Expand musical taste

Larshell Green's Staff Headshot

I couldn’t tell you the first song that I ever danced to or even the first one that I ever heard. But I can tell you the first song that made me stand up and take notice of music. The very first song that enchanted my music-loving heart was “Misery Business” from Paramore’s album, “Riot!” in 2007. 

Before this I mainly listened to R&B, blues, soul, rap and hip-hop records. Listening to something so new and different opened my eyes to a world that I am very thankful that I discovered. Everyone should expand their music taste. Without doing so, you could be missing out on a new passion or interest.

From then on I continued to listen to my usual music while gaining even more of an interest in classic rock, alternative rock, metal and pop music. Artists like Green Day, Poison, Guns N’ Roses, Fall Out Boy and Marilyn Manson became regulars on my playlists. 

My interest not only came from listening to the music, but also from my enjoyment of learning about the artists. I wasn’t allowed to get on social media at the time, so I visited the artists’ websites and Wikipedia pages to learn more about them. Hearing about Manson’s troubled childhood and Fall Out Boy’s bassist and backup vocalist Pete Wentz using writing as an outlet like I do made me fall in love with their music even more.

Another part of my musical discovery was country music. This genre helped me form an infatuation for my favorite artist, Taylor Swift. In recent years, she moved away from the country music genre to pop music. Even Swift realizes the importance of expanding music tastes and changing up the categories artists are identified as, but this holds true whether you’re a musician or not. 




From then on I listened to country music in what I consider an odd way. I went back to the days of Hank Williams Jr. and Elvis Presley, to Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers to study the people who some of my favorite country artists were influenced by and then discovered new artists after.

I truly believe that if not for my variety of taste in music I would not be the open minded and friendly person that I am today. One of the first questions that I ask someone when I am attempting to form a friendship is, “What do you listen to?” Despite some answering “Nothing,” “Everything” or “Only this or that,” we remained friends.  If we don’t listen to music together despite our preferences, we are not friends.

It is important to be loyal to things in life, including your favorite artists, but you shouldn’t allow this to limit your expansion of knowledge. In the age of social media, don’t rely on what you see of artists on their social media pages. Read their interviews, visit their websites and closely watch their music videos. Observe the things these artists want you to know about them. Life is short and music is a passion and expression, so don’t be afraid to venture out in musical taste.