When it comes to discussion topics that can quickly escalate into full-blown arguments, music is near the top of the list, alongside things like religion, politics and whether or not this video is definitive proof that Lady Gaga has a penis.
However, just like anything else that friends probably shouldn't talk about, music comes up all the time in casual discussions, and there's never a shortage of people willing to share their opinion on the matter. If you listen in on enough of these discussions, you'll hear some recurring arguments that, when examined a little more deeply, reveal things about the person making the argument that they probably didn't want you to know. For example ...
None. There's not a single note of good music being made anywhere on the continent ... no, the planet ... at all right now. That's what some people would have you believe. Despite the thousands, possibly millions of musicians out there giving it their very best effort every single day, nobody is hitting the mark. It's all awful.
Translation: "I don't know how to use a computer."
Look, thanks to the Internet, there is good everything available pretty much everywhere. And nothing is easier to find than new music. Think about all of those friends you have, out there on the Internet clicking the "Like" button on every goddamn thing that tickles their fancy. Annoying, right? Sure it is, until you see that 190 of your friends all like a thing you've never heard of and decide to check it out for yourself and find that you like it as well.
It works just as well with music as it does with comedy websites staffed almost exclusively by winos. If you can't find anything to listen to, just turn the Internet on. The rest should take care of itself.
That's why claims of "There's no good music anymore!" should be treated as one thing only ... a cry for help. This is an increasingly computer-centric world we live in. If you can't use one to keep you entertained in whatever capacity is going to do the trick, you might as well just stop trying anything. Hell, even mom can fire up a game of solitaire on the laptop if she gets bored. Finding new music isn't much of a stretch from that.
Granted, if you started your search for new music sometime before the Internet happened, I can see why you might have given up at some point and just resigned yourself to a life of listening to Bon Jovi (who are awful by the way, so, you know, glass houses and shit) while you drive your kids to soccer practice. But even then, it's not rocket science. You can find anything on the Internet, and bands making music you enjoy are no exception.
There's nothing wrong with mostly listening to just one genre. Some people are born a little bit country, some are born a little bit whatever passes for rock-and-roll these days, that's just the way of the world. Narrowing things down a bit is a logical and normal thing to do.
There's also no harm in straying from those general classifications and exploring different styles and sounds from around the world. There's one absolutely crucial rule you have to keep in mind, though: Don't be a pretentious dick about it.
Translation: "There is nothing particularly remarkable about me other than the music I listen to."
What's that? You only listen to swing music? Nothing else? At all? Oh, and you wear a zoot suit to work and have a framed poster of Doc Severinsen in your living room? Please, tell me more things I don't give a shit about, you creepy lunatic.
Ask me about my crippling loneliness!
Aligning yourself with only one genre is fine, but nobody believes you genuinely enjoy 8-bit Nintendocore mixtapes and hate everything else. What they will be inclined to believe is that you're playing up this one moderately interesting aspect of your life in an effort to hide the fact that underneath that pile of "Math Rock" CDs beats the heart of a person who truly has nothing of interest to say, so they let the music do the talking for them.
And please, understand, I'm not saying that listening to any of the types of music mentioned above is a bad thing. Whatever you enjoy, there's a place for it (techno's place is in hell). I'm just saying that overdoing anything is going to make you look a bit strange. There's nothing wrong with checking the mail until you're doing it every three minutes, then people start asking questions.
It's the same with, say, listening to foreign-language covers of David Bowie songs. Having a few in your music collection makes you hip and quirky. Having a music collection that consists of nothing but foreign-language covers of David Bowie songs, on the other hand, makes you a serial killer. Or at least in the eyes of the important people (dates and employers) it does.