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how do you like your music

Know thyself.. that's what a wise man said, long ago, in the shadow of the olive trees..

We love music so much that sometimes we feel we can't write properly about it.
That’s why I got the idea of this little game I invite you to play. It came to my mind during that marathon-like debate in the favorite vs best thread.

Looking at your favorite records list, how would you describe your tastes ? What are the common features of the music/artists/songs/albums you prefer ?
On the contrary, what kind of music repels you and why ?

It may sound a little bit narcissistic but I guess it’s useful.

I’ll go first : what I like in music are :

- Personal expression : I love singers and artists who put their guts, their heart on the table : Springsteen, Brel, Wyatt, James Brown..
- vocal qualities : as an amateur singer, I love people with a distinctive voice : Robert Wyatt, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Roy Orbison
- tradition : I love people who refer to their roots and cultural heritage : folk, blues, country (these genres have this exotic taste for my French ears), Brassens (with all his references to past French peotry), Dylan, Cash, etc..
- songwriting, melody : nothing I love more than a good melody, be it simple or complex : the Beatles, the Divine Comedy, Creedence, Bowie, Stevie Wonder, and of course expressive lyrics (Springstee, T Waits, Brassens, Brel)

On the contrary, I’m not interested in music when it’s too cold (Joy Division, Bowie during the Berlin era), distant (Talking Heads, TVOR), abrasive and noisy (punk and post-punk). I don’t like music when it hurts my ears and gives me headaches.

That’s it I guess. Now it's up to you, if you don't find that thread the most stupid, ambitious thing in, the world

Re: how do you like your music

Interesting. My tastes seem pretty similar to yours, Nicolas. Most important to me is a great sense of melody (The Beatles, The Who). I lean towards more poppish tendencies and usually quite grandiose messages (U2, Arcade Fire) and a "prettiness" to the music (harmonies like The Beach Boys). I don't really go too far outside "rock" music either, so my tastes tend to be pretty vanilla (at least compared to others here).

Surprisingly, my favorite album is "In the Aeroplane over the Sea," weird since I pretty much hate noise, but the expressions of emotions and melody vastly overwhelm that aspect.

Re: how do you like your music

Well, I wouldn't call Aeroplane a noisy album..

Re: how do you like your music

Well, nosier than I would usually enjoy.

Re: how do you like your music

I love music that can be deep and complex, without being pretentious and tacky. I also love originality and creativity, I can't stand generic music at all. Emotional impact is key, so are aesthetics and pop sensibility. So long as the music has these quality's I'm good.

I like everything from blues, electronica, jazz, indie, punk, rap, pop, and pretty much everything in between.

The only things I cannot stand are 95% of metal (there is SOME good stuff), Generic rock music (Nickelback, Staind, Creed, etc., etc.) Pretty much all modern country, and awful hip- hop (Soulja Boy, etc.)

Re: how do you like your music

Hmm, interesting question. Well, looking at my list, I definitely lean towards highly emotional music as far as impact goes (but they're actually among my least listened to albums because of their weight).

So, things like The Cure's darker stuff, Joy Division, Jeff Buckley, Sigur Ros, Elliott Smith, etc.

I also tend to like really fun, expiramental stuff. Two of my favorite bands from this decade are Deerhoof and Animal Collective, both of which are quirky, fun, and uninhibited by normal musical constraints.

Other than that, I'm all over the place.

I tend to avoid a lot of the "safe" classics, such as The Who, Bruce Springsteen, etc. They just don't do anything for me, for whatever reason.

Re: how do you like your music

I like a little from every genre, but there are definitely things I look for within genres.

Makes me like:
-Emotional sincerity
-Really good instrumental riffs
-Compelling textures and atmospheres
-Fully saturated instrumental background
-Clever or poetic lyrics

Makes me dislike:
-Too much repetition of the same phrase over and over
-Using samples from overly recognizable songs
-Emotional cliches
-Pop songs that put no effort into verses because they have a catchy chorus
-Songs where the only instrumentation is a flat dance loop turned way down
-Smug or boastful lyrics
-"Crime and violence are awesome, I'm so awesome because I'm a badass gangster who has lots of sex"

Re: how do you like your music

Things I like in music:

Great melodies, used with conviction and not buried away.
Short songs, unless the song moves between distinct sections (I don't mean just like verses and choruses)
Vocal harmonies.
Lush, dramatic arrangements.
Singers with really reed-like voices that always sound like they are about to break.
Singers with very very very distinctive and uncommon voices, filled with character and idiosyncracies.
Reverb and instrument doubling in the production
Great chord progressions rather than riffs.
Guitar played with bossa nova type chord plucking rather than jangly strumming.
Lyrics that are poetic, but without specific details that don't relate to me.

