I was just reflecting recently on how far music criticism and music journalism has come in the last decade or so. We have definitely seen a wave of poptimism, with pop music now being seen as more deserving of in-depth critical evaluation that was once usually only afforded to rock, classical, and jazz music. This can be clearly seen in comparing this AV Club review of Teenage Dream from 2010, and this largely celebratory analysis of the album a decade later. The first review writes the album off as pop-fluff, while the later piece praises the album as “pop perfection”.

We’ve also seen more BIPOC and LGBT+ music critics, as well as all other critics, than in prior decades. I think this is wonderful, as we can read an analysis of a piece of art from someone other than a straight, white man. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are many straight, white male critics like Robert Christgau, who has long championed music made by women and POC. But many music critics used to write off anything that wasn’t rock or jazz. This can clearly be seen in this lovely write-up of the rise, fall, and legacy of disco by u/AHSWeeknd.

Having said all this, I know that there are many people who are stuck in their ways. The only “real” music is one that is played on real instruments, or is a certain genre, or is presented in a certain manner. And this isn’t just coming from Boomers on Facebook. As recently as 2014, Rufus Wainwright, who is openly gay, said he wasn’t concerned about having a large gay fanbase because “gay men have the worst taste in music.”

So I was wondering if you have faced any backlash or teasing because of your music tastes? Personally, I was teased a bit in middle school for preferring music by female pop artists, rather than hip-hop or male dominated music. Now that I’m older, I like a bit of everything from “high art” like The Beatles to guilty pleasures like The Pussycat Dolls.

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