We’ve had two get-togethers at our apartment recently, which meant organizing music and booze, then wrangling all of the cheap plastic lobsters I’ve decorated the apartment with. The “music” aspect is a lot more complicated than you might think. “Everybody love’s music,” you say. That’s true. A lot of people don’t like math, but very few people hate music as a concept.
But did you know that there are different types of music? And that people form strong attachments to them? And that disagreements about music can be quite volatile, up to and including the use of hatchets? Rappers, who are technically musicians, sometimes gun each other down. While I can’t verify this, I am fairly confident that John Mellencamp is at least partially responsible for the 1998 Balkan Conflict.
It turns out that Naomi and I have differing tastes in music. While I’ll occasionally go on a Gilbert & Sullivan bender, for the most part I like what our roommate calls “Power Rock.” Think Kansas, or The Who. Meanwhile, Naomi likes femmepop, and a genre I call “Girls Who Play Guitar And Sing About Their Feelings.” This means we occasionally encounter musical friction.
My music tastes generally reflect my desires in life: mostly to be pretty swell and to tinker on projects.
Naomi enjoys being happy as well, but also likes to feel. Deeply. And frequently. This means that her musical predilections contain far more emotional depth. (“Emotional depth” means someone sings slowly with a guitar about bad things that happened to them.) These allow her to center herself and, presumably, interpret the events in her life as a montage in a film. Whereas soppy music tends to just make me depressed and find excuses to go out for coffee. Conversely, my preference of listening to Electric Light Orchestra non-stop for five hours makes her feel like I’ve forced her brain to do jumping jacks against her will.
Hence my brilliant idea: Dragon Tower Radio. “Dragon Tower” is what we and our third roommate, Steve, decided to name our apartment. The “radio” bit refers to a station we made on Pandora. (If you’re unfamiliar with Pandora, it’s a website where you suggest your musical druthers, and then it creates a stream of music based on that.) Rather than bouncing back and forth between our preferences, I suggested that Naomi, Steve and I all create our own station on Pandora.
The rules were pretty simple: we only put on bands which we all like. So far, the result has been that occasionally a dislikable song will sneak on, but you know something good will probably come up next. I can leave the door open when I work on stuff, and Naomi doesn’t have to take Valium to counteract my periodic “eight successive encores of Pilot’s ‘Magic’.”
If you live with people who have divergent music tastes, you should try my system. If I’m correct, the new phenomenon which is Dragon Tower Radio could potentially stave off future Balkan wars.
Andrew Heaton is a writer and standup comedian in New York City. If this post made you laugh or think, kindly "like" it on Facebook.