What kind of music do you like?

Thick, Wavy Music Notation Pictures, Images and Photos

“What kind of music do you like?” is a question asked often, very innocuously when you meet someone and are trying to make small talk, trying to discover common ground. And if the answers given by both parties match, there is an instant camaraderie struck up-- as instant as g-mail messaging --and foundations of a lifelong bond (Ok—at least a short term bond which could be a potential life time bond) are laid, over exchanging notes in eager tones, punctuated with “Oh have you heard this number?” and “Oh yes—I absolutely love it.” But if the answers given don’t match, a thin layer of frostiness develops and before you realise you are ensconced in a dungeon or a pedestal (depending on whether you have high self esteem or your self-image alternates with feelings of total worthlessness and despondency) where you can’t be reached, rescued, seen or even heard and the potential friend has turned into an object of disdain, not worth bothering over, banished mentally into the ‘land of awful music lovers.’

A friend of mine who considered (or should that be ‘considers’?) himself a connoisseur of music and had no doubts about his supreme good taste used to classify people based on what kind of music they like. “Tell me what songs they like and I shall tell you what kind of people they are, right from their taste in movies, to books to toothpaste they use, to underwear,” he would bluster and more often than not he was absolutely right!

Whenever someone asks me the kind of music I like, I am at a total loss as to what to say. My answers vary with bi-polar extremes and are directly proportional to the snob quotient of the person in question, which if it happens to be high, I kind of say nonchalantly that the way Giocomo Puccini’s opera Turandot was adapted into the 1990 Soccer World Cup theme interested me (well—I just said it was interesting, never said I liked it—heh heh—but usually they don’t notice that) or that I find Vivaldi’s four seasons utterly uplifting. (which I do) Or perhaps that I like Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia playing Beethoven’s symphony number 3. If the person is about 16 to 20 years old, I’ll usually say that I like Rihanna or Avrill Lavigne ( It's strictly not a lie—I do like some numbers) or Akon’s ‘smack that’ (My eleven year old loves it and if you listen to it five times in a row it kind of grows on you). If the person is in their fifties or sixties I’d usually say “I like the Old English slow songs” or the Beatles (I do like some of their numbers too). If the person is my daughter’s Bhartanatyam dance teacher (who incidentally is a Sangeet Natak academy award winner) I’d usually say “I love M.S. Subhalakshmi” (I do really like and admire deeply her recitation of the suprabhatham or her vathapi ganapathim) or S.P.Balasubramaniam’s Asthalingam. If I am talking to one of my mother’s friends from Kerala, I’d usually say that I like Chottanikara Bhagavathi’s devotional song. (Which again I find deep and moving, maybe because it brings back fond memories).

I also absolutely LOVE the jhatka-matka bollywood numbers. I love Just chill chill’ (I like anything with Salman khan in it ,Period!) as much as I like ‘Behka’. Most people cannot relate to such varied and extreme tastes. Most people are certain what they like. They know where they stand and where their loyalties are deeply embedded ,somewhere in the pecking order of music classification. They know their pedigree and are happy to belong to some order, blending effortlessly, mingling with their like minded brethren.

Me?--I am a mongrel—a very ordinary one at that, with simple basic taste in music. If it makes me want to dance, I love it. I don’t care if the lyrics are bawdy or the dancing is full of pelvic thrusts and er....amply proportioned South Indian Heroines. If by some chance my ‘respectable musically inclined friends’ saw me dancing to such numbers ---which I do when I am in the mood, but given how I look I am sure I won’t qualify anywhere near the main heroine, but my enthusiasm would certainly earn myself a place among the junior artistes dancing in the background, not in the front row, I am not that good, but somewhere in the back row for sure—I am sure they will faint out of shock. Years ago, when I used to live in Pondicherry, there was this video which was a raving hit. It was played full blast at parties, gatherings, social functions—everywhere you turned you could hear this. I still love it after all these years. I draw the curtains in my living room, turn it on and dance, copying the steps with a fair degree of accuracy. When my musically inclined, slightly snobbish friend (Yeah the same one who classifies people on the basis of their taste in music) asked me what kind of music I really like, (I didn’t want to discuss Atif Aslam’s Rabba Sacheya with him which I knew was his favourite) without any hesitation or doubt and with a slight degree of sadistic pleasure I sent him a link to the above discussed video that I embed here:

When he saw it, he said “ CHEEEEE, YUCK--Oh horror of horrors. I thought your tastes would be more refined!Come on—I look better than the hero! How can you like it? Gosh, don’t you have any better taste?”

