The Parochialism of “Everything Except Rap and Country”

When I blogged some time ago about music literacy, I mentioned the tired trope “I like to everything except Rap and Country,” which seems to be a response given when someone wants to show a cosmopolitan or open musical taste. Plenty of pixels have been typed about the class and race issues associated with the phrase and I won’t rehash them here as I think that only tells a part of the story that the phrase frames.

There’s obviously a sort of parochialism associated with a viewpoint which would predispose people to prefer music associated with certain groups but that parochialism is limited by national lines–these are still genres of music found within the US. Which means that the “everything” is limited by a discourse universe which only implies music in the US. If we were to ask a follow up question to anyone who answers this, it wouldn’t take much to show how this is so.

Q: What kind of music do you like?

A: Everything except rap and country.

Q: Oh, so you listen to Luk Krung? Pon Pirome is probably my favorite artist.

A: …

I’ve always wanted to have a conversation go like this, though I learned long ago to stop asking the question in the first place. Which doesn’t stop people from asking me what I like, or what kind of music I play: a similar conversation ensues. With the hundreds of genres around the world, it’s easy to see that most people listen to, and most musicians perform in, a tiny subset of musical styles.

I grew up listening to, and singing Thai Luk Krung here in the US before feeling the urge to assimilate and eventually starting to enjoy Anglo-American Pop and Western Classical once I started playing the cello. But everytime I go to the Marathon Gas Station down the road, and hear the Sikhs who now own and operate it, I always encourage them to turn up their music, if only so more people can start including Bhangra in their everything. If only we could eliminate the exceptions, too.


Featured image above is from the EthnoCloud website:

EthnoCloud is a platform for collaboration and discovery. Our goal is to promote ethnically and culturally inspired music of all genres and all regions of the world.



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