What Got You Into Music? | A Look at How Everyone’s Music Journey is Different
The music spectrum is a broad one to say the least, no matter how intricate you might feel the music you create or listen to is. Whether you’re someone who prides themselves on finding the most obscure records, you listen to whatever Pitchfork or TheNeedleDrop say are good records, or you’re more of a normie’ who listens to whatever single is trending, all of it is idiosyncratic or changes depending on the person.
Although these three broad descriptions don’t fill in every music listener since you have others who are in the classical sense and the few individuals who have a total hatred for most music, they fill in a large number of listeners. Still, it begs the question of how someone ends up being interested in the music they listen to and how their tastes might evolve.
Contrarian or Not
Speaking for myself, at a young age I was more of a contrarian than I am now. I’m nowhere near as opinionated as I was, although I do still hold a bit of judgment on someone’s taste more than I should. Still, given my opinionated and contrariness as a kid, I tended to shift away with whatever was popular at the time.
I can remember hating the trendy song of Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen in high school and The Climb by Miley Cyrus in middle school, but why did I? Regardless of the critical reception of these two songs, why didn’t I enjoy the overall catchiness of both songs like everyone else in my respective schools? The simple answer was because I wanted to be different than everyone else. As edgy and dumb as that might sound, no one has the music critic capabilities in middle school, no matter how interesting their music taste is.
Like anything else, family influence plays a large role in how someone perceives their surroundings, whether it’s with what they hear, enjoy, or grow an interest in. Although my mother has more of a straightforward path with what she enjoys musically as a woman in her 50s, my father has always been interested in music and showed me a number of great bands as a kid.
I was immediately exposed to some of my favorite artists as a child such as Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, The Beatles, and countless others. Although he never showed me some more experimental artists or anything outside of the broad Rock spectrum, it led me down the rabbit hole to where I am today. I feel fortunate to have that exposure at a young age to so many great records.
Outside of what your family influence might have over your music intake, life experiences certainly play a role. There’s a reason why grudge and the emo scene of the 1990s were so popular since the musical motifs across all of these artists spoke to younger generations, similar to how the anti-war rhetoric and the hippie movement of the late 1960s felt so ideal to so many people.
In another sense, there’s the categorization of lifestyles and music. For example, a lot of skaters throughout the 2000s grew up loving Pop-Punk, leading to the numerous Warped Tour Festivals over the years. If I had grown a greater interest in skating at a young age, nor the exposure to the music my dad showed me, it’s possible I would’ve been the stereotypical Pop-Punk kid. Although I was a part of this group for a brief moment in my life, some people stay true to this niche for their entire life.
Besides the standard intake of music for someone who doesn’t play an instrument or sing, there’s the other factor of people who are musicians in waves of technicality. Whether you’re someone who plays guitar occasionally or are in a band that tours, you tend to have a different appreciation than someone with a particular band.
For example, if you play guitar, you might listen to a band just because you enjoy the guitar playing of the group. This isn’t to put musicians on a different pedestal than ordinary music fans, because the reality is we’re all music fans and there doesn’t need to be a hierarchy for stuff like that. The reality is there is a lot of music out there for us to consume and who cares what you enjoy in music. Everything is subjective anyway.
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