“And you know, art as commerce, doesn’t really make too much sense,
they don’t go together.” -Talib Kweli
When I ask someone what kind of music they listen to, and they reply “Some of everything” or “All kinds” I immediately call them a liar. No one voluntarily listens to every kind of music, if you listen to Metal you probably don’t also like Country, if somehow you do, then you might not listen to much K-Pop. I don’t listen to everything, but I do have a diverse musical taste. Everything from Lana Del Ray, Lupe Fiasco, Utada Hikaru, The Bird and the Bee, Florence + The Machine, Frank Ocean, Jean Grae, BoA, and Kanye West. It never gets old to see people’s reaction when Ray Gun plays right before Lamborghini Angels.
The tricky genre of course is Christian music. This one is weird, because I’m a Christian, I probably should like listening to such music. But I just don’t, it feels too preachy. Of course mainstream rap music is almost impossible to defend either. It is a perfect example of the financial heights that can be achieved by appealing to the lowest common denominators: materialism and misogyny. Which is why I listen to good hip-hop (which some would call an oxymoron) instead.
One of the many convenient things about being of mixed race is the playlist titles I can get away with. There’s “white music” which oddly enough covers most of my white music: Sara Schiralli, Florence, Adele, etc. And “black music” which (you guessed it!) is mostly rap mix-tapes from artists that you probably haven’t heard of. So depending on who I’m pretending to be that day, I’ll play the appropriate playlist.
Regardless of genre, the most creative music will usually be independent of any major label and will usually be free. Which is why my acquisition efforts are mostly spent on free mix-tapes and bandcamp albums. Once real money and promoters get involved, almost all of the original artistic creativity falls by the wayside. Which would explain why everything played on the radio sounds the same. And that’s not just my whining about ‘whippersnappers these days’, it’s been proven. Researchers have been studying pop songs from 1955 to 2010 and have verifiable evidence that there has been a “progressive homogenization of the musical discourse” resulting in the chords, melodies, and timbre palette diminishing. So the pop music of today really does all sound the same.