Matthew Munson: Confession – I just don’t get rap music

Musical taste

I don’t get rap music. There, I’ve said it. I needed to get that “out there” right from the word go. Some people might be scandalised by this; “Oh my word, he doesn’t get rap music? How is that even possible? I thought EVERYONE loved rap music?” Sorry if I’ve shattered any illusions you had about my musical tastes; mind you, did you honestly spend any time considering it at all?

Music is a very subjective thing; if we all liked the same sounds throughout our lives, then life would be very boring and staid. In fact, no new music would ever get created. In the case of Justin Bieber, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Whoops, sorry, did I say that out loud?

Friends of mine – for the sake of this column, we’ll call them Kirk and Chelby, as those are their names – have a huge music collection. I’d say well in excess of 1,500 albums, on CD and vinyl. Kirk’s quite the vinyl fan; I’ve been with him in music shops, and he’s quite the man possessed – he always finds the bargains, and has quite the encyclopedic knowledge of albums, bands, and dates. Chelby knows where everything is in the collection, and between the two of them, they’ve got pretty much every genre covered. If I’m ever on a quiz team with a music round, I insist that I’m on the same team as them; if we don’t get 100% in that round, it’s been rigged.

I like music from most genres – except rap, of course – and I prefer to think of my tastes as eclectic. I like everything from Bon Jovi and Meatloaf through to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (a Chelby and Kirk find – thank you) and Ludovico Einaudi. I think most people would like a wider range of music if only they opened themselves up to the possibilities. It’s not all about dance music, trance and reggae; I’ve actually been able to find tracks in those genres that I like as well (not many, but they do exist).

The internet has, of course, transformed our ability to experience music. There is now so much scope for buying music; I couldn’t tell you the last time I brought a CD rather than downloaded a particular song I liked.

Digital storage costs are low, so a company can afford to make its whole inventory available online, giving customers as much choice as possible. It has thus become economically viable to offer products that very few people are interested in.

Niche markets have boomed, far beyond what we could ever have imagined back in the days pre-internet (I grew up in the eighties; I remember trying to record music onto tapes from the radio and doing my best to stop the recording before the DJ started wittering over the end of the track like they so often did).

Another effect of the Internet arises with online communities like YouTube and Facebook. Musicians can network with each other and directly with their fans; singer / songwriters like Jim Neill can be far more grass-roots, and have far more access to fans directly, and channels like Seaside Sessions can showcase local talent.

How do you feel when you listen to music? I don’t know about you, but different genres create different emotions in my brain – I find this incredibly useful when I’m writing, and can make music a good form of therapy.

So what sort of music do you like? Is there anything you loathe, like me with rap? Why not share some of your favourites in the comments below; I might have to nab some of them to encourage my brain to work more creatively as I’m writing …