Ah yes, it happens to every music lover out there. You end up hitting play on the same old playlists, sometimes revisiting artists you listened to years ago- reminiscing in the memories related to those songs. But how can you make sure your taste evolves, so you don’t end up like my 55 year old mom whose music experience is 90% Motown and 80’s/90’s R&B? There’s nothing wrong with creatures of habit but come on! You gotta strive to expand as much as you can.
- Pay attention to what you currently like. Sometimes you’re looking too hard for something entirely different.
In this way you can slowly start to integrate new music that might resemble what you listen to now, but of course it’s different. Music taste is exactly like evolution, it’s gradual, unless you’ve been exposed to a certain kind of music from a while ago. For example, I might listen to all the progressive metal I want, but at the end of the day, I’m still gonna have a special place in my heart for Foster The People’s Torches. I grew up with this album and thus have the ability to fall in love with music that is similar; I’m adapted to the sound.
2. Find out what your friends listen to.
This one might be obvious but I can’t emphasize it enough. We often might not even realize how good something is until someone shoves their slimy earbud in your ear and makes you listen. It gives the music good credibility in your eyes- your friend must know what they’re talking about. It might not make you like the music, but in my experience, it has definitely opened me up more to the possibility of liking it.
3. Listen in various settings
Where are you listening? Are you using headphones? Are they cheap? Do they have enough bass? Are you listening in the car? I know I enjoy Billie Eilish’s new album in my headphones rather than blow out the speakers in my car. There’s some powerful bass in those tracks; I would’ve had a different impression of the music had I listened in the car first.
4. What is your emotional state?
I’ve personally found that the worst time to try and get into new music is when I’m very stressed. Usually with every other emotion, like boredom, sadness, excitement, confidence, etc. I always find that perfect soundtrack to my life. Just try to picture your life in a movie, what kind of music would be playing? Don’t just find something that can you can relate to- find something that will change your mood/outlook to whatever you want. It’s that influential, just pay attention to how your current music affects you and you’ll be more in tune.
5. Listen without visual bias.
Just click on a playlist and start playing it. Don’t look at who is the artist, don’t look at their follower or stream count- just listen. Often times we judge artists on their appearance and/or brand, that’s why some pop stars have to be really cute, beautiful, unique, a good dancer, or pull off weird gimmicks to get people form a favorable opinion on their work. Visuals and sound are a combined experience a lot of times, but good music can sometimes be overlooked because the visuals are lacking. Just appreciate what you’re listening to and give it full attention.