Every so often, I realize that my music tastes have shifted--usually not by a lot, but enough so that it's time to go through my iTunes library and delete the tracks that aren't capturing my interest anymore. Right now is one of those times, and it's got me thinking about how my music tastes have evolved across the years.
Though I've always been musically gifted, I haven't always been up to date on the music scene. In fact, it wasn't until middle school that I "discovered" modern music. Before that, I listened to two things: classical music (mostly Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky) and Enya.
The soundtrack of my childhood.
I was a sheltered kid, as I've noted before, and I was pretty happy with my limited music. Just before middle school, thanks to orchestra, I discovered movie scores: specifically, the Pirates of the Caribbean movie score. Now, Pirates, from what I've heard, is the score that normalized listening to movie scores. Before that, mostly only movie and orchestra buffs were interested in the genre. So it's not all that surprising that it was the score that got me into the genre. But I had never seen the movie, and I had no idea what to expect when I bought the CD. I insisted on listening to it in the living room on my mom's CD player the first time because I was scared it might have bad words that my mom would have to protect me from. That's the kind of kid I was.
So you can imagine what a shock it was for me when I got on the bus to middle school for the first time, and a pop music radio station was on. I was downright horrified. Justin Timberlake's "Sexyback" was one of the more popular tracks at the time, and I couldn't believe that people were listening to this song with the word "sexy" in it as if it were a totally okay thing to do. I came home from school and told my mom that they played "bad music" on the bus that included songs about "sexy hippies." (Recently, I realized that the line I'd heard as "go hippie go" was actually "go ahead, be gone with it.")
My mom called the bus service and complained--so for two weeks, they didn't play any music on the bus, which really annoyed the other kids. There was no escaping that radio station and those songs, though, not at a public middle school. I had no choice but to suffer through the horror of these extremely sexual, naughty songs.
Middle school on the whole was a huge culture shock for me, but that means it was also a major learning experience. Over time, I adjusted and I grew to better appreciate pop culture. The turning point, for me, came in the form of one song: Nickelback's "Far Away."
Yes, friends. You have Nickelback to thank for my current cultural savviness.
"Far Away" was the first song I heard on the pop radio station that I really liked. It spoke to my romantic sensibilities, and it was slow and soft enough not to scare me. I also didn't realize until a couple years later that it included the word "hell." (When I found out, it broke my heart, because it meant I couldn't listen to it anymore, haha. Today, I still do try to avoid songs with cuss words and sexual content, but I'm much more flexible with their poetic use.)
Once I'd found one song that I liked, the floodgates opened. I realized that a lot of these songs actually weren't that bad--some of them I really liked. And as I also opened myself up to the world of TV and movies, starting with Disney, I found more and more music to listen to. By the end of middle school, I had a bunch of new favorites: Nickelback, Rihanna (I was too innocent still to understand the sexual references in most of her songs), High School Musical, Cascada, and Hannah Montana. One of my friends noted that most of my favorite songs at the time had to do with love: not surprising, given my personality.
In high school, my tastes continue to evolve. I moved beyond Disney channel (very slowly), and I realized that I was a lot more interested in listening to male singers than female ones. Daughtry, Lifehouse, and Linkin Park became my new favorites, along with a growing list of movie score composers. My senior year of high school, Linkin Park's "Waiting for the End" was my favorite song.
Then in college, thanks to my growing interest in social media and my one year as a music major, my music tastes expanded again. I discovered indie and alternative artists that weren't on the Top 40 lists, and I also started finding recommendations based specifically on the music I already liked. At this point, my taste swayed from "male voice" back to "female voice" again, and my new favorite artists became MS MR, Florence + the Machine, Sia, and Bishop Briggs. I also developed a new interest in groups that cover popular songs, like The Piano Guys and Pentatonix.
Today, I seem to be moving back into the realm of "male voice" with Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco, whom I'd always appreciated to some degree, as my big faves. I'm more interested now in fast-paced music with a strong beat, as opposed to the softer love ballads from before. But always, there are constants in the music I love. From the beginning, I've preferred really lush, emotional music, a "wall of sound," so to speak, in the standard cello octave range. I tend towards the moody, "emo" side of the music sphere. I like string instruments, especially a full orchestra, and I care a lot about the poeticness of song lyrics. Tchaikovsky and other Romantic-era composers are still my faves in classical music, Linkin Park and Coldplay are long-time staples, half my music library is movie scores, and I do still listen to Enya.
So in the end, wherever my music tastes take me, I know some of it will always be the same. I know that the songs will always reflect who I am as a person. And I know that never again will I be limited to only a couple of artists.
How have your music tastes evolved through the years? Let me know, and I'll be back tomorrow.
Images via therangeplace.boards.net, wikipedia.com, fiesta-magic.com, and theodysseyonline.com.
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