There have been times in the past where I was in deep conversation about music with friends. It seems that if you appreciate it as an art form, there are opinions to be had on the subject. You stand to testify to a jury of devout believers on what is good music, what is bad music, and if there should be such a concise division, let alone who should make that decision. Despite desires to not be judgmental, there is not one single person out there who is wholly without opinion. It begs to question, then, who decides what is good and what is bad?
I once read in a book by Chuck Klosterman that if you are ever asked what kind of music you like, and you reply with the generic “everything” that you are a person who has not formed an opinion. You are a person who does not feel with deep emotion towards a single given thing. If you listen to Britney and then turn around and bring out Brand New, are you not just replicating what the masses do? What if what you like about music are the various combinations and the endless possibility of discussion the lyrics unfurl? All because I am willing to open my mind and my ears to the multitude of genres that exist, does that mean I am not passionate? How come I cannot be passionate about music as a whole, not just the parts that create the whole?
I have a friend who loves rock n’ roll. But his definition of rock n’ roll is the only one he will use to discuss the subject. He does not take into account the various sub-genres, or the creation of new ones. He began liking bands in his early twenties, and has been running in the same rut since then. I love his music, and I love how he has introduced me to those new old songs, but his strict guidelines for determining what is good and what is bad has led him to consistently disapprove of any new act that he comes across. His opinion brings him back to his great loves. My great fear is that I will end up stuck in a monotonous relationship with the same five bands for as long as we both shall live.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not insisting upon giving up the favorites. I keep my adoration for bands that have stuck with me through good times and bad, but it baffles me when people begin turning their backs on acts because they do not fit the bill of a long-standing definition. If we did not open our minds and ears to new thoughts and sounds, the progression of art – not just music, but all forms of self-expression – would stall leaving us in a perpetual state of unrest. We progress through change. And without change, where would the excitement be? How would the six billion people in the world define themselves? We would be a homogenous group and there would be no way to stand out.
Maybe it’s not that I do not have strong opinions about one given facet of the musical landscape, but that I have a strong opinion about music in general. The various facets, like in a diamond, create its unique appeal. I have found a perfect fit; the inclusions creating the unique surface of my musical landscape. Let it shine.