Listen to classic rock? You’re probably dumb.

Posted March 10th, 2009 by Eric Greenwood · 2 Comments

The Guardian has been on a roll this week. Today Steven Wells has a piece on the correlation of your music taste and your intelligence. The results, uhh, slightly irked Mr. Wells, but the fountain of gold that spewed forth had me tearing up with laughter. To distill the results: turns out if you fancy gospel or classic rock, you’re dumb as a box of hair (“religious belief being an absolute benchmark of stupidity apparently”). If you dig on Radiohead or Sufjan Stevens you could probably find your way out of a maze. Wells was both confused and disappointed by some of the reults:

“Some of the acts that flourish at the ‘clever’ end of the chart also baffle. The pop act whose fans have the highest SAT scores is profoundly rubbish Christian acoustic poomonger Sufjan Stevens.”

I’m sort of confused by Counting Crows fans being considered bright. In my experience, liking Counting Crows simply meant “bad taste”, but I guess that doesn’t preclude intelligence. Sigh. Wells doesn’t seem impressed, either. Nor is he convinced being a Radiohead fan is indicative of intellectual prowess:

“Now I know this evidence is merely anecdotal, but the two thickest music journalists I have ever met were huge fans of, respectively, Counting Crows and Radiohead. The latter once told me that Thom Yorke never wrote happy songs (easily his biggest failing as an artist) because writing happy songs is easy, while writing songs that make willfully depressed teenagers even more depressed ‘is incredibly hard.’ I immediately wrote this down in my notebook as the most profoundly stupid thing anyone had ever said to me.”

But the grand finale is his personal music quiz:

How smart are you really?
Take my exclusive pop quiz

• Do you agree that the reason Big Star never made it was because they were basically rubbish?

• Do you honestly – cross your heart and hope to die – not prefer Meatloaf to Springsteen? Really? Seriously?

• It goes without saying that Petula Clarke’s Downtown is vastly superior than anything ever recorded by Bob Dylan – right?

• Do you agree that I Kissed a Girl was one of the top five songs of 2008?

• Do you worship Joan Jett as a living god?

• Would you, given a choice, listen to Jet Generation by Guitar Wolf rather than anything by Jacques Brel or Leonard Cohen at any and every opportunity?

• Wouldn’t it be great if Radiohead produced an album of happy songs entitled I’m So Full of Sunshine I Make Rainbows When I Cry, featuring upbeat and uplifting songs with titles like Mustn’t Grumble; Woah, Dude, I Just Checked My Balance; I Like Cheese and Beer; I Love Love and a cover version of The Nolan Sisters’ I’m in the Mood for Dancing?

How did you do?

Yes to all? Damn but you’re smart.

No to all? Here is a pointed hat with a big D on it. Go stand in the corner.

Tags: commentary · humor

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 patrick // Mar 10, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    strangely, i find myself agreeing with a lot of mr. wells’ views. you know, i DID think “i kissed a girl” was one of the top five (pop) songs of 2008! and i would rather listen to guitar wolf than leonard cohen under (almost) any circumstance.

    guess in his book, i’m pretty dang smrt.

  • 2 Eric Greenwood // Mar 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    i love the petula clark question.