Saturday, November 28, 2009

What is your "Taste Biography"?

Carl Wilson touches a lot on the origin of tastes, or in the words of Paul Valéry,

"Tastes are composed of a thousand distastes"

So in the words of Carl Wilson, what is your taste biography? What are the distastes that create your tastes? Where do these distastes come from? After all, it takes a lot to dislike Dolly Parton. Moving away from Celine Dion for a second, I'm posting two videos below.

The first video below is Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" which depending on who you ask is one of the best songs of the 20th century or one of the gaudiest songs in the history of music

This video, on the other hand, is the cast of the popular fox show "Glee" singing the same song

Same song, different performers and style, which one better fits your "Taste Biography"?


  1. I prefer the Glee version. I think it's because it's so cheesy sounding that it recognizes its own cheesiness and just goes with it. I think I like acts that just admit what they are, for better or worse...

    I feel like the Journey version is of course epic but it takes itself too seriously and tries to be very rock n' roll about something that is not very badass. It sort of crafts this really hard, edgy delivery around the subject matter of the song which is arguably a giant ball of sap.

    I guess if you're going to tell me "Don't stop believing," I would rather hear it in the dramatically corny and singsong tone of Glee than masked under the guise of supposed raging rebellion. Maybe my tastes sort of drift more towards situations where the message matches the tone. I know for sure that I get really turned off when artists take themselves far too seriously about something that seems kind of trivial or stupid to me ... but stupid can be tasteful as long as it's presented honestly.

  2. And Nirvana rear their grungy head again. Read only the first paragraph for the relevant part. Read the rest if you like Nirvana and/or Pitchfork.

    P.S. Note that Wilson usues the word omnivore, too.

  3. I also appreciate when artists don't take themselves too seriously. I think this is because we as humans find those who don't claim to know all of the answers, or have reached the peak of accomplishment in their field, refreshing; in my opinion there are too many out there do claim to do so! This was one element of Wilson's approach to his topic and tone that I enjoyed. He was willing to point out his own fallbacks and laugh at himself.
    To the original question, I agree that our tastes largely shape our distates. This can be explained in a way through Sausseuran conceptions of difference. For example, I am not a fan of "screamo" and melodramatic, overpowering rock such as Godsmack (sorry if anyone is a fan) because it lacks the easy restraint, yet powerful impact of the classic rock (ie Joni Mitchell, Credence Clearwater Revival, James Taylor) that I grew up with. Everything is relative, in my view.