Quite frankly, the vast majority of those who claim to “love music” really don’t.
To the vast majority, music is merely another “shibboleth” – a means by which they advertise their Demographic/subcultural”identity”, and – equally important – find others of the same “identity” category – a “herd’ with which to run.
I submit that this is an illegitimate view of “music” – because it requires that one (implicitly or explicitly) reduce music to a mere means – NOT even to artistic expression, or self-discovery or anything of that nature – but to the equivalent of a gang-sign, or “fashion” statement.
A textbook example of this is the fact that teenagers (in particular) are supposed to “love” music. Telingly, the way that they going about “loving” music is radically different from the approach of a someone who genuinely values music:
Just as an example, (White) “folks” around my age were required to (at least pretend to) love the so-called “Seattle Sound”. There was a very specific palette of groups which were relentlessly shoved down our collective throats (primarily by corporate marketartds and spin-pigs who were not teenagers themsevles). Moreover, these “preferences’ in music went hand-in-glove (pun very much intended) with “preferences” in fashion.
Predictably (as anyone with even a reasonably curious mind, and a willingness to venture beyond the incredibly narrow sociocultural “boxes” which we euphemistically label “generation”, “ethnicity”, etc.) – all of this (purportedly) “new” music was incredibly derivative.
The amazing thing about this is: none of the “authorized” subcultures (“alternative”, metal, grunge, punk) would openly admit this fact. At most, one was “permitted” to engage in musicological transgressions (say, listening to material originating from a genre OTHER than the one(s) permitted to your specific ‘identity’) – provided that you did so “ironically”.
That’s where the whole “Gen-X Irony” thing comes in: it serves the dual purpose of “allowing” (White (Gen-Xers to engage with content which is “foreign” to their own subcultural clique – while scoring “points” from their in-group, by means of winking inauthenticity.
Now, this has always been blatantly obvious to me – especially after I made the mistake of actually asking for clarification with regard to a music genre/group someone claimed to “hate”.
Specifically, the genre in question was (predictably) rap, and the individual(s) upon whom I tried this little experiment ranged from significantly older than myself (60+) to teens. (this would probably have been around 2012, the last time I tried something like this).
Basically, it consisted of nothing more than the following: Whenever somebody specifically made a point of openly stating that they “hated” (or even merely disliked) rap, I merely inquired as to WHY.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, the individual(s) were incapable of formulating a coherent reply.
See, here’s my reasoning on this:
- The whole premise of classifying music ‘genres” implicitly – or explicitly – involves grouping musical “products” by means of specific characteristics – choice of instrumentation (if any), vocal style, “permissible” palette of rhythm/key-signatures, chord progressions, subject matter, etc.
- People should be able to explain (at least in some terms) why they like/dislike such “genres” – with reference to the above criteria.
If you are unable to explain why you hate a particular musical ‘genre”, then I am unable to regard your response – no matter how passionate it may be – as anything other than an incoherent tantrum on your part.
Moreover, I really can’t bring myself to give two liquidy shits WHAT you (think you) “like” or “hate”, in most cases.
There are a few exceptions: IF you can articulate what you like about your (supposed) aesthetic ‘tastes”, and I am in a position where I am ‘expected” to buy you a gift — then yeah, you will likely get something I can be reasonably certain that you’ll enjoy.
However, if you are the other variety of person — who cannot articulate their own aesthetic tastes — then in an identical situation, I am more likely to gift you with something originating from the genre you claim to “hate“.
As the old saying goes: try it –you might like it.
There are people who genuinely value music as something other than a demographic Shibboleth.
For example: Paul Pena was one such person:
As chronicled in the the documentary “Genghis Blues”:
The documentary captures the story of blind blues musician Paul Pena. After a brush with fame and success in the 1970s, Pena’s fortunes faded as he dealt with career and health problems.
While listening to shortwave radio, Pena heard a broadcast of throatsinging, the Tuvan art of manipulating overtones while singing to make higher frequencies more distinguishable, essentially making it possible to sing two notes at once. Pena, over the course of several years, taught himself to throatsing to a very impressive degree. He eventually attended a concert of throatsinging and after the concert impressed one of the throatsingers, Kongar-ol Ondar, who invited him to visit Tuva, a republic of the Russian Federation and a formerly independent country from 1921 and 1944 under the name of People’s Republic of Tannu Tuva and the home of throatsinging, to sing in the triennial throatsinging festival held there.
The entire journey, as well as the extraordinary mix of cultures and music, is captured in the documentary.
Think about that: an impoverished blind man – willing to go half-way around the world, to attend a Tuvan throat-singing festival. HE GENUINELY “LOVED” MUSIC.
He also genuinely loved such things as: personal growth, and getting outside of the “boxes” imposed on him by demographics/social isolation/health problems, etc.