fun with musical taste and identity

In my intro theory class yesterday I did an exercise using PollEverywhere to evoke associations between musical taste and identity. I played four musical pieces and asked the students to type free-text responses to “What kind of people like this song?”. Their responses were lots of fun, and I present them below in raw form for your enjoyment, interest, and comment.

1.) Megan Trainor, “All About that Bass”

  • most people
  • Mainstream consumers of pop culture
  • D everyone fun
  • kids
  • Overweight females
  • not me
  • people who only listen to the radio
  • Girls that are overweight
  • upbeat people
  • 5
  • Bigger girls
  • bootylicious
  • white girls
  • top 10 iTunes lovers
  • Women
  • people who like pop music (aka dancing queens)
  • People that suck
  • People with impeccable taste
  • people with no music taste
  • People who like the Pop genre
  • Basic b*tches People who dont like Gucci mane
  • average passive consumer of commercial pop music
  • Preteens
  • Ppl who just wanna have a feel good moment
  • teenage girls
  • younger generation
  • People who like to workout to catchy music
  • white girls with no class
  • Most young people
  • B People who don’t listen to real music
  • People who haven’t listened to the radio much
  • Middle schoolers
  • Me in the car
  • People who like pop music People who like pop music
  • Ones who have no taste in music
  • young women
  • Men
  • No clue I mean I do
  • girls
  • People who are immersed in popular culture
  • not feminists
  • Girls
  • catchy
  • people who like to dance and aren’t pretentious
  • Not hipsters
  • People who like easy to listen to music
  • People that follow top 40 songs
  • tweens
  • D Tweens
  • people who like catchy tunes
  • young girls
  • People that like pio
  • people that are bigger than a size 2 or people that are concerned with body image.
  • my little sister..
  • People with no time
  • ME
  • Airheads
  • Taylor Swift Lovers
  • 5 Mainstream people

2.) Public Enemy, “Rebel Without a Pause”

  • people who like socially conscious hip hop
  • People who like rap
  • Generally speaking original hip hop fans
  • thugs from the 90s
  • energetic
  • people who want to dance
  • Rap fans
  • me me
  • 90s rap enthusiasts
  • upbeat
  • People who appreciate interesting instrumental background
  • rap luvers
  • men
  • people who like old school rap
  • People who like old school hip hop
  • rap music enthusiasts
  • Angsty teens
  • Whistle fanatics
  • people who appreciate old school
  • Hip hop dancer
  • G’s with or without their feet up
  • People that have appreciate the history of rap/hip-hop
  • people that like beats that are different from the norm
  • Old school men
  • frat boys
  • idk but i want to bang my head against a wall
  • People who don’t care about their ears being destroyed from that high pitched noise
  • All kinds
  • jump around type of people
  • People from the Tribe Called Quest era
  • People with baggy cargo shorts
  • People into old school rap
  • no idea
  • west coast OGs uncles
  • all kinds
  • My friend at ole miss
  • Guys who think they’re cool
  • people that know what real rap should be
  • Head bobbers
  • old men
  • Women
  • Old school peps
  • Hipsters and hip hop fans. Also people who are into teapots as music
  • older people
  • hip people
  • old school
  • rhymes and good beats
  • people who are really into rap and its history
  • Hipsters
  • It’s not easy to listen to
  • Old generation
  • old people
  • Good beat
  • Boys
  • people who like old school hiphop
  • people who like rap
  • Old school rap lovers
  • People that like that tea kettle whistle noise
  • hip hop dancers
  • People who aren’t prone to headaches
  • old school rap enthusiasts
  • People with screechy voices
  • 90s
  • Old School rap lovers
  • People with no hearing left
  • People born cerca 1985

3.) Maria Callas, “La Mamma Morta”

  • people lucky enough to get into classical music
  • rich people who consume opera
  • Very very patient people
  • People who can appreciate outside cultures other than than own.
  • my grandmother Rich opera enthusiasts
  • old people
  • music majors
  • People who listen to Pandora classical for studying radio
  • please cut this off
  • people who study a lot
  • dramatic people
  • People with appreciation for talented vocals
  • hardcore study music
  • dogs
  • rich people who were on the titanic
  • Old people
  • to study too or pretend they are high class
  • Old people
  • Your richest uncle
  • Those who hold their pinky out when they drink
  • People who like giant coc\ old people
  • yall some haters
  • Those who appreciate opera
  • Mr. Bean
  • classy people
  • high-class people
  • Opera lovers
  • Old people Old people
  • studious people
  • Technical technique enthusiasts
  • cultured people or fancy old ladies
  • My choir teacher in high school
  • My grandma
  • Europeans
  • Nostalgic grandmothers
  • High class people
  • Deaf grandmas
  • sleepy people
  • Older people
  • Classic music lovers The bourgeois
  • Me!
  • people that are studying
  • classy older people
  • people who are lying serial killers
  • people with cultured tastes your mom
  • the pretentious
  • Rich folks
  • Old
  • Classical lovers
  • boring people
  • people who are sitting in a fancy chair in a fancy room with a book
  • Old people
  • opera-fanatics
  • old people
  • Rich people
  • People that can appreciate the beauty of a singer’s note
  • yo this takes talent you uncultured swine
  • professional singer
  • Old people
  • the lady singing it deaf individuals
  • They no longer exist
  • My music prof
  • The villain from Whiplash
  • Anyone who doesn’t mind feeling lost
  • Professor perrin

