Watson: Increase genres, increase pleasure

Scott Watson

Pleasure we receive from music is limited only by ourselves. Availability of music today far surpasses any to come before. With a few clicks, we can be instantly connected to millions of songs from anywhere on the globe. Providers such as Pandora, Spotify, and Amazon create access for anyone with a computer to become familiar with artists such as Ravi Shankar, a sitar player from India, or French pop group, CocoRosie. Music previously unimaginable to a simple Midwesterner is now commonplace.

So why is it that so many seem to have settled for one genre, or even a handful of artists? Every genre of music has something to offer listeners; I suggest finding an aspect you enjoy in an artist and pursuing that sound.

I assume most people, just as myself, can recall some of the moments early in life when you were listening to music and something went off inside your head and thought, “Wow, this noise is the bee’s knees.” Whether it was riding with your mom in a tractor listening to Garth Brooks on the radio, in your older cousin’s bedroom listening to a Blink-182 CD, or your dad playing an AC/DC 8-track in your basement when you were too young to know what was meant by “You Shook Me All Night Long,” everyone started listening to music other than their current genre, and at one point, enjoyed a different genre of music than they do today. So what happened?

In my small high school, if you were a boy, you listened primarily to one of two genres, county or rap. An audience of one genre didn’t dare listen to another for fear of being a sell-out or “fake.” Now, I’m astounded by how much I missed out on in the music world simply because I never considered actually listening to the music as its own entity, and not as the pop-culture laden, multi-media source of entertainment the music industry has been built into.

Our generation is too caught up in music as a form of self-identity, and has thus forgotten that music is a form of entertainment. Why should it be said that a Jason Aldean lovin’ country boy can’t also get his jollies from some seriously filthy dubstep? Or that a die-hard Metallica man can’t find serenity in the sweet and sensual melodies of Adele? I don’t think people should subject themselves to stereotypes, least wise in music taste. It does nothing aside from barring yourself entry into an entirely new world of unexplored audible adventures.

Music is quickly dismissed as “not being to someone’s taste.” Have you ever spent a summer or worked anywhere that always had the radio on? No matter what you listen to, you will grow to appreciate it in its own regard, you need only distinguish the intrinsic property in which you find value. For example, I don’t listen to rap for elaborate instrumentation; I listen to it for its flow, the rhymes and the rhythm. I don’t listen to indie rock for an explosion of energy and attitude; I listen to it for its passion, the vibe and the vocals. Find a defining characteristic you enjoy that a genre of music offers, search it and explore it. You will be no more dissatisfied with it than you are now, I promise.

The bottom line here is that there’s no such thing as “bad music,” only music you have not yet developed a taste for. Listen to some different artists, explore what your friends and family have to offer, find different genres of music that complements your different moods and personalities. Your level of musical pleasure is limited only to:

– What’s on your iPod

– Your sense of adventure

– What limits you place on yourself