in Psychology

Musical Tastes as a Sign of Increased Sensitivity

What is this? Is this what it means to get old? Everywhere I go, I cringe at the sound of conflict. The music I listen to has even changed. Where once it was Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, and Korn, I now listen to now Dave Matthews, Sade, Coldplay, Dallas Green, and Andrea Bocelli. I used to think my dad was nuts because he insisted on having peaceful music only in his home. He couldn’t see why I called the angry, heavy stuff “music.” Well, it turns out that some of it wasn’t. But ssshhh… don’t tell him I said that.

I was watching the press conference after the Dallas Cowboys lost to the New York Giants on Monday night, and I couldn’t help cringing as the press asked Tony Romo their heartless questions. I felt bad for the guy, and I felt bad for Drew Bledsoe. Once upon a time, I wouldn’t have cared who asked or said what, but no more. When the press asked Romo boldly if he was taking Bledsoe’s place, I was a little angry. How do these people ask their questions without caring at all how Drew and his family feel?

Yeah, I know… It’s a sign that I’m getting soft. But, truthfully, I don’t care. I like being soft. I like caring about other people’s feelings. I prefer to handle other people’s fragile egos very gently. I don’t want to crush anyone. That hasn’t always been true, by the way.

So, in true Daniel-like fashion, I have developed a theory on this latest introspection. The theory is fairly simple and basic. It goes like this: the more wounds a person has that are getting bumped into, the more likely he or she is to have a hard heart for “protection.” The hard heart is what allowed me to like certain music back in the day. I was fully of energy, anger, resentment, and bitterness, and the music allowed me the chance to express it without punching someone.

My tastes have slowly changed over the years. I still haven’t arrived at the point of enjoying most classical music. I own quite a few classical and baroque cds, but most of them just don’t speak to me. The greatest change in musical taste for me has been the onset of world music fascination. I love world music. I have several of the Putumayo albums, and some random stuff from around the world including Egypt, India, France, West Africa, and New Zealand. I’ve found that beautiful music is what I’m after, and the lyrics being sung in a foreign language is an added bonus. That way I don’t have to focus on the words, and the voices become just another instrument.

It all expresses my changing tastes, both aesthetically and emotionally. I’m sure that some of you can identify. Music is now something primarily set in the background of my life, not at the forefront to express my emotions. It adds flavor, like a movie soundtrack, with an occasional concert thrown in the mix.

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