The Car Litmus Test Is Trash
Recently I created a playlist on my Spotify account that I call Lounge Therapy. It’s a specific playlist created for me to lounge or ride around with in a more somber mood. It’s instrumentals, some Solange as well as other tracks that put me in a more contemplative state. Depression, deep thoughts, solitude and other thoughts pass through me when I play this or when I need to play it. It’s not a playlist for throwing on at a party and it definitely isn’t a playlist for getting a group of people together to sing about the good times. And yet, some will say that because the songs on that list aren’t ones they hear regularly in cars or the radio that the music isn’t good enough which, to me, is the furthest thing from the truth. The music you play in your car around friends is not a litmus test for good music. Or even what’s hot. Over the last couple of years I’ve seen a couple of interviews from rappers who seem to proclaim that if they don’t hear a certain artist coming from peoples’ cars when they get in (Eminem has come up a few times) then that means that person isn’t good. Hearing this made my entire head hurt from the way I had to contort my face as a reaction to this foolishness. Music played in your car with a group of people in only personally indicative of what they’ll play with other people around, not everything they think is good. “Like the radio songs that make us sing along Cause the beat is real heavy and the hook is real catchy Make you nod your head steady, and you don't feel sketchy 'Til you're all by yourself, and you ridin' around And realize to yourself how stupid it sounds.” - Murs from “What Do You Know” When playing music alone, a lot of people will play more things that have a deeper meaning. When someone comes into that space, especially the car, you’ll play something more common in order to placate everyone's tastes and the more people around, the less deep the music will be. This is the same reason people shun the radio as the messages promoted there (if any) are for wider consumption, not necessarily something deep. So if you never hear me playing Zero 7, Norah Jones, Selena, The Suffers, Teebs or myriad other artists when you hop in the ride, it doesn't mean they aren't listened to or necessary. People hold music close to them as something that can be important or special. Maybe you should ask why they won't listen to those artists in front of you instead of assuming everything they play for you is the best. They might just be insulting your intelligence by playing the new Gucci Mane instead of Little Brother.