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How To Date A Music Junkie

February 28th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The very first date I had with my high school sweetheart came about three weeks after I received my driver’s license. Before picking her up, I took what was an unnecessary amount of time trying to decide which album I was going to have in rotation when she got in my car. I decided on Dexter Gordon’s Ballads, which, as the title suggests, is a compilation of the tenor saxophonist’s best ballad recordings from his years on Blue Note (my favorite songs on there are “Ernie’s Tune” and “I’m A Fool To Want You”, specifically for Freddie Hubbard’s trumpet solo).

Now, I admit, a part of me made this choice because I thought it would impress her. Back in high school, I was what some would call a jazz snob, the type who turned their nose up on most popular music, except when it came time to party. But the larger part of me chose Ballads because I really did enjoy that album. It was perfect driving music, and again I stress, Freddie Hubbard’s solo on “I’m A Fool Want You” is just so good.

When my date got in the car, not even 10 minutes passed before she asked if we could listen to something else, and by something else, she specifically meant KDON, our town’s sad version of a hip-hop radio station. Of course I obliged, and the two of us went on to last a year, but I should have known then the two of us were never going to last a lifetime.

I’m not saying my high school sweetheart had to like what I was playing. I actually remember telling her how refreshing her honesty was. A lot of people front and act like they’re into something just because they think it’s the sophisticated thing to do. Not her She wanted to hear hip-hop, and I had no problem with hip-hop. What I did have a problem with is how she never gave what I played a chance.

I believe most anyone with the capability to hear will say they like music on some level. Whether they like background music or workout music or music to clean the house to, most of us enjoy and require a soundtrack in our daily lives. But this dependency of sorts on music isn’t enough for me. I love music more than I love movies, more than I love sports, more than I love television, more than I love video games, more than I love reading. In my life, music trumps any and all forms of entertainment and artistic expression short of writing. I’m one of those guys who has spent their last few dollars on an album over a sandwich even though I was starving, word to Berry Gordy.

With that being said, it would be really nice to date a woman who had the same attitude towards the music as I do. If that’s too much to ask, at least a woman who can appreciate and respect my love for music enough to want to be a part of it in some way or another.

As anyone who follows this blog or knows me in real life will tell you, 90 percent of what I make my living writing about is music, so while I can afford to take some pleasure in music, I also have to be about my business when it comes to music. This requires me dating someone who not only understands why it upsets me when I miss a certain show, but also why I need to listen to it as much as I do. Sometimes I just like to turn on my iTunes or one of my three iPods and let them play on shuffle more than I like to turn on my television.

I don’t need my woman to love music as much as I do, just like I’m sure she wouldn’t need me to love something she loves as much as her. But I’m pretty sure she would want me to make honest efforts towards loving the things she loves. I would want to her to do the same, and though this may sound easy, it isn’t.

Being a music junkie is not about fandom. It’s not about liking just our favorite artists and playing their music all the time. It’s more about discovering the artist or band we haven’t heard of yet, and giving their stuff a chance even if they don’t have one hit on the radio or the charts. But being a music junkie is also not about only liking unsigned artists who haven’t sold out yet. It’s about finding good music that is popular and on the radio. None of that, “I don’t listen to the radio” business. In my world, I do listen to the radio, and I do take seriously some of the songs I hear on BET’s “106 & Park” video countdown. It’s okay for us to have discriminatory tastes, but only after we have given the music we discriminate against a fair chance.

All I really want is a woman who not only loves her music, but my music as well. To any woman who comes into my life, play for me the songs that you love, that you know all the words to, and then, let me play you some songs I love. Let’s go to some show and hear an artist we never heard of, and let’s not pay attention to the rest of the crowd in the audience. Maybe we can go see Esperanza Spalding live and on the way listen to Justin Bieber’s album. How about we listen to a good gospel song not just on Sunday, but Wednesday too.

When I think back to that first date with my high school sweetheart, and how quickly she dismissed my music selection, I don’t hold resentment towards her. It’s not like I say to myself if I could do it all over again, I’d kick her out of my car for saying such a thing, but I do think I would have handled it differently. But perhaps if a woman were to ask me today if I could turn off all that jazz just so she can hear a station where they’re playing Wiz Khalifa (who I listen to everyday), I wouldn’t be so quick to do it. Instead, I’d tell her to give what I’m playing a chance, and then when that song is over, I’ll listen to what she likes. As far as I’m concerned, one of the kindest things we can do for our partners is know each others favorite songs and at least make an honest effort to make them favorites of our own.

Speaking of music, check out the review I wrote for the Village Voice’s “Sound Of The City” blog about the Robert Glasper Experiment featuring Lupe Fiasco live at the Blue Note.