4.) Twisted Sister, “We’re Not Going to Take It”

  • everyone
  • People who like to jam
  • angry people
  • Teens that try too hard 2 b kewl
  • rebels
  • everyone
  • Angsty teenagers
  • rebels
  • optimistic people
  • Frustrated people
  • rock on
  • errrrbody
  • my dad but also kinda me
  • Generation Y
  • rockers
  • 90s people
  • Generation x
  • people who like rock
  • ‘Mericans
  • Patriots
  • Not the taliban
  • my dad
  • guitar and drum enthusiasts
  • Dads
  • angsty teens
  • people who like rock
  • Dads
  • america
  • Awesome people
  • people with sense
  • People into rock
  • my dad
  • my dad when he is driving the car
  • People trying to pump themselves up before asking someone out
  • D My parents
  • My kind of people
  • students
  • The proletariat
  • People stuck in the 80s
  • old people
  • awesome chill people
  • people with good taste
  • anyone who had to experience high school
  • Me
  • People who know what good music is
  • old guys
  • head bangerz
  • My dad
  • rebels
  • People that like rock
  • People that are tired of other peoples actions that are “higher” on a social ladder than they are
  • drunk
  • Spirited people
  • angsty teens
  • me after i get a bad grade
  • True Americans
  • Rebels
  • People in this class
  • People needing to get pumped up for a test
  • High schoolers in that awk time right before you graduate and you hate your parents

5.) George Strait, “All My Ex’s Live in Texas”

  • if you think there’s any real musical difference between this and the other pop songs we’ve listened to you are wrong and have bad taste
  • idk but I’m from Texas
  • hicks
  • People who like catchy music
  • your dead great grandma
  • anyone that wears a cowboy hat on a regular basis moonshiners
  • rednecks
  • simple country folk
  • 90s country lovers
  • country folks
  • people on farmer’sonly.com
  • old
  • Good time people
  • beachin’ it
  • people who think cowboy boots are cute
  • country folk
  • Texans
  • please stop this
  • Country people
  • Bald eagles
  • People who grew up drinking sweet tea from a mason jar
  • Hillbillies
  • horses
  • True southerners
  • People that enjoy REAL COUNTRY MUSIC
  • cowboys
  • people who appreciate REAL country
  • People who played the old grand theft auto.
  • real traditional country lovers
  • HALP!!! D: HALP!!! D:
  • people who date a lot of texans
  • People from the deep deep south
  • people who like to get around
  • People who go to walmarts in rural Texas
  • People from Texas
  • People with a sense of humor
  • rednecks
  • Younger people
  • Hill folk
  • people who like country music
  • Rednecks
  • Southern grandparents
  • not people who live in tx
  • dads and grandfathers
  • Ted cruz
  • Cowboys and momma
  • Awful people
  • horrible people
  • cowboys
  • Rednecks
  • southernest of the southerners
  • country folk
  • Me
  • Rural folk
  • people i cant associate with
  • Hicks
  • Don’t mess with Texas
  • Depressed souls who just lost their loved ones all to this state
  • People with exes in Texas
  • People with relationship probs
  • Drake cuz all his ex’s live in Texas like he’s George strait

Author: andrewperrin

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

5 thoughts on “fun with musical taste and identity”

  1. Great exercise. Can you say more about the conceptual context within which you did this? Reading(s) assigned? I would do it in connection with Bourdieu, but that doesn’t exactly speak to identity.

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    1. It’s in connection with Bourdieu, as you suggest. My style with this class is to start with a given theorist but be fairly free with insights and ideas that are related but not specific to the theorist. In this case, I will use the results to talk about the insight that cultural consumption is identity work, but that Bourdieu’s specific claim about cultural hierarchy being attached to very specific genres is probably too France-specific to be generically true.

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      1. Very interesting. I don’t know if I am allowed to post links on this site, but I play around with Bourdieu and musical taste in my theory class. http://www.davidyamane.com/contemporary-application-of-bourdieus-distinction-in-musical-taste/

        Distinction is too French and too old for my students to relate to (there is also that cultural omnivore hanging out in my classroom, too), but it is definitely a conversation starter, which is welcome in teaching theory.

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