Accounting for taste

Two thoughts following on yesterday’s post.

One thought has to do with sameness. People tend to dismiss bands they don’t like by saying “All their songs sound the same.” But that’s true of all bands, pretty much. REM sounds like REM . Muse sounds kinda like Radiohead plus ELO, maybe, but they still sound like Muse. Yes, most artists of any longevity grow and change a bit, but some underlying consistency of sound or style is the way you maintain a fan base.

I don’t listen to much thrash metal, but it’s an interesting exercise to peek in occasionally and try to see if I can distinguish between good and bad thrash metal, i.e. what makes any particular thrash metal album popular versus another that goes in the discount bin. Maybe you like it and I don’t, but if I train my ear a good thrash band doesn’t really sound more homogeneous than anybody else.

Second thought has to do with my own peculiar taste. I find that I like music that makes me laugh. Supermassive Black Hole makes me laugh. It’s kooky and bombastic. Leave (REM), Worldwide Suicide (Pearl Jam) and Is It Any Wonder (Keane) make me laugh because they all utilize this brazenly monotonous synth beat. Adam Ant and Billy Idol make me laugh because it’s all so faux-serious, wink-wink. Hollaback Girl makes me laugh because of the marching band base drum.

I may have poor taste in music, but I do manage to enjoy myself. Isn’t that the point?