“Of course I do,” I replied smoothly.”See—there’s something I absolutely adore and it sets my foot tapping, heart racing and I am singing along even before I realise it.” (It was 100% true)

Then I sent him this. :-)


Ps: All the words in colour are links


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. alright not as varied as yours...
    but yes, my choice happens to be quite varied as well....
    GnR to Kenny G, Kishore to Shaan, Beethoven to Rehman, Dvorak to Bond/Il divo...
    I listen to them.. except may be the likes of Judas Priest n stuff like that!! never got the hang of all that noise :P
    nor raunchy numbers!!

  3. Hey preeti!
    hilarious post!
    I am one of those people too that has a pretty diverse taste but dont think as much as yours lol....my sister on the other hand does have a pretty fixed taste in music which tends to change over the years and then she stops liking music she liked before! its quite weird!
    lol...thanks for sharing!

  4. Hahahahaha.... I can't stop laughing!!! This post made my day!!!(or should I say Night!!!)

  5. Wow preeti, such varied taste in music... I must say an allrounder at it!!! :D or that you are musically versatile :D

    as for the music I like, it really depends on my mood... anything from Indian classical to western to bhajans to bollywood stuff... I love music :)

    and I must say reading your blog is one of my favourite activities, I take out time for :)

    keep writing :)

  6. Choice in music is usually an ice-breaker topic, you're right. There could be a lot in common if, the choice of music is similar.

    There's a wide range of stuff you like. Wow! My tastes aren't half as varied. Like the old English songs and contemporary Bollywood (and the songs from the early nineties, when I was growing up) suits me just fine :)

    Very interesting post again :)

  7. Lovely post! I am quite like you in that I have a varied taste in music that changes according to who I talk to and the time of the day but I can never profess to have classic taste :)

    BTW I love the Gemini number too. :)

  8. as i was clicking the link, i was wondering if i'd be seeing "Appadi Podu from Gilli'.. laughed out loud seeing Manmada rasa... right song to send to him..
    i guess i have to agree.. being with friends from all walks of life really helps.. u learn to appreciate the uniqueness of many genres from Andrea Bocelli and The Who to Pollini and Bach and Pink Floyd alongside a Kangal Irindham or a Jaane Kyon back home..

  9. This reminds me of your fridge magnet post - music is indeed another ice-breaker topic....

    You do have a varied choice - wow!

    My choice is not as varied as you, but not too limited either. I like country music a lot...and since I came to the US, somehow, new hindi music appeals less to me. The old hindi music is always good though! Kishore is my favourite :)

    Good post!

  10. Really!!!!! U like anything with Salman Khan in it;-o
    Mee tooo, me toooo!!!! Period!!!!!!

    Just based on this above sentence I'm prepared to swear tht I'm sure I'll like U if I 'ever' do meet U!!!!!!


  11. And tht last link was hilarious...at first I watched with stunned attention & then LOL'ed at ur audaciousness[ummm...cdn't find another word to quite fit in wht I wanted to convey]. Well, sauciness sounded quite trite;-P

  12. i think my music taste is quite eclectic...i am generally a melody fan..but my taste ranges from sound of music to some Rammstien songs..so really i think your friend will have a tough time figuring me out!;-D

  13. just reminded of a song in mission kashmir-

  14. Commited to life: ok- have not heard that.

    Mathew: oh--he would probably classify you into a category, after asking whether or not you like 2 particular songs. He slots everybody no matter what your tastes or what you claim.

    Reflections: of course! Who is anybody to deny me my buxom Tamil heroines and dashing heros? :) Sallu Bhai is THE best ;-)

    Shachi: My husband likes old Hindi too.

  15. Roshan: haven't heard Bocelli or Pollini (Good you told me--they sounded like some exotic vegetable to me :P ;-)Just kidding..Yeah I guess its nice to be able to appreciate everything.

    Laksh: i too don't like all Classical..Some are nice..Some are just 'interesting' :-) Gemini Gemini is surely fantastic :-) LOL

    Stillness speaks : :-) Thank u

    Chinmayi: Well honestly i consider myself a zilch in music. Like I said--i like foot tapping racy numbers

    Dynamite: and your comment made me feel it was really worth it to write this post :) Thank U!

    Profound Compound: thank you for that fab compliment!

    Sumit dey: U dont like Gemini gemini? LOL :)

  16. do listen
    it basically states the power of song
    and ya btw
    last video was amazing...

  17. haha Me too. I like anything that makes me move, both inwards and outwards. It can be very cheesy or crappy, I don't care.

  18. gemini gemini??? what is that???

