Submitted by buildabruce t3_z7gr1g in Music

So pretty much all of my life I just listened to the music people around me were listening to. When I was a kid, I listened to whatever was on the radio and what my parents played at home. As a teen, I just listened to whatever my older sister would recommend. Now, in college, I listen to whatever songs my friends are. I feel like I don't really have an established taste in music for myself. I love singing and playing guitar as well, so it's a bit odd that I don't really know what music to listen to. Recently I've turned to Spotify's "Discover Weekly" playlist to start listening to more songs, but it's still really awkward when people ask me, "what genres do you like to listen to?" or, "who are your favorite artists?" and I literally have no idea how to respond. On top of that, when I look at music festival lineups I feel like I don't know anyone even though I should.

Don't get me wrong, when I hear a song I can tell you if I do or don't like it, and I also am generally familiar with some genres I like, but I don't even know what the genres entail. Like I've been told I seem to listen to a lot of RnB but what even is that? I pretty much only know how to identify a pop song but that's because it's literally just whatever is popular at the time. Especially now where I feel like a lot of artists like mixing genres, it's a lot more confusing.

Overall my main questions are:

  1. What are the genres to be familiar with and what are the identifying features of that genre? (examples of each if possible)
  2. How do I get into learning what genres I like? How do I determine what artists to listen to and follow?
  3. Who/what music is popular right now that I MUST know?

I'd also really appreciate any personal music/album/artist recommendations! For a bit of background, like old Ed Sheeran (back when he just played his guitar with a loop pedal and occasionally sang fast). Also, because I sing and play guitar, I like songs with fun guitar and vocal parts (hard enough to be interesting, but easy enough for an amateur to learn without selling their soul). I also apparently like listening to RnB and am currently trying to get into SZA. I am also a gay man so I'd love to listen to songs by other gay men. I've tried Lil Nas X but he isn't really for me, though I still listen to his stuff to support my people! I've been recommended Kevin Abstract and Frank Ocean so far, so any of their songs (or any other ones by other gays) that you could recommend would be awesome. I'm also a sucker for sad/romantic songs (been listening to Lizzy McAlpine's "In Agreement" on repeat) and/or amazing vocals (heard Renee Rapp's "In the Kitchen" recently and that's what I mean).

Writing this, I realize I'm not clueless, but I still feel like I have so much to learn. Teach me wise ones!



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untitled5a1 t1_iy6jfv9 wrote

This is going to sound antiquated, but independent FM radio stations have been great for me for music discovery. Two that I happen to enjoy are WEHM out of Long Island and the Colorado Sound out of the Denver area. But there are literally hundreds to choose from. Good luck!


Jackattack736 t1_iy6kc14 wrote

2nd this. I've found a bunch of new music listening to WFUV based out of Fordham University while driving, watching NPR Tiny Desk Concerts or KEXP's live performances on Youtube (based in Seattle)


Ok-Penalty314 t1_iyaaujf wrote

Tiny desk and audiotree have introduced me to SO much good music I’d never have found otherwise. Absolute goldmines


ermax18 t1_iy71mku wrote

Agreed, there are a handful of good radio stations out there. I also listen to a few shows on BBC Radio 6 Music and browse around on Bandcamp when Spotify’s discovery gets stale. Once you manually find some new stuff and like it in Spotify, it wakes up Spotify’s discovery algorithms and a new flow of music comes in.


theogpdxsteve t1_iy6mikc wrote

KEXP. Stream online, YouTube for video performances. It’s the only educator you will need.


vakr001 t1_iy6hxkc wrote

Keep an open mind and give a listen multiple times. One big thing, ignore genres, they confuse everything. I listen to everything from The Weeknd, to TesseracT, to Madonna, to Combichrist. Some suggestions for you to start you journey:

  • Queen
  • Judas Priest

Both rock, both with gay frontmen


Jaded_Poet_1120 t1_iy6i9cs wrote

One of my favorite ways I expand my music knowledge/find things I like is a little game I made for myself. It’s basically where I find one album from any artist that I’ve never listened to fully and listen to the whole thing. (Very simple yes I know) I personally use Spotify so- my favorite way to start this out is to start out on an artist you like, then chose a recommended artist and pick any album and listen to it! It’s a fun way to start “getting into it” I felt like I only listened to “alt music” so I’ve been listening to a lot of rap lately to expand my horizons :) I wish you luck in your journey! Live music is also a great way to find new stuff! Anytime there’s a free ticket opportunity- take it!!


buildabruce OP t1_iy6ij2m wrote

Pardon my ignorance, but what is "alt music"?


