I love music. I love music of all kinds and can’t imagine a life without the poetic combination of soulful melodies, dancing beats and country drawl winging they way to my ears. Something that I pride myself in, although I know some say that this is evidence of no taste at all, is that I have a serious love for many different genres of music. I am not prejudiced and you will find my happily listening to rock music one day, and dancing in a club to electronic beats that night. You’ll just as easily find me at a jazz festival or a folk gig, as you will singing along to some old country tunes. Does that mean I have no taste at all? Or does it mean that I am just more accepting of different types of music? Much like my attitude to most things around me, I am very open to trying new things and try to reserve judgement until I have experienced something for myself. Music is no different and I wouldn’t rule out a genre, or an artist, because:
It only takes one song in just the right setting and moment to connect with your emotions and make you fall in love with them.
Music is a funny thing, I’m sure there is a whole world of psychology out there and plenty of theories to do with how our brains are wired, that explain why we connect so much to music. But to me, it is not something that can be explained using science. Music tugs on our heartstrings, renders us speechless, keeps us dancing to the bitter end, takes us on huge highs and through our darkest times, brings tears to our eyes, and gives us hope. It has been tracked through the ages as something that unifies us as people, from the slaves who used to sing to show their strength against those who enslaved them, to powerful songs that have been used in politics and wartime, to the modern day politics of programmes like X Factor that have us huddled round the TV every Saturday night. There is something about all of these types of music, and all the others I haven’t mentioned, that speaks to us.
The music touches us when words aren’t enough to explain an emotion or feeling.
It’s something we can all identify with to some extent, although I know for some the pull is stronger than for others. We have all experienced that moment when a song appeared to speak the words we couldn’t say, that moment when a song touched our hearts in a way that no loved one could. So when we all understand the beauty of music – why do some people seem to struggle with allowing others to choose their own music? When did music become a dictatorship?Okay, that may sound a little over-dramatic to you, but in the last few weeks this is something that has really been brought to my attention and I just can’t make sense of it. I’m talking about everything from when your parents or grandparents make comments about your choice of music – they say it is “just noise” or they “can’t listen to that rubbish” and wonder “what ever happened to the real talent?” Despite them having idolised their equivalent of today’s acts when they were our age. Some refuse to accept that times have changed and that just because they do not enjoy our musical choices as much as those from 60 years ago – that we can’t possibly enjoy them either. Where’s the acceptance? Why can’t we enjoy listening to a DJ play beats as much as they enjoyed listening to ABBA or The Beatles in their heyday?
They’re not the only ones, there’s also those who are stuck with their heads wedged firmly in one genre – often these are the ones who say those who say they like all music are actually tasteless – and refuse to enjoy anything outside of that. How limiting it must be to only enjoy one type of music, it would give me a headache if I only listened to one style of music. But I find it sad how different musical genres can sometimes be quite segregated – I have found that on occasion when I have gone to a rock gig or a ska night, that I will get some funny looks because I don’t look like the average crowd for the gig – and yet once the music starts, I seem to be having more fun and loving it more than anyone else. And those who just instantly brush off any other type of music as “crap” just because it doesn’t fit the genre – why not give it a listen and see what you think before putting it in a box?And finally, the crazy obsessive fans. Well, these seem to be popping up all over the place with Instagrams, Twitter profiles and even Facebook groups dedicated to how much they love Justin Bieber, One Direction or even UB40. I’m sorry guys, don’t take this personally but having experienced the wrath of some of these fan groups of late – I can say that they are quite aggressive, over-protective of a person they don’t even know personally and often scare other potential fans away. It seems odd to me, no matter how much you love a person’s/group’s music, to bind yourself to them in an obsessive way and, in some cases, refuse to acknowledge other types of music exist, or even other artists within the same genre. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all “super fans” but those who have had the light shone on them seem to be putting a lot of energy into propelling an artist (whether actually talented or not) into the spotlight, regardless of other tastes.
I was surprised recently when my announcement of an upcoming interview with UB40 over Twitter was met with huge backlash and rather aggressive comments over the band’s break-up, which happened six years ago! Rather than keeping with the spirit of reggae, as I’m sure true reggae stars would insist, I was sent a series of rude, uninvited and progressively angry tweets that insisted my interview was with fake artists and that the other rival group had been cheated out of fame. Can I just raise the question – who cares? Personally, I feel that the personal issues between the band members had little to do with the music, considering my favourite songs were released long before it all happened. Plus, it is none of my business, or the business of any of these “fans” what has happened – why are they taking it so personally? Between them they have managed to alienate a potential fan of the rival band – what true fan would want to do that? What reggae-lover would want to spread aggression and negativity? These fans could not understand that some of us just want to enjoy the music without all the anger, rivalry and competitiveness because to us, the music is all that matters.Sorry, I realise this is turning into a bit of a long post, I’ll start to wind it up. Basically, my whole point here, is I don’t understand what makes anyone feel entitled to dictate the musical tastes of another. A bit like your choice of underpants, or how to raise your children, it is a personal choice. Yes, of course, recommendations are always welcome and I love when people suggest a band or an act I should check out – especially if they know me well and think they are perfect for me. But musical taste is personal, it is something unique to each individual – like a fingerprint – and no-one can tell you what to love. If you love listening to Dolly Parton and heavy metal – who is to judge you? I certainly won’t be.
What do you think of the idea of music as a dictatorship? have you ever experienced the wrath of the “super fans”?