Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The 'E' Word

I have noticed that guys (in general. There are exceptions. And a lot of women are like this too, though I've noticed it mostly in men) have a bit of a quietly smug superiority complex about their music taste. They also think they are fairly unique in what they listen to.

Now just to clarify, I am one of the worst offenders. The most scathing insult you could ever give me about what I listen to would be to say I was narrow-minded. Ohhh man. My skin would turn green, muscles would grow, clothes would rip. Right now my instinct is to list off all the many genres of which I am savvy. But that would be uncouth.

Another thing about guys and musical taste is that they are very, very predictable. Ask a guy what they listen to, and I will guarantee you they will use the exact same word. Every time. You know what the word is don't you? Eclectic! Another frequent term used is 'a bit of everything'. The painful thing is that I use the 'E' word every time I'm asked, while smugly thinking I'm the only one of my species using the word accurately.

But we love to use the 'E' word, for in a few heady syllables it says 'oh, I could list all the many multitudinous widely varying styles of music I listen to, but it would potentially take all day, for they are so many, and you probably wouldn't have heard of them anyway'.

I guess what I'm wondering now is, does it make you any less of a music taste tool if you realise and admit you are a music taste tool? Probably not sadly.


RodeoClown said...

I think most people's music tastes are eclectic.

I like (some) rock, (some) electronica, (some, but not much) rap, and (some) metal, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

I think defining your taste by genre is probably a stupid idea.

I (think I) like stuff with a good hook, interesting (and fun) lyrics, and stuff that doesn't sound like it's just been phoned in (unless the song is literally on a phone - Lionel Ritchie, I'm looking at you).

RodeoClown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think EVERYONE thinks their taste in music is better than anyone else's! I feel so uncool for not using the word 'eclectic' before - I've always summed up my taste with, "Oh, I like a bit of everything!" (feel free to gag now).

It's interesting that (I think) eclectic is cool if you listen to a mix of, say, The Beatles, Soundgarden and The Audreys, but totally NOT COOL if you listen to a mix of Celine Dion, Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift. There's good eclectic and bad eclectic.

And I think it does make you less of a tool if you realise and admit you're a tool! As long as it actually makes you pause before judging other people's collections and keep your mouth closed when you're tempted to say something music-taste-tool-y...

Jessica said...

I go the opposite way, I'm not eclectic, I'm kinda narrow, which also is a tooly thing to say. I listen to music other people haven't heard of, which is instantly pretentious. I know it sounds pretentious to say Hem and Josh Ritter and First Aid Kit, and there is nothing much edgy about that music, but cos it isn't Florence + machine or Flo Rider, I get blank looks and I feel like people assume it's too cool for school. When really I'm not cool enough for Florence. Anyway, I reckon the opposite of eclectic is also a minefield for tools.

Laetitia :-) said...

You could instead smugly reply with 'catholic' - that'll get you some strange looks and leave people thinking that the only things you listen to are Gregorian chants. :-)

I've now reached old fogey stage and the stuff I listen to hasn't really been 'here and 'now' since the early 2000s - at least in the secular domain. In the Christian domain I've had to stop buying CDs because (i) I'm unemployed but primarily because (ii) are shelves have overflowed and we need to cull before adding any more (how do I cull my old favourites when simply looking at the covers - who needs to listen - brings back great memories?).

Laetitia :-) said...

That should be our shelves. I need to go to bed earlier.

Findo said...

We all like to think that the music we listen to is a reflection of our identity (while I'd agree with Begbie that it actually is formative) so it makes sense that we don't like to portray ourselves in narrow ways, but also like to feel like we are unique.

But pop music is still pop music, even if it is an obscure indie band.

Wendy said...

This is hilarious. What a great observation! The other day I heard a conversation between my husband and an American who used the E word. I nearly burst out laughing, but that would have been difficult to explain, so I laughed quietly.