Wednesday, May 8, 2024

evaluating musical genres

The Post polled people on their opinions of various genres of music. The choices were Love it, Like it, Not sure, Dislike it, Hate it. It might have been easier if the choices were Love it or Leave it, but whatever.

It may be perilous for me to attempt my ratings, as several of these categories I have only the most tenuous acquaintance with. So my evaluations may reflect ignorance and rampant stereotyping, but here goes:

Classic rock. This was the most-loved genre among respondents, so the accompanying article had the most to say about it. It seemed to exemplify this genre as Aerosmith and the Eagles, two bands I have little use for. I like the Beatles, but the article defined classic rock as beginning with Sgt. Pepper, which is close to the end of my favorite Beatles segment, what I'd call "mid-period Beatles." So my full answer on this genre is "mixed, mostly nah," so I'll put Dislike it.

Pop. I'm not sure what typifies this category, though I'm sure it isn't the wailing guitars of classic rock. I like some pop songs, to be sure, though mostly ones now pretty old. I'd have to put Not sure.

R&B. Uh, I don't think so. I count myself fortunate that I even know what those initials stand for. Dislike it.

Blues. "I'm gonna sing a line three times / I'm gonna sing a line three times / I'm gonna sing a line three times / Then I'm gonna sing another line that doesn't rhyme with it." Really annoying music. Hate it.

Country. I've heard some that's OK, even enjoyable, but mostly it irritates me because it twangs. I'll have to say Dislike it.

Classical. This is about 70% of my listening. Unfortunately they don't separate out opera, which to my ears is an entirely separate genre. Love it.

Jazz. Various friends have tried to sell me on jazz, but 99% of it does absolutely nothing for me. With this one I'm sure of my opinion, because I've spent hours on end listening to it on the sound systems of dusty old used book stores, where it is the musical genre of choice, and I've remained completely unmoved. Dislike it.

Soul/funk. More annoying than blues. Hate it.

Hard rock/metal. No, no. If this comes on, I have to leave the room. Is there a category stronger than Hate it?

Reggae. I don't like it, but it can be fun to listen to in small doses. In-between ranking, hence Not sure.

Gospel/choir. Pretty much the same, except "fun" isn't the word: maybe "moving." Not sure.

Dance/electronic. That term could mean a lot of things, but I think what it's intended to mean is more stuff for which I have to leave the room. Hate it.

Folk. This can be narrowly defined (the song has to have been found by a credited collector in the dusky woods in the dark of night) or broadly defined (any singer and/or songwriter with an acoustic guitar). Broadly, it's another 20%-25% of my listening; either way, it's the other category for which I'd say I Love it.

Rap/hip-hop. I really only know this from having it blasted at me from the speakers of cars stopped next to mine at red lights, but based on that, may I say that I don't even think this is music, without being taken as criticizing it? It's a very interesting form of organized sound, which is a perfectly legitimate thing to be, it just isn't music. But I don't really want to listen to it. Dislike it.

Latin. "Music from Latin America" is a very broad category. I suspect that what's meant by the generic term "Latin" is the kind of music associated indelibly in my mind with Mexican restaurants. Because I hardly ever hear it anywhere else. Dislike it.

Alternative/indie. I'm not exactly sure what this is, but it might include some of what would be scooped up under a sufficiently broad definition of "folk." But I'm Not sure.

Contemporary Christian. Musically this is pleasant enough to listen to, but there's a limit to how much I can take of lyrics extolling Gee-zus, and that limit is very low. Dislike it.

Punk rock. This was coming in when I was in college, and all I could think was "Why?" Hate it.

New age. If you're cool, you hate this, but I'm not cool. Like it.

World music. More of the same. Like it.

Besides leaving out opera, they've left out the related but quite distinct category which occupies most of the other 5% or so of my voluntary listening: musical theater. Rodgers and Hammerstein? Sondheim? You've heard of them? Where would they go in the above list? (I'd put Gilbert and Sullivan here too, because if you class their works as operas, they'd have all of my five favorites.) And I'm sure you can think of other genres of music not included here.

Anyway, of the 20 genres listed here, I love 2, like 2, not sure about 4, dislike 7, and hate 5, so my negative genres outweigh my positive ones 3 to 1, which is about what I'd have thought.


  1. So, statistically speaking, you don't like music.