Music has been on my mind quite a bit lately (as you can probably tell be reading my recent entries). My tastes have always been eclectic at best ... I took Gilbert and Sullivan records to my babysitter's house when I was six, I had Beatles posters plastered all over my wall when I was ten. Most of my memories of discussions related to my musical tastes run along these lines:
My sister, c. 1983: "I wouldn't expect you to like this." (Referring to Olivia Newton-John's "Let's Get Physical." Apparently she found that inconsistent with being a Beatles fan.)satyrblade
, c. 1988: "I have no idea what kind of music you like. Rock? Alternative? What is it?" (After we'd been swapping Oingo Boingo and Jazz Butcher tapes for a year, but I was unimpressed by Jethro Tull.)cody_frost
, c. 2003: "I can't wrap my head around your musical tastes."
So apparently, my musical tastes are odd. :) The only answer I can give people is that I look at music the same way I look at just about everything else: I like a little bit of everything, and some things a little bit more. :) Generally speaking, my favorite pieces are not of any one genre, but they all have the following characteristics:
- Strong melody
- Upbeat tempo
- Inherent coolness gets a bonus (e.g., "Take Five")
- Parody or humor songs get a small bonus; a general positiveness gets a larger one. Anything resembling whining (not the same as the blues) or an inflated sense of self-importance will knock a song right out of the running!
- Intelligent lyrics get a big bonus; alternatively having NO lyrics (or just a phrase, such as "Oh, Yeah!" or "Tequila!") a big bonus
- Being something OTHER than a love song, another big bonus; one of the reasons I fell in love with Oingo Boingo is because they had a song called "There's Nothing Wrong With Capitalism"
- Edit: Musical depth also gets a big, big bonus! One of the things I hate about '90s music is that it all has 4 instruments, no harmony, and super-simplistic riffs. What happened to the rich, overlapping melodies that indicated musical proficiency? If you can't identify at least three separate riffs at the song's climax, the composer is SLACKING OFF! (Okay, I admit, not ALL '90s music is like that ... but way more than has a right to be popular sure did!)
There are some moodier or softer pieces that I also like; I'm quite fond of Enya for instance. But in those cases, I have to be in the right mood for it.
It's easy for me to find something to like in just about any genre; Big Band Swing, Rock and Roll (proper Rock and Roll, e.g. Bill Haley & the Comets, Chuck Berry, Little Richard), New Wave, and a lot of newer stuff that I'm not clear on the genres of (DDR, for instance, would that be trance?) are easy matches. On the other hand, there are genres that tend to produce stuff I can't stand ... "easy listening" for instance is too limp ... rap is an endless exercise in "Look How Bad I Am!", get over yourself ... country overall is too whiny (sorry, TK) even though bluegrass is not.
But the main thing I like more than anything else, is variety. I love and adore Big Band Swing, but if that was all I could listen to, I'd rapidly get sick of it. This, I think, puts me exactly at odds with the more common view of music: "I like THIS and can't stand anything else."
I guess I'm just an oddball. :) But this is hardly news.