In a word: eclectic. And no, I’m not going for the “I knew about this band/artist/song WAY before any of you losers” merit badge ’cause chances are that I started liking the music I do because of other people’s recommendations. So, maybe “eclectic” isn’t the right word. How about “like a gumball” or like a katamari?
Take jazz, for example. I started listening to it in high school because I joined the jazz ensemble. Can’t remember why I joined the ensemble though, something about the director needing trombones and me needing to look good for the director ’cause he was hot and I had quite the crush on him or something. But I grew to like that particular genre of music because I was playing it and our director recommended listening to it if we could. I’m not sure if I was any good at it and I was never too fond of improvising when solo time came around, but it’s stuck with me ever since. I may not be a jazz encyclopedia or anything, able to rattle off songs by a certain such-and-such individual or whatever, but I know what I like. There’s something about an upright bass, a lively piano, and the constant brushing of a cymbal that cannot be denied… And then there’s the brass section, adding both depth and breadth to the piece… Wonderful.
It’s the same for one genre that I never thought I’d grow to tolerate, dare I say grow slightly fond of: country. Yes, I was one of those that would react horribly, shuddering on command at the mention of beer and achey breakey hearts. But last year, my roommate would listen to it whenever she was studying and, being in the zone studying or doing something, I’d just sit there and listen. Again, there are some songs that make me cringe at their lyrics, but I find myself shutting them out and just enjoying the twang of the guitar in those instances. It’s not like all country songs are about rain and whiskey or finding tractors to be sexy, after all.
And then there are those songs that I began listening to because of the people that surround me. From there (thanks to websites like Pandora and Spotify), I’ve found artists that create music that I find resonates with me. I branch out further and further from the seeds and find music that makes me feel, which is probably the most important quality that I’m looking for in my tunes. Above anything else, above even understanding what the lyrics mean or what kind of genre the song finds itself in, if a certain song can make me feel in a certain way at a certain time, then odds are good that I’ll like it and add it to my music library. As a result, shuffling through my tracks will unearth some things that I’ve added a long time ago and then forgotten, artists that I like but haven’t really “followed” religiously. The result is usually rapture as I go through my collection, occasionally thinking back to the time that I added this track or another.
I suppose if I had to sum up my tastes in a phrase, it’d be something like “They’re my feelings and I’ll play them if I want to.” Does that make sense?