One of these things I’m most confident in? My tastes in music. Music has always been a very big part of my life. Whether I was a two-year-old dancing around to my dad’s Metallica CD (he enjoys reminding me of this), a little girl falling in love with musicals (for a while I was determined to be on Broadway), or a teenager participating in choir and band through middle and high school, I have immersed myself in music since forever.
Of course, my tastes have definitely evolved over the years. I no longer dedicate my time to High School Musical (I was very obsessed), country music (there was a period when I constantly watched music videos on CMT, kid you not) or Top 40 hits. Honestly, I have no clue what is considered today’s popular songs anymore. One might say that this is a form of disconnect from society, but only a select few current artists don’t grate against my ears.
Just an FYI: I am very much an album person. I’ll mention times when I’m not, but for the most part, I much prefer listening to an entire, cohesive album rather than pick out individual singles. Yes, I am definitely someone who can listen to the same song on repeat for hours on end, but I really see music as art. This is a quality I think current music has really lost, but that’s for another conversation.
You could consider the music I grew up listening to as “dad music.” Lots of classic rock from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. On my iPod, you’ll still find bands like Boston, Journey, Aerosmith, the Eagles, Chicago, Black Sabbath, Foreigner, and several others. My all-time favorite bands and artists are all considered vintage: the Beatles, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, U2, the Who, Simon and Garfunkel, and, yes, ABBA.
My tastes beyond the retro variety really delve into many different genres. They usually end up being fairly indie in nature, like Florence + the Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens or Iron & Wine. Some artists I like are much more…I guess you could say, unique, in a more art pop realm. This includes Kate Bush, Bjork, Beach House and Joanna Newsom. I still have a little angst in me, so you’ll find Green Day, Panic! At the Disco, the Black Keys and the White Stripes in my iTunes, along with some more 90’s and current tunes, like Radiohead, the Cranberries, HAIM, and fun. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to Aim and Ignite).
You know that music that when you first listen to it, you think “there is absolutely no way I will ever enjoy this,” but once you actually give it chance, it ends up in your music library? Well, that’s happened to me on several occasions, in which I stress the need to be open-minded because music can be a process. Pink Floyd and the Talking Heads are the big two that come to mind.
Don’t even get me started on Neutral Milk Hotel.
While I have some backbone artists and albums I always fall back on, I always love finding new music. I always have some go-to people in my life that I love asking for music suggestions. Besides those people, I am a frequent visitor on rateyourmusic.com. If you haven’t heard of it, as the name suggests, the site allows users to rate music. I can be fairly strict with myself as I tend to only listen to albums rated above a 3 (the scale goes to 5, the best). The interface also makes it super easy to find similar artists by genre, and you can look at other users’ personal lists of favorite albums.
I usually like to make a list of artists I’m interested in finding more about, and then I head over to YouTube to raid their videos of full albums to preview music before I ever consider downloading it. Or if I like the vibes of a certain artist, I tend to download their entire discography in one shebang, removing anything I don’t care for or rates lower online later. Go big or go home, right?
Along with that site, I have just started getting into Spotify on my phone. I know, I’m late to the game on this one. I don’t pay for the service, but this is where I break my usual rule of sticking to albums. Rarely do I stumble upon a single song I completely fall in love with on there, but when I just want a background playlist for chilling out or going to bed, I enjoy their indie playlists.
My iTunes library is my pride and joy. I spend plenty of time organizing my music to take with me on the go. My library has grown to over 5,000 songs at this point, and while I am constantly changing things, removing and adding content, the number will only continue to grow.
The thing about music is that even if you listen to one artist and don’t really care for it, one song could easily lead you toward something new, even becoming your next favorite album or artist. You really have to be open to anything.
Enough with my wild metaphors and long lists of band names. Just go listen to some good music for me. Even suggest some new stuff for me to look into.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie