What’s on your playlist? Taste in music is a funny thing; it’s the same and different for everyone.
Am I a music snob? Yes and no. I don’t have enough actual technical musical background to know all the terms for instrumentation or even the terminology of the full breakdown of songs–
But I do have opinions.
I’ve written about music and concerts before. I call music the “Universal Leveler.” When people listen to music together they are all the same and all one. Just look around an audience at a concert; it is easy to pick out any two people that you know would not hang out together on a weekend—but watch them sitting next to each other at a concert they are both enjoying and see the easy friendship that is between them for that time (the same can be said about people watching sporting events, but only to some extent because of the rivalry involved). Look around when an audience is enthralled. Everyone has the same look on their face. They sing together. They dance together. They are together.
Back to my opinions (it always comes down to that, doesn’t it?):
I don’t like listening to songs recorded ‘live.’ I only like live music when I’m there in person to hear it, or watch it on video. Being at a concert and feeling music is sexy, and I’m fascinated watching people play instruments—their talent is enviable. But when I want to go out dancing, I want to hear the song I know as I know it, recorded, without anyone else’s influence on the song. There can be one or two exceptions, but if I know I’m going out to dance there had better be a jukebox or DJ there. This does not mean, though, that I won’t just start dancing (or singing) anywhere if the mood strikes, whether the music is live or recorded (I love supermarkets and elevators). I don’t care for live bands at weddings, because I like to dance at weddings. I wasn’t the little girl who planned her wedding years in advance, but when I got older I did realize that I had 3 ‘rules’ for my own wedding, if I ever got married, and one of them was that it HAD to be a DJ and not a band (the other two were that I did not want chicken cordon bleu on the menu and that coffee must be served the entire time—I hated being at a wedding, seeing the full creamer on the already-set table and not getting that damn teeny-tiny cup of coffee until after the cake was served). When I did get married, I spent more time communicating with the DJ than anyone else—the poor guy!
If I fall in love with a song, I make everyone around me listen to it (with a full lecture on what makes that song special), but as much as I will share music it is also very personal to me. If someone ‘sends’ me a song, I read the lyrics (if I don’t already know them) and take them to heart. My best friend, Donna, calls that “speaking Susie,” when someone sends me a song. (I’m not giving away any secrets here, this is common knowledge in my corner.)
People can be stereotyped, in a way, by the music they listen to, and even the music itself. I’m somewhat guilty of categorizing like that. My two top categories/stereotypes of music—and not favorable distinctions—are ‘bar’ music (Jimmy Buffett, anyone?) and ‘wedding’ music (Kool and the Gang recorded other songs besides “Celebration” you know).
–Let me apologize once more to my wedding DJ. I could probably have just shut up after I gave him a lengthy list of what to play and what not to play!
A couple of years ago, I was helping a friend with her iPod and was shuffling through her music. It was all Christian Rock, Jimmy Buffett, The Eagles, older Aerosmith and a few more of my ‘favorite’ stereotypes. I laughed and told her that if I were to judge her by her musical taste she would be a “religious alcoholic.” I think that’s when I realized some of my snobbiness and guilt at pigeon-holing people.
My iPod (I won’t get into how much I hate Apple; I’ll save that for later. I have an iPod only because of the price at the time—I sold out for an extra 40gb) has 160gb. It is full because I need to take as much of my music as I can with me to be able to listen to whatever ‘mood’ I am in. The many, many playlists are sorted by genre, theme, artists, mood and people (and titled accordingly); some have many songs and some only have one. I can listen to song after song after song, or I can listen to just one or two on a continuous loop—whatever I feel like. I get a lot of inspiration from music, and if I get an idea during a song, I’ve been known to listen to that song for days to keep the feeling going. The same goes for when I’m being maudlin—one song can support me for days, even weeks.
A friend and I went out the other night, and we ended up in her car listening to her iPod. Kara’s car was new enough that when she plugged the iPod in, the playlist showed on the dashboard screen. We scrolled through the list, stopping to sing one or two of them–loudly and maybe a little tipsily (LOVE those sappy 70’s songs). She did not have any playlists, so all of her music was there, and I realized I was paying close attention to what she had. (She had good stuff; even some of the same classical recordings and audiobooks that I listen to.) When I drove home I was thinking about that, reading her song list, and realized how personal I thought that was. Then I realized that I don’t let anyone go through my playlists; if someone is in the car with me and we’re listening to my music, I will let them skip through the songs and choose one they like (because I know I like allof them), but the playlist is already open and they cannot see the others. Not that I’m worried about being judged—although judgment could be made—they are just personal enough for me not to want to share.
I’m reading through my playlists now and laughing. There are over 60. Three of them are for my kids (one for each separately, and one of music they both like), maybe 20 of them are separate artists, and the rest are people and very specific moods (I have four for anger and five for happy/positive, sorted by my own idea of subtle nuances). I even have a playlist of songs that I absolutely hate but love the lyrics to. If I were to judge myself (aside from thinking I had fabulous taste in music), the first assumption I would make was ‘fickle.’
But you’ll have to take my word for that. Because you won’t see the rest.
–Timing is a funny thing. I just–I mean just–got ‘nominated’ on Facebook by my best friend Donna to list my top 10 ‘influential’ albums. And I can’t. There are too many levels of ‘influential’, and tomorrow I may feel differently!