Screw your sign, what’s your genre?

We often talk about artists, albums, and even projects, however, we sometimes forget the fingerprint of musical taste – your genre. A truly unique concept that can be influenced by friends, feelings, or what stage of life you’re in. Your genre is a piece of your identity. 

Yes, we can have the same favourite genre, but no one experiences music the same way. Everyone has a distinct combination of artists and tastes that form their listening habits. It’s a fascinating insight into you as a person – not to say that it’s as black and white as folk fans must live on a farm and heavy metal fans must wear black eyeliner – but I believe there’s still something to be said of the musical cloud you surround yourself with.

My dad tells me that back in the day his entire friend group listened to the same music, saying that “we all had the same top five artists, just in different orders”. While common in the era of vinyl, I find this a rarity in our current organization of music. At best, I share three of my top five artists with my closest friends, and even then our rankings can be completely different. Why does the composition of our library differ now more than ever?  

Certainly, I’m not the first to rave to you about the Spotify algorithm (sorry Apple Music). The technology we have today has given us an all-time high in opportunities to wander outside the boundaries of our library to the no-man’s land of new music. This constant feed of suggested songs provides us with endless chances to venture to the unknown, as long as we’re open to receiving this novelty. 

Finding your genre is a journey, not necessarily an epic story but a step outside your comfort zone nonetheless. I like to think of it as walking to class in your favourite sweater and hoping it doesn’t rain – it’s never the safest move but it can pay off. After all, discovering new things is about putting yourself out there and learning something regardless of if we succeed or not. At its core, the journey to new genres is founded on making yourself available to experience it. 

So where do we begin in finding new music? Truth is, you’ve been going on this journey for a while already. Discovering your taste is an ongoing game of trial and error that has been played since the first song you remember you liked. It continues whether you’re trying to or not, and excels when you take steps to places you have never been. In my opinion, the best we can do is expose ourselves to as many new areas as possible and calibrate our taste from there. The quote “don’t knock it till you try it” seems most fitting for this. Whether it be tossing on one new song a day, taking album recommendations, or doing a deep dive of an artist you hardly know, you won’t know what you like until you hear it. 

To be clear, this is not a message to change your current genre, nor am I urging you to avoid overplaying your favourite tracks. I just think that by challenging ourselves with the unknown we will only grow stronger in our love for music.

So take a step outside without checking the weather, you may just find a sunny day.


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