Musical Taste and Anxiety

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Musical Taste and Anxiety

Postby Arclight_Dynamo » 06 May 2017, 14:55

So I just watched the VOD of the most recent CrapShoot, and one of the sketches they wrote kind of shook loose some thoughts. I'm not sure how coherent this will be, so I'm just going to get it all down and try to ping it off you fine folks.

I've never been a terribly musical person. Growing up, music seemed like a huge thing for other people, but never for me. Especially in high school. Recently, I've found that I've started to listen to things, and enjoy them - I think a large part of what happened was that I grew up in the 90s, and I just kind of hate the 90s rock/pop sound, which was the only music I heard regularly, so I assumed I didn't like music. Once that musical sound passed, I started to hear other things, and realized that, oh, it was just that particular sound I didn't like.

So I've been listening to a bunch of stuff, and figuring out what my tastes are. One of the benefits of not being connected to music in my teens was that I didn't develop biases about what was "cool" or not. If it sounds good to me, I'll listen to to. And I'm happy to like it, without shame.

But! But, I'm deeply socially anxious. And I'm aware that there's music it's cool to like, and music it's not cool to like. This is where the CrapShoot comes in. Watching it, I could feel the anxiety rising. See, I don't listen to music around other people, because I'm afraid I'm going to get dunked on for liking a thing that I like. Musical people can be... really judgmental and mean, it seems? Not that I'm accusing LRR of that - they were making jokes for a sketch, I get that. It just reminded me of unpleasant people I've encountered in the past.

I don't want to be snubbed, or insulted, or have harsh things said to me just because I like [Band X]. I don't need that abuse. I got enough abuse for other things growing up. And so I avoid any situation that may prompt that abuse. Which means no music unless I'm alone in a car in the countryside, with no one around me. Windows up.

Anyway, I strongly believe in the "If you don't hurt anyone, like what you like, and don't tell people they suck for liking what they like" philosophy. But that doesn't seem to be the way it goes with music. So the whole thing is fraught with anxiety for me. It keeps me from admitting to the things I like, it keeps me from playing music unless I know I'm 100% isolated, and it probably keeps me from engaging with and finding music I enjoy.

Not sure exactly what my point is besides... it sucks? Or maybe I'm wondering if anyone else feels the same way? Dunno. Just kind of wanted to get it out, I guess.
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Re: Musical Taste and Anxiety

Postby Jamfalcon » 06 May 2017, 19:36

I get what you mean, and have a similar backstory. Didn't really get "into" music until I was about 16 because I wasn't really a fan of the pop music of the time, and while my parents listened to a lot of classic rock I liked well enough, I didn't ever really engage with it. But then it was actually through Rock Band/Guitar Hero that I found an outlet to explore music, I think because it wasn't for exploring music, it kind of gave me a chance to get into it that way.

After that, I went through a really fast period over a couple years of exploring different genres and returning to stuff I'd heard growing up that did have a little nostalgia to see if it was up my alley now that I actually had an alley. I ended up finding my niche (some pretty narrow sections of prog rock, mainly), getting really into it, and now I can't imagine not having this music be a part of my life — it's basically always going in my headphones while I'm at my computer.

And while I'm passionate about the stuff I listen to and not embarrassed per se, I do have trouble sharing it. I always think I want to share it, but then I start playing a song for someone and feel really anxious, explain that it's maybe not the artist's best song, or start giving context to justify why I like it. I really want people to like it, but I know my tastes are unusual and I'm fine with that, but I have a hard time conveying why I like what I like (in person more so than in writing).

I'm very lucky that my fiancee has shockingly similar taste in music, but even with her, I get really invested in playing new-to-her music, hoping that she'll like it, as if my worth as a music-enjoyer is judged by other people's perceptions. And when I'm playing stuff for people who aren't into prog at all, it's even worse, because I know they're probably not going to love it like I do.

So yeah, not exactly the same thing you talked about, but certainly in the same general sphere of anxieties.
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Re: Musical Taste and Anxiety

Postby Arclight_Dynamo » 07 May 2017, 12:37

Yes, I think that's probably an expression of the same thing.

