Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMusicRock and Pop · 3 years ago

What counter argument would you say to someone who only likes listening to hits and popular music?

My father is like this. His taste in music isn't always the worst but he refuses to listen to anything obscure or even semi-mainstream. He insists that he can always recognize what is popular and what is obscure and that he's not interested. The Top 40 isn't even enough for him, try aiming for the Top 15 of any given year to get his interest. I try explaining to him that just because a song was a hit and became popular doesn't necessarily establish or guarantee that is was good. You have to realize the exact demographic that might be making his favorite songs popular in the first place. I realize that claiming what is good and bad music is almost entirely subjective but that should apply more to someone liking a sub-genre or a specific era or style. In his case, he just has to be able to recognize it as a hit in order to deem it acceptable enough to listen to. Again, I try explaining to him that he's being very narrow-minded and severely limiting himself to an extremely small range of artists and shutting out hundreds, if not thousands of music acts that could expand his taste and make him a more experienced listener but he refuses to take my advice. What would you say to someone like this?


Actually, contrary to what most of you have assumed about my father, he ironically does care a decent amount about music in general. Not as considerably as I do but he understands the fundamental aspects of it and can easily decipher different sub-genres and eras. He just insists that he can instantly recognize a popular song from something more obscure and that what is obscure deserves to remain obscure because it doesn't have the qualities of what he considers a potential hitmaker.

Update 2:

Essentially, he's someone who cares a reasonable amount about music. He talks about it on a regular basis except he can't stop praising Top 20 Hits and making pejorative comments about music that sounds obscure to him.

4 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 6
    3 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Not everyone cares about music. Or, of those who do, everyone will care about it for a different reason. Some people like music because it provides "energy" when working out, studying, etc... and to them, music is mostly something to listen to passively while doing other stuff. For others, they feel music mirrors and "expresses" their own emotions, that they relate to music relative to their own situational emotional state (that a "great song" is something you relate to during a specific life event - a break-up, a death, or even a positive like an accomplishment). To others, music transcends their emotional state and creates a drug-like state of altering one's perception, of recontextualizing other perceptions, thoughts, feelings, etc... and will sit in complete silence listening, with no other distractions, with music effectively becoming a life experience in itself. Others like music because it's social - you can dance to music, you can interact with other people through music, so music is really social event of sorts. Others like music on an "academic" level - the mathematical nature of sine waves forming these specific sounds and manipulations of sounds, and more or less the intrigue of "how it works". And so on, etc, etc, etc... And for others, it's a combination of some or all of these things.

    But for each person, it's different. I'd gather your father has a more passive interest in music... that doesn't mean he doesn't love music (maybe he does, maybe he doesn't), but just that the way he relates to music is as a passive experience to augment other activities. And if so, why would he invest time and energy into discovering other music if there's perfectly serviceable music readily available on the radio, that he doesn't have to put thought into discovering? Doing so would require him to focus on music itself (outside of any "use" or context), which would be counter-intuitive if his enjoyment of music doesn't come from music itself, out of context of certain activities, popular, stylistic dominance, etc...

    I consider myself to be pretty rabid about music (and varied - from glam rock to chanson to musique concrete to conscious hip-hop to symbolist/impressionist/modern classical to folk to soul to punk to post-rock/ambient and so on...), but there are certainly some genres I'm not very familiar with - rocksteady/reggae/ska, black metal, Medieval era classical, house music... Not that I dislike them (my limited impressions of them vary), but for my own enjoyment of music, they don't immediately resonate with me as something to really explore (I could be wrong, but it is what it is). Depending on how you relate to music (however broad or narrow) will determine what resonates with you even enough to explore. And while I love music (and literature and visual art), I don't particularly love film or dance. I like them - I enjoy watching movies, I enjoy certain dance performances - but even when I like them, for whatever reason they just don't click with me as mediums in the same way as music, so I don't really explore them indepth, and my knowledge/interest in them is pretty topical (I like them, but in a fairly topical way). Like, the idea of exploring every dark corner in the history of film and watching thousands of movies just to see what I like just sounds boring and trivial to me, since my enjoyment of the medium itself is very passive, and that sort of exploration goes against the very nature of my passive enjoyment (I have tried before, actually, and it wasn't enjoyable to me... at all). Whereas music is very different - I'll listen to anything once, and regularly seek stuff out.

    So... I mean, you probably don't need a counterargument. Your dad likes what he likes, for the reasons he likes it... and his reasons for liking what he likes are probably very different than your reasons for liking what you like. Think of something he's extremely interested in that you have little (or no) interest in... does it sound enjoyable to you to devote your time and energy into digging into the depths of something that you're not interested in in the first place? Or even not his interests... someone above used the example of clothes... I'm sure you have some fashionistas out there who have a deep connection with fashion/clothing, and would challenge you - why don't you wear clothes of all of these different styles, making the effort to explore little known designers? If you don't, it's probably because you're just not interested - you like what works for you, and that's that. Or someone who loves quantuum physics, asserting that if you don't dive deep into it you'll never fully understand spacetime or the full ramifications of the existence of a multiverse... but I mean, that doesn't take into account that most people just don't care about that. That's probably more or less his stance on music.

  • 3 years ago

    Let him be. You listen to what you like, he does the same thing. You guys also come from a different generation. A lot of things are different between the two of you. There is nothing wrong with we what he is doing. He chooses to be the way he his, thats the way he is.

  • 3 years ago

    >>What would you say to someone like this?<<

    You've already made all the logical arguments. There's really nothing left to say, because his attitude has nothing to do with logic. Actually this is true of most of our opinions, no matter how logical we think we are. Music affects our emotions. Your dad listens to music for emotional, not logical reasons. Most likely, his taste in music was formed when he was young. New music is fine as long as it fits into the framework he's comfortable with...but remember: he's not listening to music because he wants to expand his listening experience. He's listening for emotional comfort.

    We all do this for different things. Maybe some even applies to you, although I'm really just throwing out some generalities. Do you eat at the same restaurant chains (Subway, Micky D's, Taco Bell, etc) rather than experiment with ethnic alternatives to expand your culinary experience? Maybe you always wear jeans and a T-shirt. Do you always order chocolate ice cream, even when there are 28 alternative flavors? What about movies? Do you always watch blockbusters or sometimes experiment with indy films? Do you always watch Sci-Fi or Action films, instead of an occasional romantic comedy or musical film the expand your film experience? I'm not pointing fingers or judging...maybe none of this applies to you, but it does to most of us. Sometimes, we just know what we like and just don't care about being challenged. I think it's safe to say that's how your dad is with music and it's unlikely you can change that.

  • Maggie
    Lv 6
    3 years ago

    There's no point in arguing with someone like that. Your dad seems to be set in his own way and no matter what you or anyone says to him, he'll never change. Just let him enjoy his music no matter how limited it is.

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