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What does oxygen smell like?

January 6, 2015

I have terrible taste in music, and it’s honestly not much I think about on a day to day basis. Although making music has always been something I enjoy, I’ve never written my own, and it’s always been the mechanics of making a good noise and appropriately interpreting someone else’s work that has interested me.

So, generally, I don’t pay too much attention to listening to music in detail.

It helps (or not) that I have a terrible memory for lyrics (I forgot half the words to one of the songs in my grade 8 singing exam. I’d been practising it for 6 months at that point) and that I find it very difficult to remember song names, artists, composers, any of that. So, before I had Spotify that I could synchronise across all my devices and very easily discover and save music, I pretty much listened to the same stuff I got on mix CDs from pretty boys in 6th form. (Paul Kizintas, you have so much to answer for.)

All this means that, until recently, I didn’t really play around with what I was listening to, and didn’t really notice.

And then I figured out Spotify radio and how to actually find new music. And a whole world of awesome new artists opened up. I listened to FKA Twigs and loved it. And that led me to AlunaGeorge. Then I found Chvrches and understood why everyone had been going crazy about them. Tegan and Sara made me dance in the kitchen. London Grammar kept me company while I read on Christmas day. Lorde!

Then today, I just put on an album which I’ve always quite liked to have on in the background whilst I potter around,  American Slang by The Gaslight Anthem. And it hit me in the face. This is a MALE voice. It’s a MAN singing. I’d never noticed the gender of the singer before, except when listening to pieces in the western classical tradition that I either have or want to sing myself.

Looking at the rest of my music, how did I not notice what a sausage-fest it was?

What does oxygen smell like?


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  1. i did this with books in my collection – LibraryThing (which is where i catalogue mine) has great information about your collection, and it was interesting to see how male my books were, given how much ‘literary fiction’ stuff i read. i now make a conscious effort to have an even gender balance each year in my reading.

    • Yeah, I was conscious of this in my reading, but for some reason had just never considered it in my music.

      • it’s weird, isn’t it? i hate to say it, but when i think of my favourite bands, there’s almost no women vocalists. i’m a bit ashamed of this.

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