Saturday, February 6, 2010


I admit, this issue hasn't bothered me so much as it used to, now that I'm older, and the people I spend time with are, too.  But while it used to bother me a lot more, I couldn't put my finger on it, and now I think I can do so to some extent.

A lot of people, teens especially, talk about how so-and-so is SO perfect for them because they like the same music!  Or how, "Oh, I don't know, he seems all right, but he likes THESE BANDS instead of the ones I listen to!"  I was reminded of this recently, when I last put myself through Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me," a song that has problems EVERYWHERE.  Attractive male friend, why are you dating your current girlfriend when she doesn't like the same music you do?  I mean, have you HEARD that your friend Taylor Swift Character loves the music you do?  How could you be so STUPID, you know?  Clearly Taylor Swift Character is the right match for you!

I don't think I've ever dated anyone with similar taste in music.  Or, when I think about it, movies.  The closest I've gotten was my college boyfriend, who would watch Friends with me, and who I got into Psych.  And even then, he wouldn't watch Supernatural with me, and I would sort of zone out when he started talking about Doctor Who.  And while it's good to have things in common, I think a lot of people would agree that as long as you're not annoyed to shit about someone's taste in music, movies, television, or even their hobbies and habits, it's really not a good way to measure compatibility.

But it's not just that in reality, you're not going to find your perfect match by searching for someone with the same list of music as you have on your Facebook profile.

The other day, I was thinking about the bands and artists I listen to, and which songs I like.  I've found that quite often, while I enjoy a wide variety of music, very specific songs tend to mean something more to me than others.  Not simply because, "Oh, this was the song so-and-so and I first danced to!" or linking them to specific events.  Some songs just evoke specific feelings in me, sometimes ones I can't name or fully understand.  It's not just pop songs or rock songs, or mainstream music.  Often times, it's classical music as well.  But it's hard for me to tell someone, "Oh, here's a great song!" because the reasons why this song might be great might have more to do with who I am than the song itself.

Music is very personal for me, and private.  That doesn't mean I can't talk about the songs I like.  But whereas it's easy for me to say, "I really like P!nk's music, especially her newer songs," it's not always easy to say, "For some reason, listening to some of her songs, I really feel this emotional ache, like I'm  mourning the loss of someone from my life," or even, "When I listen to the Khachaturian flute concerto*, I find myself closing my eyes and sometimes even crying after certain parts, not because those parts are very lyrical or that they invoke sad memories, but because there's something inexplicably emotionally powerful about some of the passages in the music, and it moves me to tears for no reason I can understand."

All these things are true (of course they're true; I cried while listening to a recording of middle schoolers playing Shenandoah).  But they're deeply personal.  And at the same time, they're a shared experience; there are few people I've met in my entire life who haven't found deep meaning in the music they listen to.  The thing is, though, that liking the same genres or artists as someone you're interested isn't meaningful on its own.

I have no idea if this is true, but I'd like to think that while an emotional connection to specific music is deeply personal, we all have the shared experience of being moved by art in this private, meaningful manner.  So while I might not know if the guy I'm dating feels the same way I do while listening to specific songs or pieces, I do wonder if it's safe to assume that there's something, be it film/TV, music, visual arts, dance, what-have-you, that moves him in a way he finds hard to explain.

Meanwhile, time to listen to some of my music now.  This playlist is a mix, with mostly fun listening songs.  But there are a couple songs that really just blow me away, quietly, so you wouldn't notice just watching me listen.

(Random aside, but shit, the lead singer of OneRepublic has a higher range than I do.  I dislike this development.)

* There really isn't a Khachaturian flute concerto.  There's the violin concerto.  Jean-Pierre Rampal asked Khachaturian if he would please write a flute concerto, and Khachaturian declined because he took some sick pleasure in knowing that his decision would one day break my heart.  Instead, he allowed Rampal to transcribe the concerto for flute.  It's one of the most difficult pieces of music I've ever played, and it's one of my favorite pieces of flute music to listen to (the other is Ibert's flute concerto, which is also fucking difficult, but at least it was written for flute, so there are sometimes places to breathe!).

1 comment:

  1. I tell ya, I've always hate the "obviously we're in love because you love I Am Ghost as much as I do."