The Rules

Music is subjective. Well, sort of. While the way a song or an artist affects you is deeply personal, it's pretty likely that most of your choices fit a prearranged pattern. Learn the patterns of others, the way a politician studies demographics, and you can learn a lot about people from their musical choices. After years of study, here are some of the rules we've mapped out to make our life easier.

The Golden Rule
• Never trust anyone who hates Tom Petty.

• If someone says Bruce Springsteen is a poet of the working class, that person is not working class.
• Politics never make music better. Never. But they can make music much, much worse.
• People who talk about "real country" usually have no place talking about rural America. Especially clueless are those who only count left-wingers as authentic country, when most country fans are conservative.
• However, Toby Keith does suck.

Matters of the Heart (and Loins)
• If she's into The Doors, check her ID.
• The first mix tape (or, today, burned CD) he makes you will teach you more about him than the first six months of conversation.
• Make-out music warning signs (by age group): Joy Division, Nine Inch Nails, Dashboard Confessional. (At breakup time, don't say we didn't warn you.)
• Choosing Marvin Gaye shows a lack of imagination.
• After getting dumped, getting really into Exile in Guyville is a sign that you are on the road to recovery.

• Never drink with someone with no guilty pleasures (do you want to have boozy sing-alongs to Wire?).
• Jimmy Buffett fans aren't wrong, they are just drunker than you.
• The more Phish bootlegs they own, the more pot you should buy from them.
• If you're going to puke, you might as well do it to the Velvet Underground's first album. It's like spewing in a movie.


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