Jen Corace
So hot shot, you think you're the snobbiest of music snobs? Well, answer this: if you were trapped on a desert island, what five CDs would you have with you? And no, "actually, my collection is on vinyl… " is not the correct answer. Have your Top 5 list in hand? The answer: None! You know why? Because, if you were trapped on a desert island, that new Arcade Fire album wouldn't make you cool (though, if you're even an intermediate music snob, you'd already know this record is as cool as the desert island itself).

To true music snobs--those of us who possess unfuckwithable good taste coupled with the ability to remember that you used to think the Killers were "kinda cool"--music exists solely as a social weapon. To be like us, you don't have to love music. In fact, you don't even have to listen to music. You must simply cull opinions from the most hip magazines, and then espouse the complete opposite at social gatherings, whether you mean it or not. Or, if finding hip magazines is too laborious, try quoting directly from Maxim Blender.

Contrary to what VH1 and those limousine liberals would have you believe, music has little functional value in and of itself--and is only enjoyable in terms of its social significance. While, in some cases, purely personal music appreciation may occur, most people who leap at the opportunity to confess their teenage years were spent in their room with the door locked listening to the Smiths, have, in their un-coerced confession, demonstrated that even isolated listening rarely remains entirely in the realm of the personal. Also, for the purpose of this article, we will ignore people who claim to be into "all kinds of stuff." These people are hippies, and since their well meaning but moronic open mindedness doesn't jive with the music snobbery issue, they are henceforth removed from consideration.

Music is primarily a means of representing tribal allegiance. To the aspiring music snob, it is the ultimate commodity, becoming not merely an element of one's identity, but one's identity itself. Records take the place of interests. Mix tapes take the place of intimate conversation. Indierock, Metal, Hiphop, Punk Rock, Noise, Electronic, etc… are all mere means of self-representation. What you like is what you're like.

Someone telling you he/she's into Pantera bears a significance far greater than that person's predisposition to listen to a Pantera record instead of If You're Feeling Sinister by Belle and Sebastian. It means, among other things, "Listen Jewish kid from the suburbs: I may hate you for being Jewish, or I may just hate you. Either way, don't fuck with me, 'cuz I am a person who listens to Pantera." Likewise, the Belle and Sebastian listener would never physically confront such a person, but would wait to lament this brute's existence in the most flowery and fey manner over tea with another of his kind--preferably a Neutral Milk Hotel aficionado.

The assumption that records are important to listen to, independent of their enhancement to one's social identity, is flawed. It is far more efficient to read about music, distilling a variety of thoughtful critical voices into your own snide, monosyllabic dismissal of someone else's favorite band, than to take the time to listen to record upon record and make an informed critical assessment of what you have just heard. In order to use music as an effective weapon, you must know what a record signifies, not from mere conjecture, but from the pantheon of professional assholes--music journalists. Only then can you, in turn, properly convey an accurate (if entirely fabricated) sense of self by testifying to a given record's radness/badness.

What if you initially liked that Elefant record, or Oasis's Be Here Now? Or did you get really excited about Louis XIV, only to realize they weren't highly regarded by anyone over 16? Let's hope no one remembers that. Be sure to talk shit about the Dandy's (but only if you live in PDX), praise Ratatat this year, but not next, and enjoy the Scissor Sisters as disposable pleasure. Just whatever you do, don't actually go to the trouble of listening to any of these bands. And regardless of your personal predilections, always answer the tired "Beatles vs. Stones" question with "the Kinks." If you say "King Crimson," you're a musical instrument store snob, and that's something entirely different.