My extreme musical taste was revealed to me recently when I decided I was fed up with the stacks of CDs on display on shelves in my living room. I had them double stacked and found it impossible to browse through them easily. I know the solution is to whack them all on iPod but it would have taken me about 10 years and I couldn’t be bothered, so I decided to ditch the plastic cases and transfer the CDs and inserts to folders.
It worked like a dream, I now have my extreme musical taste arranged in alphabetical order in 4 huge CD cases and I am discovering music I had forgotten about. It is like flipping through a magazine on your lap. For anyone who wants to do the same, I can recommend Argos’s 208 CD/DVD wallet. They cost me £9.99 each and are perfect. (Argos is not paying me to say that!) The first two I bought were double that price and although they are slightly better quality, the Argos cases do the job just as well.
It was while I was sorting through all my CDs that I realised what extreme musical taste I have. The range of music I have collected over the years is so wildly mixed that I dread to think how a psychologist looking at it would profile me. And just as I was having that thought, Dr. Daniel Mullensiefen, a Music Psychologist, appeared on Big Bother’s Bit On the Side to analyse some of the Big Brother contestant’s favourite music tracks and what their preferences say about them.
Ok, yes, I know, Big Brother tut tut. But before you judge, let me just say, Dr. Mullensiefen is from Goldsmiths College, University of London and he had probably never heard of BB or BBBOTS when he agreed to appear – he did seem bemused. Anyway, he claims our music and song choices are related to personality and can reveal how we want others to see us. Armed with this knowledge, I revisited my newly arranged CD collection and studied the four folders closely.
After I had gone through it all, I decided to choose the two CDs that I believe represent the extremes of my taste in music. So I chose Barbie Girl by Aqua as the shamefully awful end of the collection and Abbess Hildegard of Bingen, Gothic Voices, at the totally off the scale highbrow end. In-between are all the CDs I actually listen to regularly. I really couldn’t find anything quite as awful as Barbie Girl, although there were a few contenders. Likewise, I could not find anything quite as highbrow in my collection as Abbess Hildegard of Bingen. You would not expect to find these two CDs in the same collection and I really do think they demonstrate what an odd and extreme musical taste I have.
Remember the 1997 Barbie Girl track by a band called Aqua? If you like to laugh along with the rest of the diehard Eurovision Song Contest fans, you may remember hearing this song when it was played as the interval song (according to Wikipedia.org). It has also featured in many polls such as the best, worst, most cheesy, most annoying and most ridiculous songs ever.
One of the lists it featured on was Canadian based MuchMoreMusic’s 50 Guilty Pleasures where it was placed at No 27. That’s the only way I can describe it actually, a guilty pleasure because it isn’t a CD I would admit to most of my friends, that I have in my collection. With lyrics such as, ‘come on Barbie, let’s go party’ and ‘I’m a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world’, it isn’t exactly a song you could discuss in any great depth at a dinner party. One can have a good old dance to it though when the spirit grabs one.
And that is the attraction I suppose – it is frivolous, pointless and mindless as it requires no thought to understand. It is an annoying toe-tapper but, when I hear it (which isn’t very often I hasten to add), it makes me feel happy. On the rare occasions I do play it, I close all the windows and check to make sure the neighbour’s driveways are empty before I play it at full blast. My husband has no idea. He thinks I like Beethoven.
With regard to the other CD, Abbess Hildegard of Bingen was one of the most remarkable creative personalities of the Middle Ages. She was born in Germany in 1098 and at 8 years old, was put in the care of a small community of nuns. She became one of the most celebrated women of her time as a visionary, naturalist, playwright, poetess and composer.
Extreme Musical Taste Experiment
I played both CDs and let them wash over me to see how they affected me. I want to tell you that I preferred Gothic Voices but I would be lying. Gothic Voices is all in Latin and by track 4, I wanted to eat my own ears. So I am afraid to say, if I was forced to choose which one to keep, based on how the music makes me feel, it would have to be the frivolous, utterly awful Barbie Girl. However, if it was based on the lyrics, those of Abbess Hildegard of Bingen, written in the 1100s, would win hands down.
Here are some lyrics from both songs:-
Barbie Girl – ‘Life in plastic, it’s fantastic! You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere, imagination, life is your creation’.
O presul vere civitatis (written by Abbess Hildegard of Bingen and performed on Gothic Voices) – ‘O summit of the cloistered mind you tirelessly showed a beautiful face in the mirror of the dove’.
These two CDs definitely represent the extremes of what is in my music collection, but quite what Mr. Mullensiefen would make of them I do not know. I suspect he would conclude I may be slightly mad. But I do think most of what I have in the rest of my music collection would redeem me. If I ever have time, I may sort them all out on a continuum and see what comes up mid-way between the two extremes.
I would love to hear about other people’s extreme CDs, particularly from 50 plus women, so do let me know what you have lurking in your collection.
And on the subject of Big Brother, yes, I do watch it but that is another story!