What your music says about you

Dan Almasi, Staff Writer

“Hey, I like your shirt,” I say to the random kid wearing a Killers t-shirt sitting across from me in Fireside Lounge. Killers t-shirt kid and I exchange a few words for the remaining fifteen minutes until we have to go to class, about how we’ve never seen The Killers live, but would do unholy things for the chance. Killers t-shirt kid is cool. He is cool because he and I share a similar music taste, and for fifteen minutes we are best friends, simply because we share a connection in that we have similar taste in music.

My actual best friend and I have almost identical music taste, as do my girlfriend and I, and it definitely strengthens the bond I share with each of them.

Music is a motivator; it’s something that inspires us. So, shouldn’t what kind of music you listen to say something about who you are, who you want to be, and speak to your dreams and aspirations? I think so.

But a lot of my close friends listen to music that I can’t stand, and it’s a reminder why we’re good friends, but not best friends.  The only reason I’m so uncompromising about good music is that it sets the mood, the vibe, if you will, of a party or social event. It’s a make-or-break factor that separates a good time from a great time.

A friend decides to take it upon himself to commandeer my speaker at a party, and play “Bandz A Make Her Dance!” Oh no. By the third verse, the overwhelming urge to hurriedly bestow all of my singles and fives upon the nearest dancing female overcomes me, and I am left penniless. I suppose I just can’t afford this lifestyle.

I respect that everyone has different music tastes, just like everything else in life. Diversity is great. Still, I often feel compelled to ask my closer friends with different music tastes than mine why they enjoy the music they do.

I asked one good friend who prefers rap and hip-hop what he liked about Juicy J, whose music he constantly makes me endure, and his answers weren’t all that thoughtful. I got responses like, “He’s a boss,” and “It’s good to bump to.” I get what he means in the second response, because I’m pretty sure I would like rap if it weren’t for the lyrics. I usually enjoy the beat and background music, I just can’t relate to the lyrics. I’d feel like a morally-sideways person if I chose to listen to it just because of how self-righteous and degrading to other people, especially women, the lyrics usually are.

I’m pretty sure my friend suffers from split-personality disorder, because he constantly tweets about how people disrespect women and even gives advice to others about how to be a better boyfriend and man, yet enjoys misogynistic music that glorifies male-dominance over women. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

One of the nicest kids I know loves Hollywood Undead. I offended him one time by referring to his beloved group as “wannabe Insane Clown Posse”. They sound a bit like the leaders of the juggalos, but that was mainly a reference to the fact that both groups perform with painted faces or masks. Hollywood Undead’s lyrics are also misogynistic, and are also usually aggressive and hateful. I just can’t get into it.

One time, I asked him why he enjoys their music if he wouldn’t want to lead the kind of lifestyle that’s glorified in their music. He said they don’t sing/rap about how he wants to live his life, but how he wants to party. I am a bit wary of inviting him to parties ever since then.

At a party, I’ll play a mix of different stuff like Arctic Monkeys, MGMT, and Kid Cudi to try and please everyone. Sitting around a campfire, I’ve got to be listening to Bob Dylan or Neil Young. When I’m ticked off, I’ll play some Chevelle or Alexisonfire on max volume.

I’m not trying to say I have better music taste than anyone else. No one has better taste in music than anyone else, because like any other views in life, music taste is individual and based on perspective.

My point is that I’ll listen to almost anything as long as the lyrics aren’t hateful (keep in mind that anger and hate are two separate things), misogynistic, egotistical or ignorant. The problem is that so much of today’s popular music is all of those things.

I get that music doesn’t mean as much to everyone as it does to me. I understand that some people don’t really think about the lyrics in a song or what they mean. I know that a lot of people don’t necessarily associate with the views of the artists they like. But I will always believe someone’s taste in music says something deeper than it just being their musical preference, whether it’s obviously represented in who they are, or speaks to an innate alter-ego. What does your taste in music say about you?