I know that Friday night at the bar is not the best place to discuss your innermost fears, deepest insecurities, or even the brightest parts of your soul. But if I ask you for your musical tastes and you just reply «A bit of everything»—or something along those lines—I’ll just assume you’re a doormat (and that’s coming from the stereotypical high school nerd!)
People have been sharing music since the beginning of time. I don’t know if there was such a thing as wax cylinder piracy, but I bet there were attempts. Pretty much all music media used when I was born (vinyl records, CDs, cassettes) can be copied and reproduced in one way or another. A significant portion of today’s population learned to press «Rec» and «Stop» at critical moments so that the DJ’s voice wouldn’t mar the mixtape. And today, even if some people say we’re «post-MP3», there’s still loads and loads of music being shared all around the place.
So unless you’ve been a literal hermit, chances are you have had contact with music in many ways, shapes and forms. I only want to know which ones you prefer.
«Oh you know, a bit of everything» tells me jack shit. Just on my commute alone I can easily hear cumbias, rap, prog rock and Baroque before I climb onto the bus. It doesn’t take any particular genius to know that even those are very broad genres and there’s many ways of breaking them apart (by country of origin, subject, instruments…)
«A bit of everything», without any follow-up, just tells me you don’t pay attention to what you hear, or that you don’t care enough about what you listen.
And I’m not advocating for any particular «highbrow» music, either. I’m saying that I respect the guy who chooses to only listen to Los Ángeles Azules’ cumbias over the one who just says they listen to anything and everything.
«But I don’t think I could tie myself down to any particular genre» is even more cringe-inducing. No one is asking you to marry a human-named, ill-defined label that we call «genre». I just want to know if you ever include, say, Scottish folk on your auditory diet, or if you only listen to chiptunes while focusing intensely.
«A bit of everything» hasn’t meant shit for at least half a century. I don’t want to know every single thing you listen to, either. I’m merely surveying, I wish to know if you lean towards the acoustic, or the electronic, or the distinction doesn’t matter with you. I wish to know if Spanish Folk Metal is banned from your life, or if you listen to Latin American Feminist Hip-Hop at all.
And it’s fine to say you don’t know. Some people truly do not care about it and never wear headphones. Some people do listen to whatever’s «on the radio» but don’t care for music itself. That I don’t agree with, but can respect.
But saying you listen to «a bit of everything» in order to either appear a cosmopolitan person, a connoisseur, a freethinker, a rebel, a non-conformist, a know-it-all, a devil-may-care free spirit or anything like that…
You can keep it to yourself. The rest of us end up in weird parties, at strangers’ basements, listening to weird shit and having a blast.
Not ashamed to be part of OpinionQuest 2021