  19. oye - u like gemini gemini and manmatha raasa :-D i LOVE them..

    i find it very difficult to answer the question - what kind of music you like. Perl (my mp3 player) have songs from classics by Yesudas,chembai,subbalakshmi to techno songs by Tiesto and PvD, and almost all genre in between - from bob marly to kalabhavan mani, from Sampooran to Rishi rich, from lingastakam (yes, the SPB lingastakam) to athichudi, from poems by madusoodanan nair/murugan kattakada to songs from Venalmaram, from Russian Philharmonic Orchestra to Avial, from malayalam to hindi to english to japanese to bojpuri to tamil to vietnamese, i listen to almost all... and i love them all...

    I wonder what your friend will tell about me if i tell him the choice of my songs ;)

  20. Lol!
    You see? This is what I like about you. You know exactly how to make a snob spell the word 'humility' :D

    Basically, you like everything that will make someone feel comfortable in talking w/ you. No doubt you've 113 followers (as of now ;))

    Couldn't open the 'this' you sent him as 'youtube' is blocked at work.

    P.S: All your music repertoire went above my head except for Beatles (Mind you! I ain't 50 or 60 but I truly love them!) :)

  21. WOW! now thats what we call VARIETY! :P

    I have been following up on ur blog for quite some time now. N i have to confess that i am addicted to reading your blogs now.I even have you on my blogroll!

  22. This was such a cute one....I used to be like that too.....varied songs and varied moods....and its spice.

    Loved all the songs you've linked here....and have you tried doing the Manmatha rasa???????? Its addictive

  23. hahahahah...I just cant stop laughing after reading your post. It changed my mood to good for real:-) I have seen both the tamil songs you've linked here so many times, still this time was the best:-)
    Have never heard of people who judge others based on musical taste before...interesting!!
    And I love music in any form I should say, may be depending on my mood, i have preferences;-)
    Overall a hearty post!! Thnaks!!!

  24. A lot of the music I like , I have gained appreciation for because of other peoples enthusiasm or recommendations...I actually like 'discovering' new music....and often when you find a new singer or piece of music, it reminds you of the person who recommended it.I have Cd racks full of memories of other people or events!...most of them treausred.

  25. Manmatha Rasa is awesome! Same is the case with me. I love any song that can make me get up and dance.

    You'll love this song too if you like Manmatha Rasa. A Kannada version of the same song :)


  26. Anonymous11:07 PM

    Gemini Gemini is one number I cant get out of my head too, coz that one played throughout our Xth Std Tour which left me many fond memories, cherished today even after being to many more tours in the intervening 6 years. I can do the "Oo Podu" step in my sleep. :D I am not a fan of the 'Paandi' genre though some numbers are too foot-tapping to miss.

    I have an eclectic choice in music. Though the only genres I can speak on with some degree of authority is the Hindi (which is blooming) , Malayalam (which is quite DEAD) and to some extent, Tamil. I do enjoy odd rock/pop/rap songs I pick up from here and there, but that's it.

    Nice post, again. :)


  27. Anonymous11:15 PM

    3 songs I like greatly. Just try them and let me know. :)
    Hey There Delilah - Plain White T's
    World Filled With Love - Craig David
    Friday - Goldspot

    PS: Your words about similar tastes in music sparking off great friendships is spot on. 2 of my best friends share my taste in music. The friendship may have flourished due to other factors too, but music does provide a strange kinship.

  28. hmmm... nice to meet someone who appreciates beethoven and vivadi... wow... i like the seasons ... at first i was apprehensive.. but in time i started to notice the images th music formed in my mind, like th snow crystals (well are there snow crystals? anyway, thats th image, so there goes) for winter, and leaves falling for autumn....

    you know wat there isnt a thing i like more than to discuss music with someone new.. especially exotic rarely heard music....

    and yeah, manmada rasa is kinda addictive.. you hear it few times, and u cant get it off yr head...

    PS: i wake up to chottanikkara songs everyday... but i think its wrong to disturb anybody's sleep by blaring recorded songs froma temple at 5 in th morning.. and that isnt a question of religion!

  29. hey...been here after some time...music is my relaxation medicine..often love soothing or slow or romantic or sad songs. Also love old hindi songs. Strangely am not much into English songs. some of Backstreet boys,Complicated by Avril Lavigne adn my all time fav frm English "Words from Boyzone" absolutely love it. I usually listen to the kind of latka-jhatka songs but will not classify them as my all time favs, theya re just come and gos..but wont stay..

  30. oh by the way..in my college days we used to shout Manmada rasa and such "pandi" songs at the top of our voice while going on tours and @ clg functions even if i din know the lyrics after the first few line ;) Even used to dance on tht (typical Tamil style)..

