Baseless Theories: The Music You Listen to Shapes Who You Are

Chad White

Likes: Childish Gambino, Frank Sinatra, Brad Paisley, Explosions in the Sky , Basically all music

Dislikes: The radio, Songs that you play in the car, That shitty mix CD from 2008 that has those songs on it…you know what I’m talking about

Imagine this: you wake up in your Highland Park apartment in Detroit on a Saturday morning. Outside, you can hear junk yard dogs barking across the street and sirens whizzing by. There’s a stereo next to your bed. You turn it on to a local rap station. A song by Trinidad James comes on. You react by saying something like “dayum, dis shit hype as fuqq.”

The scene I just described to you is a stereotype of both music and race. What’s that? You didn’t see anything racist about that? Go back and read it. You imagined a black guy didn’t you? Yes you did. Don’t you lie to me. You didn’t see a middle aged Asian man.

Here’s another scenario for your judging self:

It’s 8 am on a Tuesday. You‘re getting ready for work in your home located in an upscale community, say, Nashville. Your kids are finishing breakfast and they’re about to head off to school in their separate cars; your son in a Ford truck that he just had to get lifted and fitted with fog lights for some odd reason even though he never goes hunting and mud has never touched the treads and your daughter in her expensively pink Jeep Liberty with car monogram decals and a sticker that says “country girl” even though she loves to blast the newest Drake song on the radio in between country music concerts. You leave shortly after them. In your car, your radio is always tuned to 97.9 Big 98, one of Nashville’s most prominent country stations. Also, for some odd reason, you’re wearing boots. And you don’t have to worry about the police pulling you over. And you were hired at your job based on skill and not affirmative action.

Okay, let me guess. You pictured a white man didn’t you?  It’s okay. We’re all in the same boat here.

What you are suffering from is a disease that I like to call Acute Musicology Intolerance. Yes, it’s a real thing that I just made up. Acute Musicology Intolerance, or AMI for short, is a terrible condition that is plaguing our society today. This theory was started by me in mid-2012 when I noticed that the people who listen to certain music often act a certain way. For example, hipsters only listen to new age, independent music such as The Flaming Lips or that other band you wouldn’t know about whose song was ruined by the radio. But that single was seriously their worst song on the album, which is the most important album of the decade.

At this point, you’re probably saying something like “but Chad, I listen to rap and country and I’m a beautiful white girl.” First off, congratulations to you. Secondly, seriously, congrats. Hit me up sometime. Third of all, no really. Fourth, yes anybody can listen to anything. You were conditioned to listen to certain music. I’m sure as you were growing up in the 90’s, your parents didn’t have the radio in the car on 2 Live Crew. That’s just bad parenting. They probably played some Dolly Parton for you. Or maybe Disney Radio. I don’t know your life. What I do know is that they weren’t going around shoving black guys down your throat. (Insert totally appropriate joke here). They were unknowingly shaping your taste in music.

In a recent study at world renowned University of Phoenix, musicologists have found that 87% of people who were introduced to their parents’ music at an early age often count that as their favorite genre of music. This data was based on a sample of over 3 million people on the internet so you know it has to be true.

Let me throw another scenario at you:

It’s evening time in your Parisian neighborhood. You and your friends are eating cheese while discussing art or something. For some reason, you all are drinking coffee at 10 pm. Don’t you know that you’re going to be up all freaking night? I’m just looking out for you. Anyway, around 12, you guys head to your favorite local club: Partie Sexy De Club. The music playing is this weird amalgamation of Autobots transforming, baby sounds, and one sick beat. You’re dancing with a pacifier in your mouth. Lights are flashing strange colors. The smell of ecstasy fills the air. For some reason there are bubbles.

You imagined an artsy, pretentious French person that time, right? Yes that one was a stretch but I had fun writing it so deal with it.

At this point, you may be asking “Chad, you sexy chocolate man, where are you going with this?”

Well person who talks to articles on the internet, I’ll tell you where I’m going. Just as soon as I finish writing this sentence. Okay, here we go.

I believe, as do hundreds of other scientists, that the more of one type of music you listen to then the more you are to act like the stereotype of that music. Don’t believe me? Look at the guy from Detroit that I fabricated earlier. He listens to only “hood music,” otherwise known as music of the hood, and he’s a gangbanger. What about the guy from Nashville? Well, he’s a regular old downhome country boy. And the Parisian people? They’re freaks. That’s it! That’s the whole thing!

To sum it up in one sentence: don’t fall into the trap of music loving that society imposes. I can listen to Taylor Swift if I damn well please. Selena Gomez can blast System of the Down anytime. Even Miley Cyrus knows a Jay Z song. It all depends on how you act when repping that music.

Baseless Moral: Don’t let music run your life or else you’ll turn into a crazed teen pop star still searching for relevancy.