Musical Genres and What They Teach Me: Introduction

For a long time growing up, I and my siblings weren’t allowed to listen to any secular music. We listened to the Robbie Hiner Band, Tom Green, Marvin and Theresa O’Dell, and a bit of Don Franciso. Oh, and somehow my parents snuck in a bit of the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the Association, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, along with Marty Robbins, Jim Reeves, Roger Whitaker, and Bette Midler’s The Rose (none of her other songs, just this one, on repeat, in the car, from Florida to New York). I used to think, in my early teen years, that this was a bit hypocritical – we can’t listen to our secular music, but you can listen (and make us listen) to yours!?  Now, I don’t see it as hypocritical but based on an understanding that they had developed the important skill of discernment, and we, in our prepubescent wisdom and arrogance, had not yet.

When we moved from Florida to New York, we also moved from a small Christian school to a large public school. While we were still encouraged to listen to Christian music, and we did (Petra, Degarmo and Key, Whitecross, etc), increasingly we were allowed to listen to secular music. My dad’s one stipulation – don’t listen to too much of any one thing.

Interestingly, I think that gave me a pretty wide appreciation for different genres.

And, I think there is wisdom in it. I cannot speak objectively about each genre, but subjectively, I can report on what I look for in each genre, what I enjoy in each, and what I feel I need to be aware of. Each genre is prone to its own types of excesses, spews its own type of heresy, and has its blindspots. Conversely, each genre helps me see a different set of truths.  There is evil in each genre to be avoided; there is wisdom to be gleaned.

I’m gonna explore (shallowly) a few different genres in upcoming posts. I’ll not spend much time on the excesses, heresies, and evils of each genre (a wink and a nod at best). Instead, I want to focus on the truths, perspectives, Sitz in Leben that each genre represents. I don’t know exactly which I’ll tackle – likely Metal, Pop, Country, Punk, Blues. I don’t know much about Jazz, Opera, Classical, R&B or Rap, so I’m reluctant to make much comment there…but who knows (it’s the internet, you don’t have to know much to comment).

So, this series will answer the question, “why do you listen to Metallica so much?” Hope it’s fun.