NPR logo Why Do We Love The Music We Love?

Why Do We Love The Music We Love?

Last week, singer Tom Jones came to sing at my desk. It was truly surreal and sublime, but to tell the truth, I've never been much of a fan of his. Despite the fact that his voice and his songs sounded big on my little transistor radio back in 1966, I'd much rather hear Bob Dylan or The Byrds or The Beatles or The Bobby Fuller Four.

When U2 began making records in the early '80s, I was in a band making music, writing music for a performance-art group, and still reeling from so much great music that had just taken place from 1976 to 1980. I just didn't need or want the creative input from contemporary musicians. My tastes wandered to music from all over the world and to jazz. To this day, despite my admiration for the songwriting, the production and the message, I've never been a U2 fan.

So I've been wondering: Why do we love the music we love? It isn't clearly all about talent and craftsmanship, or even style. Is it the time and place we hear music for the first time? Is it where we are in our personal lives?

What do you think? Are there bands you know you should love, but don't? And just why is it that you think you don't?