The Long Read: why you should never stop sharing music

My music IS and ALWAYS HAS BEEN THE BEST MUSIC EVER. And by “my music” I mean the music I listen to, write or like. That is why, although other people often suggest “good music” to me, it is usually not that “good”.

My music is the best because I choose it. I choose it to accompany a certain situation that I am going through or to improve my mood. I choose it for emotional affection. I remember countless conversations with friends suggesting I should listen to the X song or the Y song or whichever artist they thought I’d like at the time and not once have I rejected their suggestions. In fact, I have always said that if I ever was to have a superpower, it would be to understand why other people like different stuff to me, and to like the stuff that other people enjoy as if I were them. (Like, I will never be able to get into the minds of people who like Foo Fighters and U2 and Vivaldi fucking Heroes, but whatever.)

Music is a form of immediate expression

I like music because it is a form of immediate expression. It can be very direct, irritating the emotions of the listener, whether the music is performed live or recorded. Music can communicate emotions that words fail to describe in detail. Take the emotion of pain. Pain can be felt in different ways and different parts of our body, but if I asked you to describe how one sense of pain differs from another, it would probably turn out to be an explanation based on other reference points that again, we perceive in different ways. So, although I would understand how your two pains are different, it’d be impossible for me to grasp how different they feel. No matter how we name our emotions for communicating with each other, we will always be enclosed in our subjective experiences of life, including the emotions we feel, or others tell us they feel. And although we have a language to communicate these seemingly same feelings to each other, these emotions have differences on how they’ve been interpreted by different people. Subsequently, the music we want to accompany them differs, even though we understand how we all feel when we say we are sad or happy. And that is the reason why I have always enjoyed the music I choose to listen to more than the music that other people have suggested to me. It is because no matter how deeply we think we understand each other, there will always be a gap of understanding that words cannot describe. A gap that becomes more visible when listening and choosing different music to accompany an emotion.

We are social organisms urged to socialise with each other

However, in acknowledging the fact I enjoy the music I choose to listen to more than the music that is suggested to me, I should have stopped sharing my music with other people or listening to other people’s suggestions, which is not the case.

We are social organisms urged to socialise with each other, urged to share our subjective reality, to share how we feel and what we think and since music offers another reading on our emotions, we share music – to share something words have failed to describe. That is why others suggest I listen to “great” music when I say I feel in a certain way and that is why I keep on spamming other people to listen to what I find “good” music. Of course, “good” and “bad” music is a matter of taste, but while acknowledging that taste is subjective, I share music with others to get closer to what they feel. It is not a matter of imposing your music taste over someone else’s. If you think you have a better taste you feel good and that is as far as it goes. Why would you bother “improving” (if such a thing can be said) someone else’s taste? Did you ever bother telling somebody they should change their clothes. Did you ever feel you had the authority to do so?

[Editor’s note: the parallel I most often use is with food. If someone says they dislike the tomatoes or spinach pizza, we don’t force them to eat the stuff. Yet if someone says they dislike The Beatles or Joni Mitchell we – if so minded – try to talk them around, suggest they are wrong.]

Sharing music fulfils our need to feel part of something

It is rather our need to share our inner emotions accompanied by great doses of trying to satisfy our ego that enables us to suggest music to others and to enjoy less, music suggested by others. Sharing music fulfils our need to feel part of something, to feel connected with each other and to be compared with similar units to us, while providing the appropriate space to see where and why we differ, in ways we cannot completely understand or communicate by words. Listening to music provides us with emotional expression and sharing the music gives us a point of comparison with the people that we assume are alike. You should always share your preferred music with others for it brings us closer and it helps us understand one another.

P.S. If you have got any great tunes you think would be worth a listen, please send them this way.

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