If you utterly adore One Direction and/or traditional Country & Western and/or Kanye West, then the answer is yes.
Or no – depending on YOUR musical tastes. Confused? Let’s see if I can offend / enlighten you even more …
The only 100% truth is that MY taste in music is exceptional.
To me of course. To you, it probably sucks.
Obviously I’m not a fan of those examples above, but I’ll bet you (Dr Evil finger raised) ONE MILLION DOLLARS that your three favourite artists / genres aren’t Prince, alt-electro-rock, and Gotye.
It’s because as individuals – even when exposed to the same music as our peers – no-one will have the exact same tastes as you. So logically, your taste in music is the best in the world.
I believe that our opinions / musical tastes are created when your brain mashes together your surroundings, the opinions of your friends, and more importantly, the day you were born.
I can’t name one song I like by One Direction. But if I was growing up as teenager today, that response would probably be different (I did say probably). You see, my ears have heard plenty of boy bands, and my requirement for entry-level, heart-tugging pop is long gone.
As an awkward loner in the 70’s, I had to rely on my parent’s musical collection: Charlie Pride, Glen Campbell and Jim Nabors (can you guess why I dislike traditional Country and Western?). Additionally, my local, regional Queensland radio stations (all three of them) catered for a very Middle-of-the-Road / Adult Contemporary musicscape. It didn’t bode well for me.
Until late in the decade when HE came into my life. Into the life of all Australian children.
For non-Australians (and those born too late) Molly was the host of Countdown, a music clips-based show bringing the best current sounds directly into our lounge rooms every Sunday night (just after Doctor Who). In 2014 this idea sounds quaint, but in the 1970s, with no internet and a limited media, it was groundbreaking. It changed my life.
Rock and roll. Australian bands. The New Romantics. Punk (or the watered down version the ABC allowed them to air). For anyone who’s teenage years straddled 1975 – 1987, Molly was instrumental in shaping our musical tastes. If he liked a band, they were put on the show. Hell, he hand-picked the completely unknown boy band Pseudo Echo*, and took them from gigging in a pub without a record contract, and turned them into a national sensation.
SLIP SLIDING AWAY
Just because you’re exposed to certain genres / artists or specific songs, it doesn’t mean you’re going to like them … but hearing a wide swathe of music will help you understand your preferences.
I had no idea I’d like electronica until I heard Ultravox’s Vienna – a sparse heart-tugging dirge that my parents hated “this means nothing to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”. Oh, having your parents hate something instantly makes it good.
But then everything changed again. Because HE came into my life. Prince Rogers Nelson. The kid. Purple Rain. That makes it 1984. I’m 15.
That guitar introduction. The lack of bass. The didgeridoo-like backing vocal. When Doves Cry redefined what music could and should be.
So why wasn’t everyone loving this masterpiece? Why was my best friend (and all the girls at school) into Wham!? What’s wrong with these people? Couldn’t they hear the amazingness of my new purple Minneapolis friend? What did Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go have that When Doves Cry didn’t?
Was it them or … or … could it be me? Why didn’t everyone like what I liked?
It appears 1984 was my turning point: the year I cemented my taste in music.
Take a look at the songs released in the years you hit your mid teens. Are they still in your “favourite songs of all time”? Can you see the basis of your current musical tastes there?
Perhaps it was because I was exposed later in life to popular music that my tastes formed at that time, but I believe it’s not until you hear a good variety of genres and melodies that you really develop your specific musical taste.
A Distinctive Sound
And here we are in 2015. I’m 46 this year and still stuck in the past with Kate Bush, The Eurythmics, and INXS. But in my life I’ve also journeyed into the past and discovered The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Simon & Garfunkel. And I continue my adventures today with Gotye, Arctic Monkeys, and Son Lux.
My current favourite song is a collaboration between artists from Malawi and London (The Very Best’s Hear Me), and Sydney-sider Alex Cameron’s Jumping The Shark is my favourite album. Both are starkly different. Neither are on any Top 40 charts anywhere in the world.
I don’t care.
My taste in music is exceptionally good. To me. And if your and my tastes overlap at some point, then I look forward to sharing our love of a good tune. And where our tastes differ, I hope we can discover something new, and perhaps stretch our palates.
So give me a hand – please vote – to let me know if I’m on the right track (is this the kind of article you enjoy reading?).
Heck, why not tell me about YOUR musical taste in the comments below? We could have a chat!
Until then, let’s get funky with the best boy-band song of all time 🙂
*Please note, while Pseudo Echo was a band of boys, they were not a boy-band. Totally different. We can discuss this important minutia another day.