Friday, June 7, 2019

The Enigma Of Musical Taste


I admit I don't have sophisticated musical tastes. On the other hand, it's not a quiz. Everybody is free to like or dislike whatever they choose. The only people who'll judge you are insecure snobs. And who pays any heed to those people anyway?

I've been curious as to what governs taste in music, but my research hasn't been satisfying. The best article I could find was this one, which posits that our love of music is based on past musical experiences. That doesn't explain, however, how a style of music we once detested is now deemed pleasurable. This article essentially credits that to peer pressure, but I can't buy into that. My musical listening has mostly been solitary (as it should be). Maybe I'm one of those snobs, because anytime someone tells me that I should listen to something, basically because "it'll be good for me", I rebel.

I'm more in agreement that something that reminds us of something else that was imprinted on our brains when they were in their formative state is something we'll latch onto. Most people subconsciously gravitate toward the familiar.

Mostly I believe that the music popular during a happy time in one's life will naturally produce endorphins. I could graph the music I like best next to my life circumstances at the time, and the spikes would line up almost perfectly. On the other hand, there are songs that, when I hear them, depress me, even though they're perfectly nice songs, but they remind me of a bad period in my life.

How would some music fare, absent any coupled memories? Not well. Listening to some of these songs today (particularly from the sixties) objectively, I wonder what I ever heard in them. I guess you had to be there, which proves my point.

That doesn't, however, explain why a person may love a style of music that does not exist in their musical cognition. I am a geek for Big Band music. Glenn Miller songs make me swoon. Where did that come from? Some things are simply innate, and there is no explanation for them. Not everything is explainable.

There are a couple genres of music that make my skin crawl. One of them is show tunes. There's a current commercial (for what company, I don't choose to know) in which a woman sings, "I want the world. I want the WHOLE world". And they mix it with some beats, which makes it even worse, if that is possible. Some folks, however, love love Broadway tunes. And people make fun of country...

Jazz? I don't get it and I don't see the point. I could attend any high school band class and listen to them tuning up and experience the same phenomenon.

But that's really all. Oh, and heavy metal, which is just a cacophony of anger and hair.

I can even (sort of) tolerate Crosby, Stills, and Nash. At least their music doesn't cause me to gnash my teeth; at least not until they get too cutesy and feminine.

Some people simply love any or all of the above, and I say, you go, people! Good music should be anything that sears your heart.

That's the thing about music ~ it's personal. Nobody needs to know why you like a certain song, because it's nobody's business but yours. Just don't try to convince someone that it's the greatest thing ever, because they won't get it and then you'll end up frustrated and defensive.

Just keep it to yourself. And rock on....




















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