The Process: I think I’m going to try and run two miles everyday this week, starting ummm, tomorrow.

Poppin’ Questions Podcast: I’m over my cold now so I’ll be recording Episode 27 tonight. Hit me on my Formspring or email me at for a question to be considered. Listen to Episode 26 in the meantime.

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  • A.S.

    YES! I agree– I think it’s dope that she was honest. Of course, I also think it was disappointing that she didn’t at least give your music a chance.

    I’m a woman, but in college, I was briefly talking to a guy who knew I was really into music. He then lied about his familiarity about a few musical artists in order to impress me. We stopped talking shortly thereafter for other reasons, but his lying to me in order to come across as more “cultured” or sophisticated certainly added insult to injury.

    I’m like you. It’s important for my future partner to enjoy good music and be open-minded. He doesn’t necessarily have enjoy the exact same genres or artists, but I need to know that we bump our music in the house and not fight about what to play. It’s also important that we can enjoy concerts together. Call it superficial, but this is a required trait I refuse to waive.

  • CT

    Good post. I think it’s important for someone to be open minded and willing to learn, when it comes to music and really life in general.
    I don’t know that I’d call myself a music junkie, but I do get totally obessesed with artist and will spend days researching and listening to their music. So, it’d be nice to date someone who could match my dorky-ness in that area…lol

  • Reecie

    good post. every single man I have loved has loved music as much if not more than me. I think its fun to discover new artists together and discuss your faves. I love live music so I’d probably go to a show of someone I didn’t know just to experience it. I agree with the dismissal as a turn off–but then again some people just like what they like. You can’t really fault that either, but I do prefer the more open-minded.

  • Sunsetsarefree

    First-time visitor, and I agree wholeheartedly. It’s very frustrating when people bemoan the state of popular music just to be cool and elitist. I like “What’s My Name” by Rihanna and I ain’t ‘shamed to say it! It’s also frustrating when people claim to know artistsgenres that make them seem “cultured,” as you say, but when said artistgenre comes on the tv or the radio, they have a blank look on their face.
    I’m open to listening to new music; digging around online for new aural pleasures is a hobby of mine. But, in all honesty, I really only listen to one genre: soul (mostly new, but some old). And I make no qualms about it. It’s just what I like. I also listen to rap, and again, my focus is quite narrow: Southern (mostly Dungeon Fam, Field Mob and 90’s stuff).
    I have much respect for Bob Marley, The Roots, Mos Def, and John Coltrane, but I don’t own any of their music, and I ain’t gotta lie to kick it just because I’m all earthy and it seems like I should listen to their stuff.
    I know this article was specifically about dating, but I think this extends to people in general. A good conversation about music can be stopped dead in its tracks by someone who is frontin’ on their tastes. Maybe this speaks to me strongly b/c I was recently in one of those conversations, and I felt like it was less about the music, and more about the other person trying to say “I’m cool! I listen to rock. And Down South hood sh*t from back in the day! Accept me ” #youaintgottalietokickit

  • KitKatCuty84

    I went on a date with a dude and he was running late. While I was waiting, I stopped to listen to one of my favorite live groups that used to play around NYC, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. They were really jamming that night and I finally caved and got a CD ($15, which is a lot for street music). My date arrived and watched some with me, but he commented he wasn’t really into music, especially live music. Obviously, that was our last date, LOLOL.

  • Guest

    Whatever sounds good to an individual is music to one’s ears. Everyone has their likes, dislikes, & preferences. At least you’re keeping in mind of how you would want to share your moments with that special someone. That’s important because that’s what makes the chosen one special to you, someone who can relate to you.

  • jonatheezy4sheezy!!!

    I’m a confessed music junkie too…Im the type that’ll take like an hour or so to make a “perfect mix” before a 1/2 an hour road trip …its gotten to a point where I just look for sounds… if I like a “sound” I do some research on the internet and find artists that are similar and just listen for what I like(lastest interest has been folk rock after being very impressed with the Avett Bros, n Mumford & Sons at the Grammys)..always have been into hiphop.. but my wife never really dug the non-pop, not on the radio stuff… last year I took her to the Rock The Bells tour… we saw the Wu Tang Clan live among other groups and then she understood, she felt the love the Wu gave to the crowd and that the crowd gave back… she felt hiphop… after that she even asked me to burn her a wu cd and stole my lauryn and tribe it took about 15 years and a concert to get her to start liking “my music” but we worked on always open to anything.. the other day she was playin some Taylor Swift and I was on some.. “Hey thats kinda dope” and put it on one of my mixes lol.. one more if you’re ever back in town on Sunday nights KDON has a pretty dope hiphop show lol they were playin some Nas One Love and Smif N Wessun Soundbwoi Bureal last night among other things… peace jon ; )

  • Kady

    Music post, love!!!
    Its such an easy thing to bond over, my 11 year old Niece is starting to get into music, we go on YouTube and she shows me all her favorite songs. So cute, I almost died when I found out she likes VV Brown.

