A Lesson on Preference

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All tastes are expressions of belief.” 
― Zadie Smith

Preference is really just a matter of exposure, attitude and effort. At first you may dislike a thing and then it may or may not slowly grow on you. These things are called “acquired tastes” and it’s called that because you need to acquire them. It’s true that some people just happen to like certain things from the get go that others find repulsive, but for the most part, it requires effort to see such things in a different light. I’ll often use olives or beer as an example, but I’d rather use the story of how I learned to love Jazz music.

When I was on a mission to expand my musical tastes, I decided that I would try my hand at Jazz. At first I came into it with the preconceived notion that it was just a group of musicians doing ridiculous solos that don’t make any sense.

And then, I heard this album featuring the jazz greats:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSUUFduCdRE

You only need to hear the first bit to get an idea.

After that, I thought that modern jazz just wasn’t up my alley, till I heard this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF2s2Rh_lnE

It’s a cover from Thom Yorke’s (singer of radiohead) solo albumwhich made the transition that much easier, being the Radiohead fan that I am.

I was never a fan of the jazz with vocals because it always just seemed over the top and reminiscent of a time that I wasn’t part of. I still struggle with this sometimes, but if I had to choose an artist that may just change my mind, it’s Blossom Dearie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SavtWKnByOM&list=AL94UKMTqg-9DuczqXUCyPMuNgbXlbl45S

Then came the really ridiculous abstract solo jazz that I really just found irritating. You know the kind that sounds like screeching in a non-sense fashion. But, then I heard this, which really made me rethink how I viewed this style.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4zMUrk5lnE

I find this really haunting, but beautiful in its own light.

The thing is, you may or may not like these songs and that’s fine. I don’t think you should necessarily. This has been my own path and my own tastes have been brought out by exploring them. I’ve applied this idea to other musical genres like opera (which you don’t need to know what they say to find it beautiful) and gangsta rap (you don’t need to agree with the lyrics to enjoy the music).

 What I often find is that there are too many people in this world who will only expose themselves to what’s around them. When you force yourself to try new things, you’ll be surprised by what it is that you in turn find about yourself. I care about music, what do you care about?

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