What your music says about you
Does your musical taste really define your personality?
Posted August 9, 2010
I spent the weekend visiting some old college friends. It was rainy-the weather of nostalgia, so it seemed apt when my former roommate Skye played a mixed cd that I had made her from our days at UCLA. Suddenly, we were back in our handicap dorm room (which came in so handy when I had my first bout of life-altering food poisoning) at De Neve Plaza, singing along to all those familiar songs that we had loved years ago.
The list included "Yellow" by Coldplay, which will forever make me nostalgic-for what, I don't know, "Riding Low "by Lighter Shade of Brown, a song that another roommate told me was about sex, even though I still fail to recognize the metaphor and "Bar Italia" by Pulp, a song that I just adore, for reasons unknown.
Maybe our taste buds change every seven years, but our music taste certainly hadn't.
So what exactly does our musical preference say about ourselves?
According to a 2002 study at University of Leicester, where 2500 Britons answered detailed questionnaires about their music tastes, researchers say the types of genres we like actually help us to define ourselves.
If you like hip hop and dance-on the bright side-you're more likely to get laid (at least more than country music aficionados). However, you're also likely to have committed a crime and have tried illicit drugs.
The research also suggested that British hip hop lovers were "least likely to support recycling or alternative sources of energy, and least likely to support the use of taxation to expand public services." Which contrasts drastically with American hip hop fans who are typically social liberals.
If you like opera and classical music, you may not be as big of a nerd as you think. In fact, you have probably dipped into the illicit drug garden too. But the fat lady screaming may be affecting your motor skills.
"One out of every four classical and opera lovers also said they had at least tried marijuana. They were also pretty terrible drivers: Almost half (45 percent) had recently incurred some sort of traffic penalty, compared to 23 percent of people who listed "musicals" as their favorite music category."
I don't know how accurate these findings are, considering most heavy metal fans whom I'm familiar with look a little like this:
Although, I've always been somewhat partial to Nine Inch Nails' "Closer," I've never thrashed about in a respectable mosh pit. (I don't even know if those those still exist?)
While the above studies are quite interesting, I'm not convinced that our music choice really marks our personality in the way that researchers are suggesting. Sometimes, we like music because our friends do, or because certain songs are attached to specific memories and experiences. For example, "Possum Kingdom" by The Toadies, is burned into my soul and will always remind me of my prom date. Still, I have never considered myself a toady of The Toadies.
Sometimes, we have bouts of temporary insanity where we like truly awful music. For a short time, I listened to Britney Spears' first album religiously, thanks to media brainwashing and you know- when I wanted to be a pretty blond white girl.
Besides those three months of hitting that cd one more time, I would never define myself as a pop music junkie.
If you're curious what science says about your musical tastes-take a gander below. What do you think?
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