Often when I read a magazine or blog about music, or read an album review on iTunes or Amazon etc, I wonder about who wrote the review and what that review means in the context of their overall taste or patterns-of-taste.
I do try to leave a lot of context up on this blog, since allowing strangers to read it a few months after starting it for just my friend and I, when it morphed from just a comunications tool for personal reasons into a more public site about music.
You can already find out my exact amount of talent as a musician and as a writer on here by viewing the different subsections; you can find out all the music that I own on here and you can find quite a few articles on how my brain actually deals with music and how that has changed over time. If you are particularly observant then you also already know that I’m a white British male in my twenties, with a First Class Honours Degree and that my other hobbies outside of music and blogging include weight-lifting and videogames.
In summary, there is a lot of information available here that you can base your trust or distrust of my opinions on.
This particular entry will deal with my cultural perspective on music. Being a British male in my twenties right now, I have been subject to the advertising and magazine articles available to me, primarily from the years 2000-2006 and then later the Websites, TV Shows, Blogs and Podcasts from many of those same companies/individuals (many of whom migrated from the staff of one to another over the years) from the years of 2007-2012. What any of those people/publications chose to cover during that time has arguably been hugely definitive on my tastes, and I now question how much of my opinion is truly my own.
What follows is a breakdown of my musical tastes based on geography:
(Bands marked with an Astrix note a band that I do not count as a propped fan of but have an interest in due to friends and relatives, and have heard a lot of music from)
Alien Ant Farm, Amen, American Head Charge, Anthrax, At The Drive In, Audioslave, Baroness*, Biohazard, Black Tusk, Blackfoot, Cannibal Corpse, Chimaira, Clutch, Coheed And Cambria, Corrosion Of Conformity, Damageplan, Death Angel, Deftones*, D.E.P*, Deicide, Devildriver, Dio, Disturbed, Down, Drowning Pool, Elf, Exhorder, Exodus, Fear Factory, Five Finger Death Punch, Five Horse Johnson, Flaw, Forbidden, Fu Manchu, Green Day, Guns N Roses, Hatebreed, Heart, Heathen*, High On Fire* Jasta, Ill Nino*, Incubus*, Jimi Hendrix Band Of Gypsys & Solo, Kansas*, Killswitch Engage, Kiss, Korn, Kyuss, Lamb Of God, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park*, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Machine Head, Marilyn Manson, Mars Volta, Mastodon, Megadeth, Metallica, Mondo Generator*, Monster Magnet, Mountain, Mudvayne, Mushroomhead, Neurosis*, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Nuclear Assault, Overkill, P.O.D, Pantera, Papa Roach, Pearl Jam, A Perfect Circle*, PM5K, Primevil, Puscifer, QOTSA, Queensryche, RATM, Red Fang, Rishloo, Robot Lords Of Tokyo*, Sacred Reich, Serj Tankian, Shadows Fall, Sixty Watt Shamen, Shrine Builder*, Skid Row*, Slayer, Sleep, Slipknot, Soil, Soulfly, Spineshank, Static X, Stone Sour, S.O.D, SOAD, Testament, Tool, Trivium, The Union Underground, Vio-lence, Willy Mason*
Amplifier, Architects, Arctic Monkeys, Babyshambles, Black Country Communion, Black Sabbath, BMTH, Camel, Caravan, Carcass*, Cradle Of Filth, David Gilmour*, The Darkness, Deep Purple, The Defiled, Dirty Pretty Things, ELP, Foghat, The Fratellis, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Iron Maiden, Jethro Tull, Jetplane Landing, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Judas Priest, King Crimson, Last Shadow Puppets, Led Zeppelin, The Libertines, Litlans*, Marillion, Muse*, My Dying Bride*, Napalm Death, Onslaught, Orang Utan*, Ozzy Osbourne, Pete Doherty, Pink Floyd, Queen, Radiohead, Rainbow, Rise To Remain Roger Waters, Van Der Graaf Generator, Yes, Yeti
Accept, Dew Scented, Helloween, Kreator, Rammstein, Sodom,
Annihilator, Anvil, Rush, Sheavy, SYL*, Voivod
Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Dozer, Entombed, Opeth*
Carpathian Forest, Immortal*, Emperor*, Zyklon
Gamma Bomb, Horslips, The Saw Doctors
The Grand Astoria, Organic Is Orgasmic*
Silverchair, Parkway Drive,
As you can see, the biggest portion of bands that I listen to come from the USA, but that also contains the biggest portion of entry-level bands that I only have one album of, and the biggest number of bands marked with an Astrix so am not a proper fan of. Is the reason for this higher percentage due to musical merit ? the USA simply being the largest/most populous country ? The USA having the best record companies and marketing ? A coincidence ?
The second biggest is the UK… would this be different if I wasn’t from the UK ? Is it just because of the British Press covering British bands ? Is it purely based on musical merit ? Is it a coincidence ?
Of the ten other countries on the list, no country ha more than five bands that I am a proper fan of. Is it a lack of musical merit ? Is it a press and distribution caused information-hole based on government trade agreements ? Do these countries just have the least powerful record labels ? …or is this all just a coincidence ?
For the other countries who have no representation on this list whatsoever, what is the reason for this ?
We’d all like to think that we are strong of mind and immune to advertising and media persuasion, but it is interesting to ask whether our opinions are truly our own or if they are just the result of the exposure to taste-makers and human individuals who somehow find themselves in a supposed position of authority telling teenagers about music (and the broader implications for all media, religion, political allegiance, personal hygiene, our place in the universe or anything else you could think of) and again whether those taste-makers themselves had real opinions or if their own tastes where just a result of the exposure that they had to previous taste-makers when they were still young and impressionable… and if that is OK or something to be concerned about.