Taking pride in individual music preference

Jake Keeley

I was blessed by having two parents growing up who were into music.

My mother’s taste ranges anywhere from Sade to the Beastie Boys to Prince, depending on how often or loud she wants to snap her fingers. My father leans more to the classic rock side of things, depending on how fast he wants to drive. As a result, I’m fairly proud to call my music selection somewhat diverse. On top of that, growing up next to Motown added plenty of elements to my catalog that I might not have had growing up elsewhere.

Although Detroit is the ‘Motor City’, there is a surplus of incredibly talented musicians hailing from the city that essentially goes unnoticed by the rest of the world. Aretha Franklin, Eminem and Bob Seger can pretty much stand toe-to-toe with any other major city’s top three artists all day long. The deeper the roster, the greater our advantage, too.

With each passing day, however, I get less interested in music. Has the talent decreased? Probably. Are the lyrics recycled? Sure they are.

But that’s not the problem.

There is so much access these days to the music world that you truly can’t listen for yourself in order to decide what you like and what you don’t like. With streaming services compounding the problem, it is just so easy to see the most relevant and most played songs on an album. We immediately associate the most played song with the best song. Because it’s been played ‘X’ number of times more than the next song, it must be good.

You used to have to listen to an entire album, front to back, in order to figure out what song you liked, if any. Now, they are spoon-fed to you. The same thing happens with artists. Does this artist work with this artist? Then they must be good. But that’s not true. Each artist should be judged independently of the rest and measured on the same scale as others. But I am no better than the next person, I too fall into the trap of who is on songs together and what’s the hottest song out right now.

With music playing such an important role in our lives, I can’t understand why anyone would listen to anything less than their favorite. And yes, if you’re anything like me, your favorite probably changes daily, even drastically, from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Danny Brown. Your favorite is out there too, and it doesn’t have to be my favorite or the general population’s favorite either. Just as long as it’s not Meghan Trainor, we’ll get along just fine.