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. 🙂