Jaded_Poet_1120 t1_iy6j2vf wrote

Alternative music is like a sub genre of rock, bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, sublime, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, weezer are all considered alt. Spotify’s alt playlists are actually really good and I highly recommend them :)


Howineverwondered t1_iy7hwr2 wrote

Sorry but I'd just like to share that to me this text seems like an alien wrote it. Maybe music just isn't that dear to you (why would you purposely want to change it?), probably something else is.


Leather_Messiah t1_iy8o0qv wrote

Agreed. This post basically says “I’m not interested in music, how do I be interested in music?”


stainlessflamingo t1_iy6hlvd wrote

Just explore explore explore. See a festival your friends are going to? start looking up the artist on spotify? find one you like? theres a handy feature that lets you make a playlist based on that song/artist (its written as "song radio"). THERE ARE NO RULES! The best part about this digital age of music, is you can try out TONS of music without much barrier of entry. Also with spotify make sure you like/heart the stuff you like. it will keep suggesting similar stuff to you.


mubydram t1_iy6hztb wrote

Are you familiar with bandcamp? You can browse by tag (genre) and it'll show related tags. R&B, for instance.

You would like Lucky Daye - Candydrip. The album is filled with bangers.


Accomplished-Cash104 t1_iy6ipwg wrote

Just look at genre playlists on Spotify and it’ll have the most iconic songs from that genre on there and if you like the artist then just listen to more of their music look at their discography


Gonzostewie t1_iy6kbh1 wrote

Music is visceral. Ya feel it or ya don't. That's what is great about it. It is one thing we can all share yet it is so very personal.

Here's some of my recent favorites:

Silk Sonic: Anderson Paak & Bruno Mars made a fun little 70s RnB album that is too much fun.

Must-listen album for guitar players: Maggot Brain has become one of my favorite albums of all time.


thisolddog1 t1_iy6mbvy wrote

I think what you’re already doing is good. Nothing wrong with listening to what’s on the radio and what friends like.

If you feel like a deeper dive then:

The book Major Labels by Kelefa Sanneh will give you a good overview of the main music genres.

Here’s a rock history playlist of favorites (60s through today):

Here are current day alternative and indie favorites:


AIC_333 t1_iy6p67j wrote

Paramore makes great music and the members and fan base love gay people


NosyargKcid t1_iy6q1lp wrote

> So pretty much all of my life I just listened to the music people around me were listening to. When I was a kid, I listened to whatever was on the radio and what my parents played at home. As a teen, I just listened to whatever my older sister would recommend. Now, in college, I listen to whatever songs my friends are.

Asking those people what they're listening to, & saving this artists. Listen to the album that song is from to see how you like it. Do you just like the song, or does that whole album's sound speak to you? If the album does, check out their other stuff. On Spotify there's "Artists similar to x" which will be another good place to look & see. If you want to see what genres people use for it, I suggest going to (RYM) & searching the album to see what most people recognize it as. When you see a genre you don't recognize, look it up on google & play some other music of that genre. See if you can spot similarities in sounds, instruments, singing styles.

> On top of that, when I look at music festival lineups I feel like I don't know anyone even though I should.

Look up some of the artists you don't know. Those at the top will probably be the most popular ones, so they could be a good place to start.


nocturnal_confidant t1_iy6rnww wrote

If you're seeing live music, always go and see the support act or bands that are lower on the billing


ermax18 t1_iy714j6 wrote

Keep using discover weekly and be sure to like the songs you like. Spotify gets better the more you train it by liking songs.

Don’t worry about genres. It will put you in a box and make you closed minded like 99.9% of the people who are asking you that question. If someone asks me what kind of music I like I basically tell them my tastes go all over the spectrum. If they ask me to name some stuff, I do and they have no clue who any of them are and end the conversation.

What ever you do, don’t worry about being judged by others for your music tastes. Most people listen to top 40 trash and miss out on the good stuff. Or they will claim modern music sucks when actually they are lumping all modern music with top 40 trash.


bulcano1 t1_iy72gm4 wrote

Generas are useful for categorizing and academy porpoises so don't get to caught on it , doesn't really matter what generas you like music has no boundaries that's why so much mixing of sounds and feelings , you are at a spot where you could take it really open minded and go on rabbit holes of listening , what I mean is just listening as many different songs , albums , and artist as posible , I'll recommend to practice active listening Wich is focussing 100% on the music start with small sessions, Here shuffle my likes on Spotify:

Most important of all is have fun


sorengray t1_iy7mh35 wrote

Check out King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. They play in so many different styles/genres and show how genres are elastic, and one can like many flavors.

Omnium Gatherum is a great album to dive into and check out a bunch of their styles in one album.