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The subjectivity of music...

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The subjectivity of music...

Old 09-12-13, 11:04 AM
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The subjectivity of music...

The problem is that different people like different songs. You can hardly get a group of two or three people together who agree on what's playing in the background. Someone's always jumping up, ready to change it - sometimes, they even have a tape in their pocket, and they say, "guys, you gotta hear this!" And when it plays, you're like, "get that shit off my stereo!"

Music's funny that way.
Old 09-13-13, 02:02 AM
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Re: The subjectivity of music...

I thought that this post from another thread could be a discussion all of its own and have separated it with a view to encouraging, er, a lively debate!

Looking at the post above I was for a moment amazed/appalled at the audacity of someone taking a tape (or a CD or memory stick or whatever you kids use these days) to another person's house and putting it in their player. The sheer egotism of it...

And then I remembered a time - maybe 15 or more years ago - that I'd been at a friend's newish apartment with a tape in my pocket because she'd told me earlier that she only had two decrepit tapes and hadn't yet collected her CDs from storage.

Knowing that a disparate group of us were going out for a meal and that we'd end up back at hers for an hour or so for drinks, I had pocketed a compilation* I had made and brought it along.
(* that's a "mixtape" for you guys, I guess).

I seem to recall that it was themed on either place names, travelling or somesuch conceit. The only track I can remember was Bowie's "This is Not America" but I am sure that it was all very artfully contrived by my good self Unlike the selection in the original thread, I wasn't going for a party vibe when I chose the tracks; more a semi-sophisticated background noise, I think!

Anyway, in this case it served its purpose of displacing the two pre-recorded casettes that would have been a source of great shame to my friend, the hostess. One of the group even went so far as to seek out the box to check out the tracklisting I'd written and on which he commented favourably. It must have been vaguely in the area. Phew!

I wonder what sort of tunes meet with the most widespread approval amongst a group of people within, say, ten years of each other...? And if the gap in taste narrows with increasing age i.e. someone in their 50s has more in common with the musical taste of someone in their 60s than, say, those in their teens and 20s or 20s and 30s.
Old 09-13-13, 07:56 AM
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Re: The subjectivity of music...

I grew up with a friend next door to me, and a friend across the street, and all three of us had different tastes in music, and we were all the same age. This is the late 1980s: the friend across the street liked heavy metal, the friend next door to me liked hair-bands, and I liked soft rock.

Whenever we would ride in someone's car, we all had "the best songs" on a tape in our pockets. Good luck playing it over the owner of the car, however. lol
Old 09-13-13, 09:44 AM
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Re: The subjectivity of music...

The only type of music I actively don't like is when it sounds inauthentic to me. When the artist is trying to be or sound like something he/she isn't. Usually, it's when a song is supposed to be "soulful" or "heartfelt" but it sounds obvious, calculated and cloying to me. Adele is a prime example. She sounds like a mimic of greater artists to me. Her "bebop" phrasing and "husky" voice just don't seem real. It sounds like she's selling something, like a watered down Etta James for people who don't know any better. Similarly all the fake "grunge" bands back in the 90s irritated me. Alanis Morisette's jive "wounded but tough and angry woman" persona is another example.

Other than that, I like most everything.
Old 09-13-13, 02:23 PM
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Re: The subjectivity of music...

Concerning popular music. In my experience from the 70s thru mid 80s people were divided into two camps:
Pop: Bee Gees, Disco, John Denver, Ann Murray, Barry Manilow, etc. Only knew what they heard on AM top 40 stations.
Rock: What is now called classic rock. You hated pop/disco. Everybody was in for a penny, in for pound, liked it all. From Yes and Genesis, to Black Sabbath and ACDC, to Styx and Journey, it was across the board. The only bands that were decisive were Kiss and Grateful Dead. You could have Marshall Tucker Band open for Black Sabbath and the lion's share of crowd would be fans of both. Paul Simon could be paired with Deep Purple, etc.
Old 09-13-13, 02:37 PM
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Re: The subjectivity of music...

Music has become an increasingly personal experience. Not that long ago your only option to hear music would be to go to a concert hall, pub, etc. to hear a live performance with a group of people. Then there was radio, TV, records, and other media that allowed us to consume music on our own. Then it was exacerbated even further as headphones were developed and portable listening devices like walkmen and discmen. Now with MP3s and the internet, most people listen to music by themselves and the sheer volume and variety of music available to us makes us form very personal connections with the music we listen to. So when a buddy shows up and plays a song he's obsessed with, you might think it's good, but you really want to play that song you heard last week and have had on repeat on your commute.

I don't really care about genres or anything, I give pretty much anything a chance, and I'm very open minded musically. I just look for quality musicianship, for the most part. If it's new and interesting too, even better. Too many people succumb to their personal biases and never branch out from what they know. You have to make an effort at first to appreciate different types of music. It's a learning experience.
Old 09-14-13, 09:20 AM
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Re: The subjectivity of music...

Buttmunker: Congrats! This is the most cohesive thread you've ever created! I feel like you might be turning a corner.
Old 09-14-13, 05:54 PM
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Re: The subjectivity of music...

Originally Posted by auto View Post
Buttmunker: Congrats! This is the most cohesive thread you've ever created! I feel like you might be turning a corner.
Well, except for that "tape in their pocket" thing. What is this 1986*?

* I wish it was 1986 again
Old 09-16-13, 02:03 PM
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Re: The subjectivity of music...

Originally Posted by Nausicaa View Post
Music has become an increasingly personal experience.
I agree with this, but to take it a step further, music consumption has become much more diffuse recently. The ability for people to discover and subsequently stick to new music in very specific genres has increasingly led to more and more fragmentation.

When I was a kid, pretty much the only way to hear new music was commercial radio. You listened to what was on Z103 and called it a day. People today probably can't appreciate just how underground the underground was back then. Bands that are "lengendary" now like The Replacements were playing for fifty people at shows. No one had ever heard of them. Unless you lived in a college town (as I did) or a big city, you didn't get much beyond Phil Collins.

These days there are daily-updated blogs dedicated to Tibetan surf-punk or Malaysian zydeco or whatever. Everyone with internet access has instant access to every track every recorded pretty much on demand. It's bewildering. As a result, the ability to find a specific niche you favor and dwell in it is much easier. The result is fragmentation of music fandom and hyper-specificity in musical genres. Metal is the prime example of this explosion of complexity. Electronic music is another.
Old 09-16-13, 02:13 PM
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Re: The subjectivity of music...

Originally Posted by auto View Post
Buttmunker: Congrats! This is the most cohesive thread you've ever created! I feel like you might be turning a corner.
As much as I would like to run with the credit, I didn't create it. My post is first, but it was last on someone else's thread before the merge.
Old 09-16-13, 02:16 PM
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Re: The subjectivity of music...

Originally Posted by Jason View Post
Well, except for that "tape in their pocket" thing. What is this 1986*?

* I wish it was 1986 again
Me, too (I think). I was 16, I was slender, I had a lot of hair, I had never received a venereal disease or had any opportunity to get one.

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