Changing gears #2: Listen to your least favorite genre of music

Everyone hates some kind of music. Maybe you can’t stand rap. Or dislike classical music. Or really despise country. Or think electronica is boring and repetitive.

But it’s really more about the artist, not the genre. If you open yourself up to new experiences and try to appreciate a genre with “new ears,” you might surprise yourself.

I normally can’t stand country, but there are a few songs that have really changed my mind. Certainly classics like Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and Kenny Rogers’ “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).” I wouldn’t have guessed that I liked the Dixie Chicks until a friend made me listen to “Cowboy Take Me Away.”

Your mission today, should you choose to accept it:

  • Head to Pandora (or install their app on your iPhone) and try out something top-rated in a new genre. You might prefer Last.FM. Even iTunes has radio stations. It’s all free.
  • On your TiVo, try out the Rhapsody 30-day free trial and explore some top picks, or search using a letter at random and try out a new artist. Or download a top-rated music video from Music Choice from an artist you’ve never listened to before. (Or fire up Live 365 too.)
  • Go to and click on someone’s name at random, then click on artist you’ve never heard of. (Odds are it’ll be something gothy, in my experience.)
  • Get your rap-loving friend to play her favorite rap song and explain why she likes it. Note how infectious her enthusiasm is.
  • Try a classical radio station for your drive home.
  • Stop by a café with a folk artist or jazz combo playing. Live music always sounds a million times better than recorded music, anyway. Give it a try.
  • Your cable or satellite company gives you free music. Head to the end of the guide and try out their electronica Chill station. Give it 20 minutes while you do some web browsing.
  • Insert your idea here.

6 Responses to “Changing gears #2: Listen to your least favorite genre of music”

  1. slacy Says:

    I regularly listen to my entire music collection on ‘random’. I’ve got about 160G of music in 32,000 songs. Most of it is stuff that I’ve downloaded and never listened to, like the SXSW collections, etc… Does that count? (Probably not, I digress, since even I don’t have much rap music in my collection…)

  2. Stephen Says:

    It counts if you skip to a genre you normally don’t listen to!

    Of course, in the spirit of changing gears week, what I recommend for you individually is to change your usual practice this week, and listen to a single album today and for the next five days.

  3. Kimberly Says:

    What if gangster rap is the only genre we *don’t* listen to? 🙂 I suppose I could give it a shot.

    Great suggestion though! I love live jazz… The Poor House Bistro in San Jose has some grest live music! I wonder if there’s any live bluegrass around here?

  4. Stephen Says:

    Give it a listen and tell me what I should try…

  5. Kimberly Says:

    I’m listening to gangster rap right now. Some of it is outright laughable (like this one where they’re rapping over top of “Sweet Home Alabama”) and some of it makes me ears bleed.

    I started by browsing iTunes user contributed playlists then moved over to Pandora with a few artists.

    I hate to say it, but having been a music major in college, I think my music horizons are about as expanded as they’re going to get.

  6. slacy Says:

    Following-up on a long lost post here, because of some weird serendipity. I really like Rilo Kiley (alt-country? femme rock?) anyway, I saw that amazon was having a deal on the lead singer’s solo albums, so I spent the $1.99 and downloaded it.

    Turns out that its sort of christian country. So, if you’re a Rilo Kiley fan and you’re looking for something thats different but still familiar, you could check this out.

    Oh, and in the genre of country, you should also check out the band “Hem” ( which is really great. Again, not old-school country like Cash, but country nonetheless…

    BTW, ping me for a login to my music server, where you can stream a lot of this stuf…

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