Another Way to Classify Music


It is normal that we music lovers make honest attempts to classify music. Some classify by music genre and sub-genre. Others divide it between commercial, academic, folkloric or popular. And maybe you’ve heard that there are those who separate it into two basic groups: good and bad. The good and bad way may come a little close, but it’s still not my way of classifying music. The thing is, I dislike the idea that me or anybody else may claim to be the reigning judge with absolute authority to decide which music is good and which is bad.

I prefer that the determining factor be: my own taste. To each his or her own taste. Let each person decide for themselves the music they like or dislike.

And what is the music I like, like? I don’t know what your’s is like, but mine is honest, expressive, passionate, original, innovative, risky, profound and intense. It is the one that makes me move my body. I say it this way because the movements I make I wouldn’t necessarily call dancing (hahaha). it is the one that gives me goosebumps and makes me laugh, cry or sigh.

I like hypnotic music, the one that has what Spanish people refer to as duende. It’s the one that traps me, forces me to quit whatever I’m doing and give it all my attention. I like the one that transports me to another place, time or feeling. I like the one that makes me want to participate, even if it’s just by hitting my glass with a fork. I love the one that surprises me and activates my imagination. I’m seduced by the one that’s hard to classify and challenges all stereotypes. I’m conquered by the one that’s humble and positive, inspires me to be a better person and is part of the solution (not the problem).

The one I don’t like is cold, empty, predictable, superficial, generic and full of clichés. I don’t appreciate it when someone tries to impress me and wants to demonstrate how much they know and how fast they play. I’m not a big fan of mazacotesmano a mano, pirouettes or contests. I truly don’t like music that sounds like math, blah, blah, blah or filling. I don’t like it when I have to analyse it to understand it or when it is so hollow that it give me a brain short-circuit.

The exciting thing about classifying music according to our taste is that it is practically impossible to find two that are exactly the same. Our taste is part of our identity, like some kind of musical fingerprint of DNA. It is another way of expressing who we are, where we are and where we are going. It shows where we are because our taste continually expands and contracts. It shows where we are going because it is the compass that directs our steps and traces our path.

Tastes change because we change. We have new experiences and discover new musics. Meanwhile, we stop liking some of the musics we used to like. It’s sort of like when you run into and ex and think to yourself: how could I have been attracted to this person?

Not everyone that ever wanted to be a rock star still rocks. Some keep their inner rocker hidden in the closet (hehehe). But there are also have the die-hard beboppers, hip-hopers and rockers. It’s great that we have them around. As far as me goes, I know the music I listened to during my childhood will always have a special place in my heart.

There are music tastes that turn into a kind of religion or exclusive club whose members reject anyone that doesn’t idolize the same musics and artists as they do. They usually go around in groups judging, criticising and making fun of the people who are no like them. Yes! Music elitists exist. They are the ones that think that their own music and the music they enjoy is the good one and the others are the bad ones. They also think that if someone doesn’t like their music it’s because they’re inferior beings with bad taste who know nothing about nothing about nothing.

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