  • maxfab

    I always say I don’t love music, I just love the music that I love. I have very random, but very specific tastes and I’m notorious for not stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing new artists.
    That said, I would never in a million years ask someone to turn off something they’re listening to so that I can listen to what I want. I think that’s rude and selfish.

  • Anonymous

    this is almost always an issue with the women i date. i have a huge record collection (5k & counting) and see a lot of live music, most of it jazz. i’m sometimes asked “do you have to date a woman who loves music the way you do?” the answer is no, but she does have to appreciate my obsession and be willing to be opened-minded about the music i listen to. i’ve turned a lot of women on to certain records/musicians, even if they couldn’t stand other stuff. i once dated a women whose favorite musician was britney spears (and not in any ironic way). shockingly, it just didn’t work out.

  • guest

    this is my favorite entry. thank you.

  • Crystal Lux Artis

    my heart went aflutter… great post. a love letter to music.

  • Phia

    I LOVE music and like you I feel that its very important that the person i’m with has at least some appreciation for it. I listen to ALL types of music and have a favorite song in many different genres that I listen to. I’ve been fortunate to have dated guys who love music just as much but I would be lost if I was with someone who didnt or just listened to one thing and wasnt open to anything else.
    This is actually one of the reasons why one of the first things I answer when someone asks “what do you do for fun”, my face lights up and I respond “I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE music!”

  • bobby.

    I so agree with this article. Music is completely subjective, however, I feel like it’s that one thing that kills a lot of relationships that I’m in or guys that I’ve liked. Growing up I was always the neo-soul hip-hop girl, but I really liked rock music and with a lot of guys I dated, that didn’t like any of that, no Robert Glaspur, Lupe Fiasco, India Arie, No Doubt or Three Days Grace, and they’d be completely close minded to the idea of listening to anything aside from The Ying Yang Twins or Lil Wayne. I appreciate everyone’s music taste because it’s what they like however, it just disturbs me when people have their mind so set thinking that something they like is superior over my taste (that was kind of a contradiction) and in all honesty, I feel like an individuals music taste weighs more heavily in a relationship to me than their religion if that makes any sense.

    Once again, great post.

  • Tea

    “at least a woman who can appreciate and respect my love for music enough to want to be a part of it in some way or another”

    I’m not a music connoisseur. I never have been. When all the kids in grade school knew all the words to all the songs I struggled to keep up to look “cool” or hip or with it or whatever.

    Now that I’m an adult, I know that while I like music and love live music, I’m not a student of or even a keen observer of the art of music. I just like what I like.

    I hope that you find someone who’s as into music as you but if you don’t, I hope that you’ll respect someone who wants to let you have your own music thing without having to be a part of it. Sometimes your mate doesn’t need to be infused into every single thing you do or love. I think this would be one of those cases.

  • Tonya

    Wow, if someone would have watched me while I read this article in silence in my office, they would have thought I was reading my daily devotional because I said so many “Amen’s and Thank yous’” it sound like I got the holy ghost. I totally feel you on everything. I am a music junkie and like Erykah Badu says, “I’m sensitive about my shit”…I know when I am dating a guy if he can’t appreciate Donny Hathaway then I can’t be with him…it’s sad because it’s almost like a make or break moment when I play that song…I wait to see how he will respond. I have a song for every milestone in my life and even songs for guys I dated in the past. If they were significant enough in my life, they have a song that reminds me of them in that moment…so Yes, the love of my life must understand and love the passion I have for music. It’s my only addiction and I am not going to rehab…and damn an intervention!

  • Christina

    I LOVE this post. Probably because my ex was a music junkie. I’m not a music junkie but I loved seeing him do something he was so passionate about (he wants to go into production). I listened to every track he ever made r played for me. I would hear songs and text him about possibly sampling them. We would play songs that we liked for each other and even if they weren’t our style we still listened. I had him listen to “love you like a love song” by selena gomez and he was like “it’s a catchy song, not my style, but catchy”. I loved how open we were to each other’s tastes and the honesty we gave upon listening to it. If we don’t like a song, we didn’t hesitate to say why. I enjoyed that aspect of our relationship and I’ve learned I tend to date a lot of music lovers. Music is such a beautiful thing. People look at my itunes quizzically because there’s not much of a trend in the type of music to which I listen.