It's weird... for whatever reason, it seems that musical taste is in a different category - one more personal and open to judgment - than other expressions of taste. You can say "Bite me, I like sci-fi novels" but you can't say "Bite me, I like Nickelback." So opening your musical tastes to others is, or at least seems, a great deal riskier. It feels more vulnerable.
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Re: Musical Taste and Anxiety

Postby Elomin Sha » 07 May 2017, 16:01

When I grew up I didn't listen to music either, until around 2000 when I had the internet and access to WinMX. That's where I started getting music from anime (New Dominion Tank Police, Bubblegum Crisis 2032), when someone asked me why I liked that music my simple response was: "Why do you listen to what you do, because you like it." I grew up around morons so when they made fun of it saying 'how can you understand ning naa wan chung baa?' I'd rattle off an entire verse and its translation. The confused them enough to the point where they couldn't compete.

When it comes to 'Bite me, I like Nickelback', you can still say that.
Again for me Japanese music: "Why do you listen that?"
"Well, if the music produced over here wasn't overplayed mess, and everyone trying the same sound I wouldn't have gone somewhere else." Look at the US 'rock' bands around the 2000s. Even much of Linkin Park's tracks sound the same.

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Re: Musical Taste and Anxiety

Postby Shortround2099 » 07 May 2017, 17:19

Oh man oh man.

In junior high and high school, it would be normal to be in the car with friends and then my friends would play the name that tune and band in the car. I also didn't grow up with music. Just whatever was on the radio. And not the kind of music my friends were listening to. I'm also not really musically inclined. So even if I did know, it would take me a while or just be plain wrong because I got it confused with a similar song.

As you can probably guess, this led to ridicule that even now I'm a bit gun shy when it comes to music even though I've stopped caring what other people think about my likes of popular culture. Which is probably due to all of that. I learned along the way that none of that matters.

You like what you like. I'm lucky that the friends I keep now aren't really that judgmental when it comes to personal interests.
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Re: Musical Taste and Anxiety

Postby AdmiralMemo » 07 May 2017, 23:45

Arclight_Dynamo wrote:you can't say "Bite me, I like Nickelback."
Bite me. I do like Nickelback. :-P Particularly the video for Savin' Me.

I'm absolutely sure someone on this forum likes the same music you do, and I will personally beat up anyone who "music shames" you. So, maybe a peek into your musical taste? We know you don't like 90's pop/rock, but is there something you do like?

As for me, my music experience has been weird. As a child in the 80s, music was just ad jingles, whatever was in cartoons, and hymns at church, the last of which I found uninteresting and boring at the time. In the 90's as a tween and teen, I did end up liking 90's pop/rock and got into Contemporary Christian Music, like DC Talk and Audio Adrenaline. My forays into OC Supertones during the late 90's is what got me into musical history. I started checking out the 70s, 60s, and 50s in music, as well as the 20s due to the ska. However, I've basically phased out of pop music for the most part since the mid-00's. I've gotten basically into current CCM and chiptunes. So, you look at my music folder and it's a mish-mash of the best of the 50's to 80's, a bunch of 90's stuff, a bunch of Christian stuff, and chiptunes. I'd really like to share some musical experience with people... but the problem I've run into is that the only way I can think of doing that is via streaming, and the music will get muted/taken down due to copyright.

Is anyone aware of a way to collectively listen to the same song at the same time over the Internet, apart from manually just hitting a play button at the same time?

As for the anxiety bit, I've never felt much anxiety about anything, but I have been bashed for my taste in music in the past, so I do have some experience in that realm. The main difference is that instead of producing a fear reaction, it even more cemented the experience for me. It was like "I started liking this just because I liked it, but now, I like it partially out of pure spite, just to say 'Screw you!'"
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Re: Musical Taste and Anxiety

Postby Genghis Ares » 08 May 2017, 17:57

I love music. But I hate people who claim "x band sucks" or "y song is the best. how could you not like this..."

To me, Music is one of the most subjective mediums possible. It affects how you feel and nobody is going to have the same experience with music that everyone else does. Music is more than itself.
You can be critical of lyric choice, voice and instrument quality, or you can hate a song because you've heard it a thousand times and are sick of it, but I think it's bullshit to make a direct sweeping claim that x is bad.

I don't like a lot of rap or modern pop, but I think saying it's bad is bullshit.

I don't even like telling people my musical tastes because it seems so personal to me. So I think people making blanket insults about types of music, specific bands they dislike or songs they hate is ridiculous.

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