I found myself needing to buy new headphones recently.  The very helpful chap in the store asked me various sensible questions so that we could home in on the one that would most suit my needs, from among the myriad of choices available.  One such question was ‘what sort of music do you most like to listen to’.

Readers of this blog will know that this was a very difficult one to answer.

Picture the scene. A busy, bustling store. Everyone wanting to get through their business as quickly as possible, particularly the server and the next customer after me.  Could I think of anything to say?  How could I sum up an answer in a simple, single sentence? How could I encapsulate 5,000 tracks-worth of genre-spanning richness into a pithy reply?

What could I have done?  What would any sensible, erudite music blogger have done? Yes, of course, just casually mentioned a half-dozen or so likes and dislikes to illustrate the sort of range that the new headphones would need and not need to cover.

What did I actually do?  I panicked.  I blurted out that I liked everything from Bach to Take That.

Woah! Everything seemed to stop.  People turned in slow motion, jaws open. Children began to cry.  Tumbleweed blew past.  The server stared at me.

“Well you’ve embarrassed yourself now, haven’t you”, he said with a grin!  He was, of course referring to the TT reference.  It’s not at all cool to even mention them, let alone play their music, even though they are a world-wide super-group.

I’ll confess I have their 1996 Greatest Hits album from their original time together – this seems pretty naff these days, even though the songs made them so successful originally.

I also have their 2007 Beautiful World album, released by the band minus Robbie Williams, and which I think is fabulous.  There is not a single track here which I do not like.  Here is a small pick of some of my favourites, but I would urge you to explore the whole album:

They have released other albums since, none of which I have particularly got into.  But I have got (slightly randomly) their single The Flood, which they released in 2010 when Robbie Williams briefly re-joined the band. This is another great track and highlights the core strength of the main team, regardless of band members coming and going.

Listening to Take That’s music again for this post, I am once more reminded that everyone is entitled to like what they like without having to justify it. Sometimes you can’t explain why you warm to something – you just do.  It does not matter if it is not cool, or it is not the the next person’s favourite thing. Indeed, we would not have as much musical choice if composers and musicians all played the same thing all the time – we would still be on something like Gregorian chant.  Lovely though that is, think of all the things we would have missed – it wouldn’t matter which headphones we had. 🙂


11 thoughts on “It’s OK to be you (and I’ll be me)

  1. So which headphones did you come home with? Yes, whatever you like, you like. The other day I was reminded of a person I know who adored Lynn Anderson. I thought does she still like her? Will she be sad to hear of her death?

    1. I bought these ones http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bose-SoundSport-Headphones-Apple-iPhone/dp/B00M7YP12Y/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1438757993&sr=8-16&keywords=bose+headphones
      They fitted various of my requirements, and I have had similar ones in the past, which have been excellent.

      The news about Lynn Anderson was indeed very sad, and it is interesting how much people can be affected by the death of people they did not know, but whose music, or acting or whatever touched them deeply. The same is happening over here at the moment following the death of Cilla Black recently, not sure if she would have been known to you guys, but she was a UK ‘national treasure’.

  2. I now have the lyric “I want you back” in my head. I can’t remember which song that’s from… perhaps that’s the name of the song? Pop groups are so often put down but to write a super catchy song and to last a long time is hard – if not everyone would be doing it!

  3. I loved your time slowing down moment, like The Matrix in a shop. You have inspired me to look up my Spotify account that is often forgotten about thanks to YouTube, I have everything from Holst to Rage Against the Machine on there. I think to keep to one genre or style is an odd choice because there is so much rich music out there these days that transcends barriers, it would be rud to not celebrate it.

    1. Thanks so much for these comments. Sorry to take a little while to reply – things have been a bit festival-hectic here! Anyway, it’s so funny that you should mention The Matrix – I almost put in a reference to this when writing the post, and tried to find a relevant YouTube clip, but it did not quite work in the narrative in the end, so I had to find my own way of expressing myself – I’m so glad you found this bit to be effective.

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