To my beautiful, amazing daughter,
If you’re reading this then something quite bad has happened and I’ve died or am, perhaps, in a coma from which I’m not expected to wake.
First, let me say that I love you very, very much and understand this will be a very emotional and difficult time for you. Second, please be strong for a few moments because there’s one extremely important task I need you to undertake for me as quickly as possible. Only you can do this for me, dear fruit of my loins (and I imagine you saying “Eww, dad, so gross” right now and it’s really giving me a lot of joy).
To accomplish this, you will be required to walk behind the parental curtain and thus get a glimpse into a private life you were otherwise unaware of. One I let no one else in the world see and one I prefer they didn’t when I’m gone. You will be understanding certain things about me that you may find distasteful, off-putting and out of character. Just please know that I had my reasons and rationale and, frankly, certain powerful desires that I found unable to dampen or to quit, despite vast amounts of expensive therapy and many attempts, both self and externally motivated, to curb such behavior.
You will need to access my laptop, which is on my desk, in the study. All the necessary passwords are on a slip of paper between pages 42 and 43 of the 33 1/3 Series book, Another Green World by Geeta Dayal, about Brian Eno’s seminal electronic album, which you will find on the bookshelf beside the desk. It seemed like the safest place, as I knew your mother would never look there as she once described this album as “far more effective than sleeping pills.”
And here’s where things could get a wee bit uncomfortable.
Because I need you to login and delete my personal Spotify account.
As you browse the selection of artists and titles in my library you will begin to see why I need this to happen. After decades spent tirelessly educating others, often against their will, about good music and the countless lectures I gave to you about the value of drone, prog rock, punk rock and noise rock (all the “rock”s really) you will undoubtedly be noticing certain discrepancies and anomalies.
In fact, you will likely be shocked. And I don’t blame you.
Particularly hard to accept is probably that my most played album is Taylor Swift’s 1989 and not the Talking Heads Fear of Music like I bragged. But, yes, it’s true—I’m a closet pop music lover.
For every volume-10-cranked Black Flag’s “Six Pack,” there was a behind-closed-doors-with-earbuds Blink-182’s “Always.”
For every blogged about Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “Stagger Lee,” there was a personal emotional moment with Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.”
Sunday brunch with Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” and a teary, but resolute midnight listen to Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.”
Head-nods in the car to Dead Prez’s “Hip Hop” and head-nods in the basement to Flo Rida’s “Low.”
And the list goes on. You get the idea.
I just got in too deep and got hooked by all those damn catchy hooks. My reputation proceeded me and I got too proud, too wrapped up in the flag I flew as a gatekeeper and tastemaker amongst friends and family, the last valiant defender of critical thought in a radio-friendly world tuned to easy melodies and sing-a-long choruses.
But I was living a lie.
And what hurts me is that this behavior may have affected you the most. There are many moments in our history I wish I could change. Like telling you the album I listened to as I held you in the hospital for the first time was Sigur Ros’s ( ) and not Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams like it really was. Or that afternoon we went crate digging at the vinyl shop and you wanted to buy the Spice Girls’ Forever but I said no way and replaced it with Radiohead’s Kid A. Or that time you looked up at me with such respect as I explained I was listening to Godspeed You Black Emperor’s Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antenna to Heaven on my Bluetooth headphones while cleaning the house, but really I was jamming to a Hed Kandi Beach House mix.
So, dear daughter, yes, please delete my Spotify account and keep my secret safe from the world. After that, I would only ask two more things of you. One, learn from my mistakes, and be forthright and proud of whatever you listen to. Your tastes will change over time and that’s okay. Sing and dance and love what you love when you love it. And second, during my funeral, as The Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” plays as requested in my will, please hear Terry Jacks’ “Seasons in the Sun” in your head as well. And know that both meant a lot to me.
As did you. So much more than any song.
Your Favorite Music Snob Dad