"I Like Everything but Country and Rap"...

... might actually be a very sensible thing to say.

I feel like there are three primary things that music can accomplish:

  1. Tell a story
  2. Educate
  3. Incite a party

Those are the three broad categories of purpose that any given song can have. Now these are by no means mutually exclusive. Often times the best way to educate listeners about a situation is by telling them a story.

Also, music as a very subjective art form can approac any of these topics in very vague or even obtuse way. For example, some of the more extreme and avant garde music out there may attempt to teach you about what music itself means by challenging your preconceptions through unpleasant or difficult to understand music. Often, when a song tells a story it doesn't so much narrate a series of events as present a snapshot of a point in time within the narrative.

So what does this all have to do with liking specific genres of music? Different genres of music tend to come with their own culture, which includes the shared lessons, fables, traditions, and values of the people involved. Depending on the culture, you might not be much interested in those lessons, fables, traditions, and values. Granted, if you wish to be a well-rounded person, you should seek to understand them, but you don't necessarily need to enjoy them.

This means that you may not enjoy the message of the music of a culture.

What kind of story is country song likely to tell? It could be the tale of an aspiring musician leaving a small town to come to the city and chase their dreams. It could be about a down-on-his-luck rogue traveling the country living by his wits and the generosity of strangers. It could be about someone who makes bad decisions regarding relationships.

It's also distinctly possible that those stories are boring. If you want to hear a story about spaceships traveling to distant worlds to seek adventure, country music doesn't provide many options.

What kind of lessons will a rap song teach you about? It may teach you about racial inequality and injustice in the United States. It may teach you about the specific difficulties faced by young black men in a culture with a long history of opressing them.

It's also distinctly possible that these lessons are uncomfortable to hear. Maybe you just want to learn about cryptography or how to win at video games rather than something that's actually good for you.

Then, there's the partying option. A lot of music is just about encouraging people to have a good time. In which case, is it the sort of party that you would want to attend?

Unfortunately, I've yet to hear a country soung about getting together with your buddies to go play D&D in the basement until 3 in the morning. There is rap about it though.

So I guess the moral of the story is, I like all music except country... except country as performed by Regdar and the Fighters.

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