musicThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that people must be officially approved before claiming that they “listen to everything”

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I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 9-X/32-CMany make this claim, in an attempt to prove their sophistication: “I listen to everything.” This claim, of course, is a reference to their musical tastes. (Usually, it indicates a complete lack of musical taste, but that is subjective and the Emperor would never want to be subjective.) The sad part is that this claim is usually made by those who make it in referencing the fact that they have pop, rock, rap and country on their playlists. This, to these ignorant auditors, is, “everything.” (And, no, it does not count that you listen to variants within rock and pop. One is not being musically explorational because one listens to Led Zeppelin and Slipknot and Rick Springfield. It is also fair to point out that music is not automatically experimental because its composer wears wool caps in the summer.) In short, most who make the claim of listening to “everything” are like an ant on a beach who, tuckered out after a good three-inch walk, exclaims “Well, I have now seen the world.”  He has seen grains of several different shapes, but, the fact remains, they are still a particular kind of sand. Henceforth, no one may claim that they listen to “everything” until their playlist contains at least 75% names  and works from outside the popular realm and whose works are not available on collections of “relaxing music” sold in endcaps at Target.

The Punishment: Those who wish to make the “everything” claim must be cleared by the Emperor, himself. He will quiz the person in question, who will need to score an 80% or above on a quiz filled with questions like: “Who wrote ‘Koyunbaba’?” — or, “Who was Count Basie’s legendary rhythm guitarist?” — or, “What American orchestra is best know for interpreting French Impressionism?” — or, “What Irish traditional band once teamed up with Roger Daltry for a recording of ‘Behind Blue Eyes?” Those who fail and still continue to make the claim will be chained to the dungeon wall and forced to listen to the entire catalog on their own MP3 player performed by a precocious child with a comb and some wax paper.

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

Chris Matarazzo is a writer, composer, musician and teacher of literature and writing on the college and high school levels. His music can be heard on his recent release, Hats and Rabbits, which is currently available. Chris is also the composer of the score to the off-beat independent film Surrender Dorothy and he performs in the Philadelphia area with the King Richard Band. He's also a relatively prolific novelist, even if no one seems to care yet. His blog, also called Hats and Rabbits, is nice, too, if you get a chance...
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