We all live for the music that we enjoy, and we defend it every chance that we get. We share our music as much as possible, and, in many ways, it feels like it defines some, if not most, of who we think we are. But what about the music we think we don't like?
Just as we love to share the music we adore, most of us take a competitive pride in shouting out from the rooftops just how much we dislike a band, genre, or sound. Trust me when I say that, in my angst-filled youth, I was the worst critic of the music that I didn’t connect with ... but something strange happened. I got older, and my musical mind opened quite a bit more. Where I once shut out an entire genre that did not fit my idea of "cool," I now calmly and studiously seek out the very music I once sought to denigrate. I can recall that every time I viewed the music I didn't like as some sort of destructive war machine, blazing its terrible path through the minds of my generation, and I wanted to stop it dead in its evil tracks because I had to defend my people. But, as I said, I got older, and, in time, it became crystal clear that there was no war machine, only my own closed mind that created such limited machinations.
So, other than admitting my music listening faults, why exactly am I writing this article? The answer is simple: you don’t need to waste time on hating music. In fact, this article is more of a challenge than anything else. This message I send is about doing the one thing you might not want to do, and that is to try listening to the music you believe you hate (or at the very least, dislike extremely). But why in the world would you do this? Because, my friend, just like traveling, music opens us up to a far bigger world than we know, and every new song we hear, just like every new place that we visit, helps us become more aware than we once were. In essence, it makes this whole "life" thing that much more visceral and fulfilling.
It might not make sense at first to try to like something you dislike, but, if I were a betting man (and I am), I would bet there is at least one song in the sea of music that you avoid that might just open your eyes to the world a bit more. I am, of course, not here to say that if you listen to something long enough you will eventually see it in a new light, but, in a world that constantly bends its own rules, creates new genres within old ones, and embraces trying something a bit different... well, you just might.
What you grow up with becomes closely connected to who you are, and it is no surprise that so many listeners stay within their musical comfort zones for the majority if not entirety of their lives. But, after finding something beautiful in the music I thought I disliked, I found that I must have changed throughout the years, and that was a real moment of appreciation and awareness for me.
After the realization that I could like music I once openly attacked, my world became bigger, more colorful, and more fulfilling. No more did I have to defend what I thought was cool. No longer did I have to keep up with the my-team-versus-your-team attitude, and, all at once, it became okay to like what wasn’t cool.
I may not embrace an entire genre, no matter how much I try to, but I can guarantee that somewhere in there is a song or moment I would not have experienced if I didn’t try to find it.
So, with an open mind and open ears, let us continue to travel a bit further than we are used to.