Things I'm not that keen on:

Shouted "OH OH OH", "DO DO DO" indie rock choruses.
The current trend in acclaimed music of style over substance, and 5 minutes being the standard song length.
Guitar rock where the emphasis is on the guitar.
Rock Rock. Like the Rolling Stones, Oasis, the Constantines, and even more so, the notion that it has "balls".
Jangly music.
Modern singer songwriters.
Twee music that sounds like it's trying to get put on a TV advert.
People who sound like trained, stage school singers, who have been taught not to do any of the things that make great vocals.
Music with pop culture references.
Bland X Factor/Pop Idol style production, where no instruments are actually discernible.

Re: how do you like your music

- Expression of the universal. It doesn't matter to me if the artist wrote it themselves or if someone outside the band/artist wrote it so long as I can relate to it. It's all well and good to write something "personal" but if I can't relate it to something that happened to me, I don't care. That's why I tend to NOT like "political" music...most artists' politics are not similar to mine.

- Put a hook in it. If I want to read poetry, I'll read poetry. When I play music, I intend to singalong. (Which should make sense since I'm listening to something I "relate to")

- Clear vocals. By this, I mean as it relates to the PRODUCTION. I want vocals to be in the forefront. As an example, I listened to PSYCHOCANDY by The Jesus and Mary Chain for the 80s album poll. So far, I'm kinda meh towards it because of the production. I don't mind the "noisy" elements of it because there's still a melody with it, but I don't like that it's produced so you have to strain to hear the words. That's probably what makes it "alternative" but I don't see that as a virtue.

- Harmonies are a plus. While I don't ONLY listen to pop (I enjoy some punk [Ramones, The Clash], a bit of industrial [Nine Inch Nails, Deitiphobia], some underground rap [Blackalicious, Ugly Duckling, Jurassic 5] and some "garage rock" [The Creation,the "Nuggets" box sets]) bands with good vocal harmony figure largely in my collection. Tons of the Beach Boys, Beatles, Jellyfish, Everly Brothers, Yes..etc etc etc.

What I *DON'T* like in music:

- Political rants
- "Lo-fi" production
- Blatant misogyny (Which means that though I like a decent amount of Christian rap and underground rap, I hate most "mainstream" rap which I like to refer to as "bling and bit*hes" music)

Re: how do you like your music

"The only things I cannot stand are 95% of metal (there is SOME good stuff), Generic rock music (Nickelback, Staind, Creed, etc., etc.) Pretty much all modern country, and awful hip- hop (Soulja Boy, etc.)"

That's funny - that seems to be what about 95% of people under 22 listen to...

Re: how do you like your music

dumb, raw, quirky, edgy, fulfilled, abortive, neurotically pointless, like a flag burning fountain mimicking maniac on the brink of the King of the Fingership... like ... well, basically like love itself

Re: how do you like your music

I had a long drawn out response but it didn't submit and I lost it.

Long story short- I like my music simple, with a great melody and catchy hooks. I can listen to and enjoy stuff that doesn't fall within those lines but I always come back to it. I grew up on The Beatles, Monkees and Zombies and transitioned right into indie pop in high school. There are a few genres I never like- metal with the screaming vocals and jazz fusion come to mind. There are genres that I rarely like which includes country and blues and every subgenre and revival of both of those genres. Which pretty much eliminates 70's mainstream rock.

Re: how do you like your music

I think that everyone likes different types, styles, genres of music. Some people like simple stuff..others like meaningful songs etc. thats why it's music..it's all about opinion.

Re: how do you like your music

My english adjective vocabulary is limited and trying to describe this would even be difficult in Swedish for me. I just like everything that stands out within its genre (although it helps if the sound is closer to Massive Attack than Hüsker Dü).

Re: how do you like your music

A lot of these preferences are very specific.

For me, it's not any specific thing I look for. I like catchy melodies, but don't require them. I like great guitar riffs and great chord progressions, but there can also be a great beat or atmospheric noise. The music just needs one thing that provides me with listening pleasure. For music to stick with me, it has to give me just one thing no other music gives me.

There are a lot of specific things that alienate me from music, but you shouldn't just dismiss everything that doesn't meet one specific criteria.

Re: how do you like your music

I don't think people are dismissing things automatically based on these; they are just things that are common to a lot of music they like or don't like. Of course there's always that x factor that can make absolutely anything from any genre a masterpiece.