Alternative Music – Undefined

Alternative Music - Blue DrumsTrying to describe your taste in music is difficult.
I believe it is unique. I know. I like lots of music my friends do, but it differs in lots of ways too.
Music has evolved over time.

And the categories or genres have also diversified and got more cryptic. I like Alternative Music, at least thats what I called it, having grown up on early punk, 80s hardcore, and 90s grunge. To me it refers to underground music also. Music that was created in bedrooms, sheds, and garages.

But over time, I have begun to move away from this definition of the music I like. I suppose I don’t particularly like music just because it was made in a garage, and not in a €500 an hour recording studio. It has more to do with the Sound, the intensity of the artists, the voice, the feeling, the sincerity, and the connection. A lot of it also has to do with my mood. In a way, at different times, I like lots of different genres. Punk, Rock, Pop, Folk, Metal, Jazz, Dance..

I like to find music. I am wary of the music industry and its methods of using marketing budgets to influence my decisions. Listening to a track 10 times a day that has been rotated on radio, tv, and reviewed in magazines and newspapers, might make me like it. But in a way, I don’t like being force fed music. Its not easy, but I try and discover music myself. I probably put a lot more effort into this than a lot of people. The internet has made it easier for me. But the opposite of this, just liking music for its obscurity, is not my goal either.

I know with the amount of music available now, it is impossible to listen to even a small percentage of it properly over the course of a year, even if music is an obsession with me. I know this, because, having compiled a list of almost 200 albums from various 2012 end of year lists, I discovered that I had only heard about 20 of them. And I listen to a lot of music each year. I would reckon that I spend between 6 and 20 hours a week listening to music. So if I spend on average 10 hours a week listening to music that would be 520 hours a year. 200 albums probably average at 40 mins each. So thats about 133 hours. But thats 1 listen. I reckon each album needs at least 3 good listens over the course of a fortnight to check if you like it. So that would be almost 400 hours. But I have over 1000 cds in my collection, and between 50,000 and 100,000 mp3s. And there is a lot of music I like and continue to listen to which spans over 30 years at least.

What I’m really saying is, I like Alternative Music, but will never get to hear it all. And I am likely to repeat listening to a large amount of music that I already have and own. Also beyond the 200 albums that critics liked, there are 1000s of albums that do not make these lists. In Ireland alone there are almost 200 albums on the Choice Music Prize list. I’m sure there are even more albums than this released each year. They can be found locally, in your country, in blogs, everywhere on the internet.

So basically my interest in music has evolved. I like Alternative Music. Post Punk Music. Rock and Metal Music. Alternative Country Music. But really, I know when I like something. It might not fit into the Alternative Music classification. Instead, what I like is My Music. And, I also like it when somebody else likes My Music too. I connect with the music. They connect with the music. We probably connect in some way too. Well at least at that point in time. But nothing stays still. As music evolves, so does my taste in music. I explore it constantly.

Although genres help define what music I like in a general sense, it is way too simplistic to define my musical taste as just a genre. I will make my own mind up, one song at a time, after at least 2 or 3 listens. And when I do like music, I will continue to listen to it on an ongoing basis, indefinitely, perhaps…

For me, there are very few classic albums. I cannot think of any album that I could say I like every song on it. There are perhaps less than 10. Or maybe even 5. On some albums, I may like 20% of the songs, others 40%. There are a few I like 75% of. But I really don’t think there is a 100% album for me. There is always something on it I don’t like. It might be a song. It might be a lyric. It could be a riff or a drum sound. As such, I have devised my own grading system. My own classification. In effect, my own taste in music.

But every now and again, a song, a sound, a voice, a riff… something comes along that rekindles my faith in music. So although I cannot really define My Music as Alternative Music. It does help me with my search for new songs…

Just sharing my views on music with you. Perhaps I’m the only one that thinks about it like this, maybe not. But with the amount of music that exists today, including that which has been released over the last 50 years at least, I feel I have to work out how best to listen to it and what to listen to. I am still discovering new music and still listening to old music, I’m just not going to be able to listen to even a small percentage of all that is there…

Jack Crossan