There are a number of subject areas in a relationship that demand compatibility in order for a relationship to work. There is a number of physical, mental, spiritual, sexual, economic, social, age-related, sex and cultural factors that we either look for or they have to be worked out in order for us to pursue or keep a relationship with someone.
With music playing such an important part of our everyday lives, it fits the bill of all of the above listed. People have deep emotional ties to music; think about it; we have songs that put us in the mood, songs that make us reminisce, songs that instantly perk us up, songs for specific events, etc. Our lives literally have a soundtrack. Music influences our lives and reality daily in ways that we probably underestimate. But can it affect our dating lives and does it affect our dating lives? Websites that help people connect through musical taste such as asoundmatch.com and tastebuds.fm seem to think so.
As singer/songwriter Jamar Germaine stated,”Musical taste can definitely affect whether or not you can date someone because music seeps into other areas of life as well such as clothing and outlooks on life.” Just as television and social media affect our outlooks on life, so does the music and the artist that we consume regularly. We often internalize their perspectives, situations, and advice. Artists normalize issues and circumstances and can drastically change the culture of what we think is acceptable or not.
If nothing else, peoples taste in music is personal, cultural and entertaining. All three are things that have to be respected in a relationship. With music being such an important piece of our lives, is music compatibility a factor for a successful relationship? Does the type of music a person listens to, determine whether you can date them? Could you be in a relationship with a person that has completely opposite musical taste than yours?
Personally, for myself, music is a factor. As a professional speaker, album reviewer/critic and somewhat of an academic, I know that I judge people based on what they consider “entertaining.” According to a 2015 study by Andrew Powell-Morse, that analyzed the reading levels for 225 songs that spent three or more weeks atop Billboard’s pop, country, rock, and hip-hop song charts; the average song on the radio is written at about a 3rd-grade reading level.
I realized that I can be a bit of a snob about music. I pay attention to lyrics and technique. I’m into who wrote and produced, but I don’t like my music dumbed down. As a bit of a sapiosexual — a person who finds intelligence sexually attractive, stimulating or arousing– I don’t find ignorance or ratchetness entertaining.
Secondly, if we don’t relate musically it’s going to affect potential dates because it limits the amount and type of concerts, performances and or festivals that we can attend together. If one person likes the performer and the other doesn’t, it already is a sacrifice. We also have to consider the venue because the venue can make a performance you’re not invested in, a complete deal breaker instead of a sacrifice. Let’s face it depending on the type of music and the level, most music performances take place in stadiums/ arenas, clubs, or lounges. So if you’re not a large crowd or club person, it’ll be a struggle.
As one of my friends Angel explained about her and her husband struggles, “I wish we had similar taste and then concerts and such would be more fun…this week he’s going with me to a concert that I know he doesn’t want to and that kinda takes the fun away from me. It’s more fun to go with ppl who can sing along and have a good time.”
Additionally, if we don’t agree musically, every car ride will be a battle. I personally don’t really like the radio, I’d much rather stream or listen to a playlist; I also like introducing people to new music. My married friend Angel also weighed in here: “Car rides are the worst because the driver gets to choose, so most of the time I am bored out of my mind. But, I have found a few new favorites by listening to his music.”
Lastly, If we don’t relate musically, it’s going to affect how we communicate. I use a lot of musical references in my speech and if you’re too young, or too far outside of the circle it’ll go right over your head or you’re just not going to understand me.
A lack of musical compatibility can turn a fun musical debate into a flat out argument, so it can be a limiting factor of communication. The key to it all is to accept and work through your differences just like everything else in a relationship.
Jose, a DJ, producer, artist, and writer said regarding he and his wife’s differences in musical choice, “You basically try to focus on similar likes. Sometimes it’s awesome; sometimes she’s frustrating. We ultimately always circle back to strongly agree on both loving traditional 80s-90s R&B, which I’m grateful for. But she has her moments where she’ll say people like J. Cole & BIG KRIT sound ‘boring & vanilla sometimes’ or ‘Sade is super-depressing & totally unenjoyable.’ And I’m like ‘F’ you! Blasphemy!”
Music is and can be a factor to who we date and relate to, but just as with everything else, if we’re willing to communicate, be patient, be fair, sacrifice and learn from each other, it’s not a barrier that we can’t overcome.
Written By: Johnny Brownlee II
Follow Johnny on Instagram: @slin_k_polymath