What makes you tick? What makes me tick? Other than some really poor jokes about parasites, I’ll venture to say that we don’t often know ourselves as well as we might think.

I am notorious for insisting that people think about the “why” of everything. After all, it’s probably a waste of time if you can’t explain why you’re doing it, whatever “it” is.

One question we rarely ask ourselves: “Why am I craving this particular style of music or song?” Now, some things are just plain obvious. We listen to heartbreak or angry songs after a breakup because we either want to wallow in our misery or we want to lash out in anger for the pain we feel.

But what about the hip hop, the rap, the trance, the acid jazz, the trip hop, the what-the-heck-ever-is-out-there-these-days? If it’s not a ballad or a country song, do we know why we’re listening? Do we ever stop to consider it?

Driving to play basketball, I notice that I am more prone to listen to egocentric rap/hip hop. When I want to write I listen mostly to world fusion. When I want to sleep, I don’t listen to music.

And there are at least a dozen musical styles which I’ll enjoy once they’re playing yet would never select them given a choice. They simply aren’t what I crave.

I have to credit my wife with the original thought on this topic. She first noticed that she enjoyed certain types of music, and that it fed certain predispositions within her.

Another truth: you become what you behold. Very simply, that means you are always becoming like whatever holds your attention. In music, a person listening to rap is most likely to behave in an egocentric, show off, hero-complex sort of way. A person listening to country music is most likely to behave in a practical, slightly depressed way. A person listening to classical music is most likely lying to themselves about their musical taste. People don’t often crave classical music because cravings come from the need to drown something else out. Classical music doesn’t really possess the raw emotional power to tune out other life issues. The only people I’ve noticed listening to classical music are those who are hiding from confrontation in the world or are simply looking to escape it all if only for a few minutes.

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