Tag Archives: music

MOP April 11: An Uncool Taste in Music

A couple years ago I took a field trip to the Oregon Coast with my geology class. I didn’t know anyone except the teacher. My lab partners had signed up for a different field trip. When lunchtime came, I sat by myself and daydreamed, figuring I’d be left alone.

I wasn’t.

A guy with a big smile and a Pink Floyd t-shirt walked over. “Can I sit here?”

“Um, sure!”

General small-talk ensued. He was very nice. We exchanged names and a few other inane bits of information, and then he asked the question. The absolute worst small-talk question of all:

“What kind of music do you like?”

I have heard that question many times in my life and have never figured out a satisfactory way to answer it.

To be honest, when I was a young teen I didn’t think I liked any music. I found it boring and distracting, often with stupid lyrics that didn’t make sense. So when people asked what music I liked, I told them I didn’t like any. Which I think was confusing for people, because who doesn’t like music? I mean really.

I satisfied my music needs in two ways: by prolifically writing songs and playing them in my head, and by watching musicals. Both of those are pretty abnormal ways of consuming music. The former could have been construed as “cool” if I’d been willing to share them with anyone, which I absolutely wasn’t. But the latter. I mean, unless you’re with a bunch of theater geeks, there’s no cool way to say that your favorite genre of music is show tunes.

In books and movies, the coolest artsiest characters always have “a good taste in music.” I have never been able to figure out what exactly that meant, but since Pink Floyd Guy was wearing a band logo on his t-shirt I was pretty sure he knew the secret. And I was pretty sure it wasn’t show tunes.

“I don’t know,” I said, finally.

“You don’t know? Do you like Switchfoot? Taylor Swift?”

“Kinda, I guess.”

“Well what kind of music do you like to sing?”

“I don’t like singing,” I told him. But later he heard me humming one of my own songs to myself so he didn’t believe me.

I started thinking about this when I went on my last road trip/camping trip with Ben, and in the process of taking pictures for my blog I snapped a picture of the music I’d brought, which was mostly soundtrack and musical music. I stared at the picture, wondering if I’d actually post it, and if I needed to explain my music taste. I realized that in nearly 11 years of blogging, with approximately 650 posts under my belt, I don’t think I have ever really talked about what kind of music I like. I don’t know if I’ve even mentioned that I write songs.

And I’ve always despised that question that I never quite know how to answer: “What kind of music do you like?”

Of course I love oddities of human nature, and after discovering this one of my own, I wanted to post about it and see if I’m the only one who likes uncool things but doesn’t talk about it much. I mean surely not, right?

So, what uncool things do you like? I really would be fascinated to know. Pretty please?