Music Taste

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I’ve been riled up for almost a week now.

On Saturday I met up with a group of friends, old school fellows that I haven’t seen in a long while, and had a wonderful day catching up at the Exeter Food Festival.

Well… it would’ve been wonderful if it hadn’t been spoiled by a comment made by one of my so-called friends.

He had said that I have a bad taste in music.

And before I had the chance to jump up and defend myself one of my other friends had changed the subject.

I felt humiliated and robbed of justice.

Now to start, I believe that saying anyone has a bad taste in music is just downright wrong.

Music is a subjective and personal experience and to say that someone has a ‘bad taste in music’ is really just an attack on their personality.

My music taste is very precious to me and I didn’t like the fact that I had been judged by someone who didn’t really know me anymore.

A huge time has elapsed since we went to school together and my music taste has certainly changed and grown since that time. Just because we were best pals at school doesn’t mean they know me just as well as they do now. I’ve been through a lot of different experiences that have influenced me in different ways.

I certainly do not pretend to know him as well anymore, and I recognise that a great many things have happened since we used to sit around in the 6th form common room together, listening to each other’s music with shared headphones. (Yes isn’t that funny, he used to appreciate my music taste back then; listening to Tenacious D, Michael Buble, Hans Zimmer, Hairspray and other completely random things.)

I think that because he went off to study music at university he believes that he his taste in music is superior to others. He judges harshly when they don’t listen or agree on the same music as him.

And I find this completely baffling and wrong, a music student should know better.

Music taste is not something that can be taught or constructed, it is as individual as a finger print.

What he has is a better understanding of music and this, I believe, is where his confusion lies. University has opened his eyes to different genres and artists, it has given him a better understanding and a wider knowledge of music as a whole.

But this knowledge and understanding DOES NOT affect his taste.

You can force someone to study and play as much classical music as you want but that will not make them like it if they didn’t before. I believe you can appreciate and understand something without having to like it or listen to it all the time.

There is no such thing as a good or a bad taste in music.

But there are different kinds of tastes

1)      Narrow taste – someone who has tunnel vision when it comes to music, they only listen to one particular style. They never deviate and they never branch out. Which is fine because they know their own mind, if they know what they like why should they have to need seek out new music just to please others?

2)      Inclusive taste – someone who has a very broad and extensive repertoire behind them, they are always on the lookout for new music and enjoy discovering different genres and styles. They are basically sluts when it comes to music, they love anything and everything.

3)      Intermittent taste – someone who has irregular shifts. They can be fixated on a particular genre or artist for a very long time but then can suddenly turn off and obsess about something else. They move on to new music one phase at a time.

So, I hope you understand what I mean.

Studying music and being introduced to new music doesn’t instantly mean you are going to like it or that you’ve suddenly got a better taste than anyone else. It depends where your music influences have come from.

I strongly believe in emotional responses to music, I pick up music from different places, people and experiences which has meant that a lot of my music comes with memories and emotions attached.

I think everyone can agree that moods and emotions play a great part in the music they listen to.

I felt so humiliated and insulted by what he said to me in front of my friends, I ran over all my ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’s’ for the rest of the evening and night.

Man, I wanted to scream.

‘YOU ARE WRONG, YOU OBVIOUSLY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT ME OR MY TASTE IN MUSIC IF YOU CAN COME OUT WITH SUCH A SWEEPING JUDGEMENTAL COMMENT LIKE THAT. YOU ARE BASING THIS ASSUMPTION ON WHAT I USED TO LISTEN TO IN SCHOOL AND THE FACT THAT I DON’T LIKE 90’S MUSIC. WELL DONE, WHAT AN INFORMED STATEMENT TO HAVE MADE.’

I have felt pretty rotten for the last few days, I’ve been wrestling with this injustice every night since he uttered those horrible words.

I wanted to defend myself, mainly because I believe that I actually have an eclectic and varied taste in music. I do prefer rather upbeat songs, but you can find upbeat and positive songs in nearly every genre of music.

My parents influenced me greatly and I still listen and love the likes of:

Dire Straits, Bruce Springsteen, Queen, ABBA, Tina Turner, Suzanne Vega, Elvis Presley, Santana, Pink Ffloyd, Phil Collins, R.E.M, Meatloaf, The Dubliners, Enya, Lighthouse Family, Rod Stewart, Status Quo, Vangelis and a lot of jazz and classical music.

My childhood was filled with a variety of sounds and genres, a great introduction to the wide world of music. I can’t say I’ve loved everything they’ve thrown at me but at least I can say I gave them a go.

There was one time during my teens where I went into a sort of hiding when it came to music.

I hate the 90’s and early noughties music because it just reminds me of this particular time, I was bullied, and from now on I can only associate bad thoughts to that period. So, whilst this awful racket of sound happened around me during my teens, I stuck to only one CD. (Back when iPods didn’t exist can you believe it? It’s really no wonder that my taste narrowed down to one particular artist. I couldn’t be bothered to change the CD!)

Dean Martin was my salvation. I was obsessed with his voice. He got me through the worst years of my life and for some reason I couldn’t bear listening to any modern music, not while I could listen to him.

It wasn’t until I entered sixth form that I began to return to my old diverse self (the introduction of the iPod definitely helped in this regard…) And once I went off to University that’s when I really discovered my wings.

From 2008 – 2011 I discovered a love for modern music, not because I thought they were great works of art, I just loved them because they reminded me of amazing nights out clubbing with my Uni friends. You can say that pop is mainstream garbage and I’d agree with you, but I would still love it nevertheless.

Just because I like a bit of pop doesn’t mean that this has defined my whole music taste. I have discovered a lot of other genres along the way and my most recent music package probably looks something like this:

Mumford and Sons, Bastille, Bellowhead, Alice Cooper, Arctic Monkeys, Avicii, Bon Jovi, Coldplay, Florence + The Machine, Jack Johnson, the Fratellis, Haim, Howard Shore, Imagine Dragons, Jimi Hendrix, The Killers, Kings of Leon, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, London Grammar, McFly, Pendulum, Oasis, Of Monsters and Men, Rachel Portman and Van Morrison.

I love uncovering new music and having people introduce me to other artists or genres they like. I’ve recently discovered a love for electric swing music (1920’s style given a kick up the backside with a plug). I will always love Jazz, 80’s and late 00’s Pop, Classical, Folk, Rock, Motown and Alternative stuff and I’d hope that no one will ever accuse me of not giving something a go because I try my best to give different genres a chance.

I make informed decisions unlike others.

If you have ever put someone down for their music choices then I hope you feel ashamed of yourself.

To say to someone that they have a bad taste in anything is judgemental and insulting; all you are doing is viciously clawing away at something very private and personal to that individual.

It’s just plain rude and mean.

These kind of people usually hone in on one thing you like/ dislike and assume that it defines your whole taste, they never take the trouble to understand where this taste of yours comes from or take the time to discover if you are into other things. They make a snap judgement and they think they’ve got you pegged inside out.

I don’t do that, I like taking the time to unravel people. I get curious and ask questions like ‘oh why do you like that?’ or ‘What else are you interested in?’ People aren’t one dimensional and their tastes can change over time.

Mine certainly do.

The person who said that to me showed me their true colours and he’s going to have a hard time earning my trust and respect again. Comments like that say a lot about a person and I’ll now always have this tainted view of him, which is a shame, because up until that point I was really enjoying his company.

 

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