Updated: Mar 6
What does it mean to be a hater? Think about it. Think about a band you HATE. Think about a singer you HATE. Think about a type of music that you hate. Now think about why you hate it.
I can think of a good few reasons myself:
You hate the artist's musical style so by extension you hate all (or at least, most) of their songs.
You hate the genre of music so therefore you hate an artist that creates music in that genre (even if you haven’t listened to them).
You hate Tik Tok so therefore you hate any song that goes viral on Tik tok, is sped up times 100 and is featured in every 12 year old's dance video.
You hate the artist’s personality, their ethics and what they stand for so therefore hate their music.
You hate the artist’s popularity because they’re a conventionally attractive nepo-baby without a lick of talent and society is cruel.
You hate how successful the artist is and you don’t think the quality of their work reflects this success.
You hate a song because everyone else LOVES it and you’re ‘not like other girls’.
You hate a song because it just sounds like everything else you’ve ever heard and it's not original.
You hate an artist and their music because they’re trying so hard to be cool and it’s giving you the ick.
You hate the artist because they’re just a celebrity with money and a management team that says they can sing so they decide to make a song.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying any of these explanations are unreasonable. I know lots of perfectly reasonable and nice people who might take something from this list. But I'm not saying that these are the most reasonable reasons in the world. Some might think it extreme to HATE something that can be pretty harmless like an artist, band or a song. Why waste your hate on trivialities? But the essence is that in the wider context of things, hating a song or having a disdain for a certain artist is merely a relatable and conversational way of thinking about music and its place in society. So it’s worth pointing out that in certain contexts these reasons are the height of reason. More than ever hating the artist or their music, we hate what they represent. Whether that be social privilege or the ultra rich and untalented; the undeserving of praise or the adequate but considered Godly; the unoriginal and the overplayed, there’s something there for everyone. It’s interesting to think of how much we tie our opinions on our artist to their music and I mean that in a positive and negative sense. When we consider an artist dislikable their music by extension becomes dislikable regardless of the quality, but similarly we can extend an extortionate amount of quality and reverence on artist’s that are incredibly likeable or attractive. None of this is inherently ‘wrong’. I don’t know about you but I think I’d much rather a nice or likeable artist gain success with mediocre music than a morally corrupt one gaining unending success with a higher calibre of music.
So what does it mean to be a hater and more so, why on some level should you be a hater?
Being hater makes you think more critically. Granted, your criticism is negative, but at least this gives you a low-stakes environment to criticise. In this day and age negative criticism has become the social norm and I’d argue it has almost always been like this considering the human condition. Getting good at looking at things critically is good, both in a positive and negative sense. Eventually you can start practising positive criticism and talk more about why you’re a lover not a hater (or was it a lover not a fighter?).
Additionally, it's good to be aware of the social and socio economic aspect of the music industry and recognise its flaws and downfalls. Being aware that not everyone is given equal opportunities is a vital step in bridging inequalities and understanding how we form opinions.
Now when do you know you’ve taken being a hater too far?
These are the five main things I’d watch out for if you’re going to be a hater…
If you're trying to be ‘not like other girls’.
If you’re pinning a whole genre on one artist and one song .
Recognising that nepo- babies can’t control who their parents are BUT they can control their response to being a nepo- baby through self-awareness.
Recognising that not every song by one artist sounds the exact same (for example, I’m not a massive Swiftie, but she has definitely got a few bops).
Understanding that music is beautifully riddled with subjectivity so who are you to judge anyone else’s music taste? The only music taste you should judge is your own. So when you make that list of songs you like and songs you don’t like, you’re the one making the decisions, not anyone else. And that’s the way others should feel too.
Have a bit of fun and play around with what makes you jump for joy and what makes you go ‘ew’! It’s okay not to like something and not have a reason. Sometimes having a feeling is good enough. But if you do have a reason, think about why that reason is what it is. Because in these discussions there is no right or wrong, just honesty and self-awareness.