  31. yeah..manmadha rasa..am quite fond of it..:) nice post. i was all thinking what sort of music i like, then i realised i too don't have a particular genre as afvourite. it depens on my mood.

    here after a long time.:)

    hey btw, i saw u on the stc cochin community(in orkut). i am a teresian too, and was surprised to find out you are one too!!:) english lit i guess? wow! jaishree misra, you....our college is indeed a talent house huh??? one of those times when i am actually proud of being a teresian!!!


    keep writing!

  32. Phew! thank god, we forged a bond before we needed this ice breaker...

    i'm quite flummoxed when i'm asked what music i like...i'm a person of the moment and i enjoy music without really realising what i'm listening to...will rectify that soon enough with all ure links...

    and smack that? i like that...my son has put the alvin and chipmunks version of it as my ring tone...and mostly am enjoying it before somebody gently piints out to me that my phone's rnging *sheepish grin

  33. well then..you can check out the latest..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuwhTmM_QGQ&feature=related
    Welcome to the club

  34. i read your post.. and i can't wait to watch the links at home (no sound card and speakers in office! :P )

    music is one of my cornerstones in life... and music does reflect the personality of the person... it can be fun, varied, serious, flippant, outrageous, mocking, moving, inspiring, humbling.. and so much more... and all of it fits in well into our world, right? :)

    i'll send you a list of top 60 love songs (not all of them) from post-80s films which you might like... i will then send you the files of whichever songs from that list you would like to hear. :)

  35. I can absolutely relate to ur dillemma of being a mongrel for I am one too who craves equally for Rock and Cranatic music.I prefer to call it Universal taste though!Y comprmoise on the pomposity factor,eh?;)

  36. I enjoy your writing and loved this post

  37. I love different types of music too...but probably not quite as varied as yours! :) I love the Tamil dappankuthu numbers too...esp the Vikram ones!

  38. Mongrel here! Extreme and varied describes my taste in music too! :-)

  39. had a good laugh. hope u are settled by now.

  40. i could not agree with you more. i find it very difficult to explain my varied taste in music. Heavy Metal to rock, Spanish classical, Indian Classical, Mukesh to Mannadey ....Metallica to Madonna ...and of course cannot leave 50 Cent out...

  41. Ranjini: me too!! Me too!! :)

    Jaggu:Thank you :)

    Rm: heh heh..Our stuff arrived--so whole process begins again..sigh.Eventually we will be.

    Cool Cancerian:Same pinch!

    Wannabe writer: i like Vikram too..and i learnt a very amusing new word--'dapankuthu' :D

  42. Shails: thank you! That is music to my ears! ;-)

    Manoranjani: Mongrel was in extreme sarcasm at very refined tastes :)

    Guru: very true! I did get your list.Thanks so much. Will revert. (I cant recognise some--but when I hear it I think i will)

    Sri: oh yes!! I did! Thanks so much! That guy in the video resembles Vivek Oberoi--who is he?

    Suma: :-) My kids loved the movie Alvin and chipmunks.

    Damsel: nice to meet a fellow Teresian! Which year? I was in B.com, not Lit. And Jaishree misra--havent heard of her :P Pls enlighten.

    Shantharam:Oh yes--pandi songs is what we used to say too! Had forgotten.

  43. Avaran: oh yes--i agree with you so much about loud music blaring out 'bhakti ganaams' early in the morning..I guess i appreciate it as i am far away! Vivaldi and beethoven, i like the feeling of joy some of their compositions create..Rare and exotic--i really dont know.

    Elmariachi: Thanks so much for the links. I have heard 'hey there delilah' and i have it in my i-pod as well as my phone! The other two links u sent, for some reason it says that "This video is not available in your country" Don't know why.

    Varun: Didnt know there was a Kannada version of it!

    Niall: Oh yes--i know what u mean.

    Prats: i do it and my kids beg me to stop :D

    Gunjan:Thank you for de lurking! and thanks for blogrolling!!

    Still thinking: You must see 'this' whenever u have time :-) I was merely trying to defend myself when i sent him 'this'!

    xh: he is an absolute snob when it comes to music. What he says isnt even worth listening to. He would probably slot you in some weird classification he has in his head.

    Sumit: its the song in the video posted.

    DM: Same pinch :)

    Committed; ok--will do.Thanks.

  44. OMG. ok..jaishree mishra, author of ancient promises..she was from our college too,am told.

  45. I looove Vivaldi's 4 seasons...n gemini gemini is a catchy song too i watch it for the guy more than the song ;)


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