Monday, February 20, 2006

Music as Identity - Part 9 - Summation

There it is. Industrial, New Wave, Singer Songwriters, Electronica, Dance, Grunge, and Misc. And no one is happier to see this series over than myself. It has lived on out of duty to finish what I started. Now I can move on to other things. That said...

It has also been interesting to see really where my tastes lie. Although I casually will listen to most types of music, the types that I seek out have fallen under the umbrella of Electronica or New Wave. Industrial , dance, and synth pop fall under electronica. Bands who I considered more mainstream like Duran Duran, Talking Heads, Smithereens, XTC, etc all fall under New Wave according to Wikipedia. So the genres that really have interested me through the years are more narrow than I had originally thought. But as this series shows, it is more complex than just saying I like New Wave and Electronica.

So what was the point of this whole exercise? There were a few. Primarily it was reminising (and rambling), then looking back with some perspective, but also to look back and see how this is representative of my overall identity. Who I am and what part of my identity is expressed through my musical tastes? If it can be summarized, my musical tastes have generally been a step away from mainstream, fairly varied, and contemporary. And that holds for my tastes in other parts of culture and society. One question is how often the musical tastes of others reflects who they are? Or are there really people out there that are Christian conservative who listen to heavy metal or gangsta rap?

As I have been composing this series and looking at the variety (or lack of consistancy if you will) of the music I have listened to, there are some other conclusions. First, my prefered bands at any moment in my life are strongly influenced by the people around me. For each genre I can name one or two people who have introduced me to the music and/or I have shared the interest with. With that said, the ideals and personalities of those people are generally something I had in common with them. And stereotypically, we shared in common those same things with others interested in that type of music. (Yes, I am roughly extrapolating that contemporary minded people are liberals who appreciate art and listen to electronica music.) That may be why there was the connection both on a personal level and on a common interests level. They have been strong friendships since all of them have lasted to this day, some for close to two decades now. So this may be the reason I have felt so strongly about musical taste. And why I feel it is such a telling part of my identity. It is not only about the identity, but also the emotions and memories that they evoke.

1 comment:

John Hill said...

One genre missing from your survey is what I guess you can call world music. I partly say this because it's what I've been getting into lately, specifically African music, with bands like Konono No.1, Amadou & Mariam, Orchestra Baobob, Thomas Mapfumo, etc. One thing about African music that's amazing is that what's in essence popular music is so complex musically, rhythmically. It goes far beyond 4/4 time and the like. I can recommend some specific stuff if yr interested.