Dear Strangers, Stop Asking This Question

I heart music

This happens to me a lot: I meet new people and they ask me what I do/want do to (I’m at the slash in between) and I tell them that I really love music/want to be a music journalist and they go “oh, what kind of music do you like?” And I’m all, “um well, I like everything? But, uh, indie I guess?” And I feel like it sounds as if I don’t actually have a clue or I’m insincere and I’m saying indie because I’m trying not to sound “mainstream” and be cool. In short, it’s kind of a hellish experience for my awkward paranoid self.

I obviously think of the right thing to say long after the moment has passed, but now that I have the time and am a safe distance from face-to-face human interaction, I think I can express what exactly makes that question problematic for me. I do like everything – some of the album artists I’ve listened to this past week include Mr Little Jeans, James Vincent McMorrow, Courtney Barnett, Kate Nash, Fat Tony, J Dilla, Chromeo, The Beatles and Bonobo; yesterday I had myself a Brit-pop appreciation hour (with Blur, Pulp, Suede and this one song by a band called Space that reminded me of the MTV sing along show “Say What” #whenMTVusedtoplaymusic) and I’d say that two of my all-time favourite songs of all-time are Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Midnight Train To Georgia” and Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” (even though I don’t agree with the heteronormative marriage ideals pushed in the Romeo & Juliet song it’s just so great to sing).

I can also honestly say that there’s definitely music that just “isn’t me” and I know I’ll probably never go there. Today I read an album review to see if I should give it a listen and I a) learnt the term sludge rock and b) respectfully decided to play something else. And besides, even with terms as niche as sludge rock, there is also a mega-ton of songs that plain, old defy genre categorisation.

But more than that though, the point for me is that I love everything about music. I love that it has actual physical effects on the human body and we don’t quite know why people need music but know that we definitely do. I love the culture from it – the art, the styles, the identities of listeners – and all the human stories that exist around that. I love the important social conversations it can spark. I love its peopleness and connectivity. I fucking love dancing. And that’s why I can’t answer to what kind of music I like because it’s not about just the music. It’s the whole thing. So I guess that right there is the short answer, though I’m not quite sure whether it actually answers the question or not. Anyhow, I think it’s a dumb question to ask in the first place.

P.S. This is my favourite song for today:

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