In Defense Of

You know the scene.

You're in a bar talking music with some friends. Someone cracks wise about whatever musical whipping boy springs into their head: some mediocre or simply unloved musician, or maybe the sort of album that is a universally agreed-upon creative failure that only great musicians get to make, and then only once in their lifetime.

Typically, there's no risk involved in taking that sort of shot, and everyone has an easy laugh. Your friends are your friends for a reason; you share common tastes in cultural matters like music. But this time is different — you hesitate, a line of sweat flashes across your brow, your stomach rises slightly, and you find yourself earnestly defending it. You're not convinced it deserves that sort of easy dismissal.

The reaction from your friends is stunned and immediate. Pretty soon, people outside of your group are being pulled in. Sides are taken; bar stools are scooted out; tables are pulled up; round after round is ordered and put away — and all because you uttered the shocking words, "All I'm saying is, if 'This Love' was written by say, your friend's little brother's band, and not Maroon 5, you wouldn't think it was that bad. You'd say 'Man, little homey's got something there - this is a perfectly solid, inoffensively catchy pop song.' I don't like Adam Levine being People Magazine's 'Sexiest Man Alive,' and you don't like that awful 'She Will Be Loved' song. We're both understandably tired of hearing 'Moves Like Jagger.' But none of that bears on whether 'This Love' is a solid pop song. Which it is. And we should admit it."

Here at In Defense Of, we welcome you, brave and open-minded music defender. It's an old truth that music writers love the underdog, but how often does that risk-taking really extend into music journalism? Alternately, what happens when a terrible, yet popular band creates something with actual artistic merit? In Defense Of is a forum to defend the seemingly indefensible, to take a second listen and form a second opinion.

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