Music is Subjective

It may come as a surprise to you, dear reader, that I’m a bit of a cynic. I know, I hide it well. I tend to become overly angry and irritated at little things, and sometimes I rant about them on the internet, because why not? I realise the irony of becoming annoyed at other people who do the same, however, lately I’ve noticed a trend online of other people being irritated when it comes to music, and I feel it’s important to point something out:

Music is subjective. If one person really likes a new song, but another person hates it, it doesn’t make either person right or wrong. People have different tastes, and obviously music isn’t the only area where this applies – comedy, art… hell even video games to a certain extent. You’ll notice that while there is a big business in reviewing films, because while different people prefer different genres, films can largely be rated as good or bad, there isn’t a business to review music. Oh sure, you’ll see the occasional article when a band releases a new album, comparing the style to their previous work, or to work of similar bands, but there’s no real way of making your mind up on an album without hearing it, because everyone’s taste in music is different.

Before I go any further, I’ll just point out where I’m coming from on the music spectrum. My taste is quite varied, from pop rock like The Beatles and Red Hot Chili’s, to ‘indie’ rock like the Killers and Kings of Leon, to heavier rock like Metallica and Rise Against, and then some completely different genre’s like orchestral, reggae and country. I tend to stick to certain artists rather than genres, and I dislike most popular music – not necessarily because its popular, although most pop is manufactured to make money rather than create music, so it certainly has something to do with it – but really because I just don’t enjoy most music released by big name pop stars. I don’t consider myself a music hipster (even in this day and age, listening to the beatles, the most successful band of all time, couldn’t really be considered ‘different’), and if I like a new pop song that comes out, I’ll listen to it.

So, onto my point. I’ve noticed a trend over the last year or so, from places like youtube, facebook and 9gag, where people will just not stop bitching and complaining about current big names in pop like Justin Beiber, and how the fact that they listen to older bands or rock somehow gives them some moral superiority. The funny thing is, its gotten to the point now where I wouldn’t even know who Justin Bieber was if it wasn’t for all the people talking about how much they hate him. Newsflash: constantly mentioning the guy boosts his overall saturation in society. If you really dislike him, stop making him bigger than he already is by constantly talking about him. I’ve never actually heard any of his songs – he’s a generic boy band type thats aimed at teen girls, and so I know I’m not interested in his music. I never discuss him because his existence doesn’t affect how I listen to music.

And yet the amount that I hear about him and other pop names I’m not interested in is staggering. The most common things I see are people raging about other people clueless about famous bands and forever talking about current pop names. First off, you can’t hate them because they like this type of music. As I already mentioned, music is subjective, and what sounds like pure awfulness topped with terribad to you may sound fantastic to them. It’s fair to show these people other types of music – there’s a fair chance that they would like other music more, but just haven’t been exposed to it. It was years before I finally sat down and listened to the Beatles, and now I listen to their songs almost everyday. But if they don’t like it, there’s nothing more you can do. Either don’t talk about music around these people, or just don’t talk to them at all.

I understand that some people are forced into being around people that have different music tastes – people still at school, or who have younger siblings or kids that are into different things to you. But constantly arguing about it, and dedicating hours of your life to flaming pop names and people who listen to them isn’t going to change anything – they’ll still like their own type of music, and you’ll have wasted your time. Justin Bieber may very well be a total douchebag – I have no idea, I’ve never heard his music or watched/read any interview with him – but at least he doesn’t spend his time raging about others on youtube comments. If you’ve ever intentionally found out more about someone you don’t like just to make yourself more angry or so that you have more things to talk about when you start arguing with someone about it, you need to sit back and seriously evaluate how you spend your free time.

If you write ‘the dislike bar is the size of Justin Beibers penis’ on an AC/DC video on youtube – firstly, you’re not funny. I mean, seriously, you’re not in any way original or witty and you’ve wasted everyones time, including your own. Secondly – please, for the love of god, just spend less time talking about something you hate and more time listening to what you like. No matter how bad you think Justin Biebers music is, it isn’t going to suddenly make Thunderstruck any less awesome.

Remember, if you meet a lot of people that are idiots and who also like pop music, don’t then assume that all people that listen to manufactured pop are idiots. Likewise, just because someone is into the same music as you doesn’t mean that they’re not a total douche-canoe (not sure where that phrase came from, but I quite like it). Evaluate people on their personality, not their taste in music. Or if you’re too lazy for that, do what I do and hate everyone from the start. I find it saves time.

Thanks for reading. Remember you can see a new post here every sunday, or you can subscribe for email alerts or follow me on twitter @heroicrant.

/end rant


3 Responses to “Music is Subjective”

  1. This is my favourite post of yours so far πŸ™‚
    I used to be so suck on a certain genre that everything else was rubbish to me. Now I can quite happily listen to most genres and not feel the need to rage about them. It’s like your taste for vegetables changing as you grow up…

    • I’m not sure if you meant suck or stuck, but either way I lol’d. And I haven’t had a particularly similar experience – some music types just sound like ass to me, I just don’t dislike people for enjoying it. Besides, there are normally plenty of other things to dislike about people πŸ˜›

  2. Poul Erik Dyreborg Says:

    Right music is subjective but… I’ve been addicted to music since I was born (1962) and I do love music and wouldn’t want to live without it. I listen to music, I play music and I even create music.

    In my opinion there’s only two kind of music – and sometimes they mix πŸ™‚

    1) Music for the masses.. aka pop music. Music created for the sole purpose of entertainment og money making.

    2) Music for arts sake… that could be classical music, jazz, blues, rock and even some pop music. Most music in this catagory is not popular though – often is appeals only to a small group of people.

    So if you want a challange in listning to music try out Frank Zappa’s ‘Chunga’s Revenge’ or Porcupine Tree’s ‘Warszawa’ or the weird world of Ozric Tentacles ‘Sunrise festival’ is a nice album for a start. It contains a DVD as well as the CD. … I could go on for ages but I wont πŸ™‚


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