The “Science” of Music Preference

Think about all the music you think is good. Now think about all the music you think is bad. Why do you like what you like and hate what you hate? Good music, bad music. Is there really a clear-cut definition for either? No matter how hard you may try to prove me wrong, the answer is no. Your definition of good music and bad music is always going to differ with at least one, if not MOST other people. So is there a science as to why we like what we like and vice versa?

On my blog, my primary goal is to provide music reviews that, while very opinionated, assert my strong belief that no music is ever bad. I’ve said it about Beckii Cruel, I’ve mentioned it in conversations with other bloggers, I preach it to people in my life outside of my lime green Dell Inspiron Laptop. I strongly believe that all music is created because at least one person somewhere wanted to hear it, and that one person’s self-expression should not be stifled.

What causes our individual requirements for self-expression as far as music is concerned? We all have our reasons. I’ll list a few of mine:

1.) I use music to help me reminisce about the past. If I associate a certain song with a certain event, I connect that song to the event. Thus, by playing the song I can relive the event more vividly.
2.) I like to laugh. I listen to goofy music from children’s shows, video games, you name it to make myself laugh. I mean, I’m addicted to this song right now, and I’m not ashamed to admit it either. 🙂
3.) I choose music based on what I see in myself. This is to say that I choose songs that fit my personality, or feel like they were “written about me.” I think we’ve all had at least one experience like that.
4.) I like a catchy melody or a good beat. Simple as that.

So what about what we call “bad music?” Why is it bad? Here are my reasons:

1.) I reject music that conflicts with my personal beliefs and/or outlook on life. I don’t listen to much music that says that life is terrible because I love being alive, and I never listen to songs with excessive swearing. I don’t swear, and hearing profanities over and over and over and over and over again makes me uncomfortable. Not to mention that it is dreadfully trite.
2.) I reject music performed by vocalists I deem as “untalented.” We all have our standards as to what we think is a good singer and a bad singer. I don’t listen to Christina Aguilera because I hate her voice, but I acknowledge and respect that many people regard her as one of the most talented artists on the face of the planet.
3.) I often reject music that had succumbed to commercialism. When I think a band or artist has “sold out” (think of An Café) I typically ignore their work.

As you can see from the above lists, there is no legitimate proof to define any music I hear as good or bad. It is a matter of distinguishing fact from opinion. All of my numbered statements above were obviously opinions.

So, is there a science to what we deem to be good or bad music? I think not. All people have their own standards for musical quality, which are influenced by too many sources to name. We are all unique, as individuals and as connoisseurs of music. So take a step back the next time you think a piece of music or artist is completely terrible. Its okay to feel that way, but take the time to recognize there is at least one person in this world who likes it. You’ll feel better and gain a deeper appreciation for music as a whole. Music connects us all.



Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles

5 responses to “The “Science” of Music Preference

  1. Pingback: This trader has predicted a minor pullback for BRCM | Cosmetology and Beauty Careers

  2. Haha all I could think of while I was reading this was how much I disliked AKB48’s Ponytail single because there was practically no effort put into the singing. It really is a bland single, but all the AKB wota don’t care that much. The B-sides make up for the boringness of the A-side though. Plus I can understand why people would like it, I mean I like Momosu’s new single and a lot of people don’t. I think I base mine a lot on the feeling put into the song (which is why Nagi/Gazelle will probably be favorite singer forever hahaha…).

    All in all, very good analysis. 🙂

  3. OMG. ~”If you can read ‘a-t, at’ then can read…” hahaha That is a good sounding song. Just played it twice and now it’s in my head. XD

    Amazingly well-written Alisha. You’re wisdom shows beyond your years (and tiny ears).

    When it comes to ‘mew-sick, music’, I do not think I can disagree with any of you opinions above. After all, music is opinion. More than that, I refer to music as “Heart and Soul”. I like to say “Music = Life” (music is life). Without music, Earth would be a terribly-depressingly boring place to BE. Am I right? (or course I is!)

    Just because I like to write a lot (and b/c I’m not as busy am I say I am), I’ll reply to your numbered list with numbered comments! >:D

    1. It’s difficult to ignore an emotional/situational/time-oriented connection to music, especially when that song is from a defining moment in your life…or so they would have me think. I find it super-d-duper odd that, while I cannot remember my high school grad. song, I can clearly remember large chunks of: Sesame Street, Barney, Power Rangers, and even Pokemon TV show theme songs. Actually, all those were memorized through repetition…CRAP! That ruins my point. *fizzle*

    2. I often listen to music just for giggles. Take Tenacious D for instance. While I don’t listen to them anymore, I used to all the time b/c they made me laugh. I listen to The Lonely Island. Currently, thanks to some loca chica…I have a thing for this Korean…E.via is it? Darn rapper girl makes me giggle. XD Quote my gf: “Oh my God…”

    3. My YUI falls into this category. While it’s difficult to relate to female artists in some ways, YUI’s lyrics tend to be more universal. Just reading them lifts my spirits, and I often remember the key meanings behind her songs, though I also often forget…it’s so much harder to manage now that I listen to such a large throng of artists. Gosh, chaotic good me. @_@

    4. Darn skippy!

    Dislike: (I don’t use the word “hate”, b/c I hate it.)
    1. I’m not sure about triteness but, I find it very difficult to connect to many different genres here in the States. One thing about Asian music that is SO liberating is the ignorance of lyrical definition. Without knowing the meaning of a song, I can fully enjoy the beats and vocals without all the mucky English meaning getting in the way. Thug rap, Country, Classical Rock, Gospel, Emo, Hardcore…these are just a few genres that really get of my nerves LYRICALLY (as well as melodically for the most part). Regardless of language, I try not to listen to songs that make me feel uncomfortable. Like my girl says, we only listen to music that we wouldn’t be embarrassed to play for anyone we know (save for Otsuka Ai, she’s my closet-kept secret).

    2. balbasaur

    3. Not sure what that’s all about. Some of my friends are always saying that this band and that band have “sold old” and crap. Really though, if I can’t tell any difference in musical quality, then I don’t give a care.

    “Music connects us all.” More than we will ever know. Music transcends language, time, and distance. It reaches far and touches billions of hearts. ❤

    • That WAS a long comment! But I liked it, don’t get me wrong.

      I hope you don’t totally hate my guts for putting the “if you can read” song in your head. I sing it to people and then they are like “ugh, stop that! I’m going to be hearing this in my sleep!”

      YUI is like her own genre. I agree that her lyrics are crafted with expertise. “To Mother” is a simple batch of lyrics but with the melody of the song it made me break down and cry.

  4. haha. I was half expecting it to say my message was too long to be posted. 😛

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