Music is subjective. Well, sort of. While the way a song or an artist affects you is deeply personal, it's pretty likely that most of your choices fit a prearranged pattern. Learn the patterns of others, the way a politician studies demographics, and you can learn a lot about people from their musical choices. After years of study, here are some of the rules we've mapped out to make our life easier.
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The Golden Rule
Never trust anyone who hates Tom Petty.
If someone says Bruce Springsteen is a poet of the working class, that person is not working class.
Politics never make music better. Never. But they can make music much, much worse.
People who talk about "real country" usually have no place talking about rural America. Especially clueless are those who only count left-wingers as authentic country, when most country fans are conservative.
However, Toby Keith does suck.
Matters of the Heart (and Loins)
If she's into The Doors, check her ID.
The first mix tape (or, today, burned CD) he makes you will teach you more about him than the first six months of conversation.
Make-out music warning signs (by age group): Joy Division, Nine Inch Nails, Dashboard Confessional. (At breakup time, don't say we didn't warn you.)
Choosing Marvin Gaye shows a lack of imagination.
After getting dumped, getting really into Exile in Guyville is a sign that you are on the road to recovery.
Never drink with someone with no guilty pleasures (do you want to have boozy sing-alongs to Wire?).
Jimmy Buffett fans aren't wrong, they are just drunker than you.
The more Phish bootlegs they own, the more pot you should buy from them.
If you're going to puke, you might as well do it to the Velvet Underground's first album. It's like spewing in a movie.