One of my previous supervisors made an observation and it unfortunately stuck with me in a way I wish it hadn’t. He made the comment, or rather asked the question, if I had any happy songs in my playlists and the answer was no, not really. At the time I was internally freaking out because I was worried, “Am I really such a downer?”
Well, several years later I now know, no I’m not. Not really, but I do have a personal preference that I didn’t know about that made all the difference in my music tastes. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any happy songs in my playlist, it’s that I didn’t have any romantic themed songs in my playlist and what romantic songs I had were the “it didn’t work out” kind of songs because that’s all I knew. I didn’t know I was aromantic at the time, but that didn’t stop me from being aromantic. I had a coworker around the same time make the comment that I only liked listening to my own music and didn’t branch out, and I was like “excuse me, I think I have very eclectic tastes”, but I just didn’t like listening to bubble-gum pop love songs because I couldn’t relate.
I used to think I only listened to songs I could relate to, but I know that’s not true. Some of my favorite songs are about people and places I have nothing in common with, it’s just that these songs don’t have romance as its main theme. Because I tend to avoid love songs like a plague, I listen to more folk and folk-like music. I don’t regret that. In this genre are some of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard that they actually make me cry. That’s a more raw and real emotion then I feel listening to any love themed pop song. The songs I like have color and texture and aren’t bound to the rules of money and million dollar contracts. They’re simple and more complex at the same time.
One of my favorite songs is “King of Rome” by David Sudbury, but the Garnet Rogers version is my preference. It’s a “happy song” in that it has a happy ending, but the music isn’t an upbeat. The song is a classic “Dream Coming True” story, but the way Garnet Rogers sings it has me in tears every time. Another song I really like is “Missouri Waters” a song told from the point of view of the crew chief of the Mann Gulch fire where 13 firefighters died in a forest fire. It’s another song that has me in tears, but I think that’s the beauty of it. These are songs that not a lot of people know about so it feels a little like they’re my secret, like a valuable paining I have on wall that nobody knows exists I collect songs in the same way.
I think my aromanticism has a direct impact on my taste in music and I’m glad for it. I’ll take my sad songs over an upbeat love song any day. The feeling I get when I’m done listening to them is refreshing, like I’ve had a good cry or the air after a rainstorm. I don’t think I’m missing out for not liking love songs. I have my own likes and experiences and my music reflects that like it should.