Friend #2: “My issue is that I don’t listen to a ton of new music. So whenever men are like, “What are you listening to these days?” (and ONLY men ever ask that as an ice breaker), I’m like, ‘Um this album that came out in 1983.’
And then they quiz you on the artist’s entire catalog. For instance, I really like this one Mission of Burma album, but I am hesitant to bring that up to a man, because I don’t listen to ALL of their albums.
This hit close to home, because I’ve been guilty of this. Ten years ago a friend shared with me that she had bought a Built to Spill album, and I got carried away with my enthusiasm, and began rattling on about the Halo Benders and other Built to Spill side projects. I wasn’t trying to one-up her, at least not consciously, but without meaning to I completely shut her out of a conversation she initiated, and rather than listening to her share her excitement for this Built to Spill album (one I didn’t even have at the time), I just made her feel shitty and inferior. I didn’t blame her for not talking about music more with me after that.
I like to think I’ve gotten better about this now that I write about music for a living, since people come up to me all the time and want to talk about new albums, some of them music geeks, others much more casual listeners who just want to weigh in on whatever album everybody else is weighing in at the moment. And instead of talking over them, I listen to them. Funny how I usually take away more from the casual listeners than the music geeks now: Their thumbs-up/thumbs-down take on new albums and their earnest recommendations tell me way more about how people engage with music than the guy at the party whose trying to wow me by rattling off lists of new mixtapes ever could.