more things I hate like liver and onions, crumbly blue cheese, just to remind me of my deep hatred and perhaps discover I like it (not likely). Maybe I could embrace Taylor Swift and any artist that falls under the category "new country." I could start using emojis, with my face planted in my cell phone everywhere I go. Nah, I'll just have another cigar.