People often say they like all kinds of music. They say it, but I never believe it. “Really? ALL kinds? So a rap polka would be on your playlist?” I like a variety of music, but I wouldn’t say I like all music.
For instance, I’ve never liked reggae music. To me, reggae sounds like the band has synchronized hiccups. Whenever some reggae comes on, I shout at the radio, “Can’t you guys all hold your breath for a while? Or take a big drink of water together?” I can’t imagine how Eric Clapton shot the sheriff with his body spasmodically jerking. I imagine a reggae artist’s EKG must give a cardiologist fits.
I’m also not a fan of pure jazz. A little light jazz is OK from time to time, but the hard stuff sets me on edge. To my unsophisticated ears, it sounds like the jazz guys have injected massive amounts of caffeine directly into their hearts, and are now playing millions of random notes as fast as possible. If I listen to two jazz songs consecutively, I start twitching all over. If I make it to four songs, I’m in cardiac arrhythmia, and need to be whacked with the paddles.
Polkas also aren’t my thing, with the exception of the classic Steeler fight song. This song is basically the Pennsylvania Polka with more masculine lyrics. The original version cheered on Franco and Rocky, and Mean Joe and Lynn Swann. It’s been updated a number of times over the years, but it’s still a polka, and I think that held it back a bit. It was somewhat rousing, but you could picture Lawrence Welk doing it, and that took the edge off.
Classical music (as opposed to classic rock) isn’t as popular as it used to be, but I really enjoy some of it. Chopin is my favorite, followed by Debussy and Mozart. A little Beethoven is okay (especially when he’s rolling over), but I don’t get Bach – any of them, including the rocker Sebastian.
Mixing styles of music in a song can lead to something marvelous, but caution is in order. I recently saw an ad for a music book of Black Sabbath songs for ukulele. Now we know what inhabitants of Hades will be forced to listen to for eternity.
We typically like music that moves us, whether it’s physically (boogie on!), or emotionally. It can be simple or complex, as long as we can relate to it on some level. That seems to be harder to do with all the computerized, electronicized, auto-tuned load of crap-olina being hurled at us these days. At what point does it stop being man-made music, and become machine-made?
My advice is, when in doubt about music, always remember the following mantra:
If you like to shake and shimmy,
Go for music that’s vigorous and vim-y.
But if it’s a tedious bore
And leaves you cold at your core,
Just chuck it and gimme some Jimi.