Music is sometimes described as universal, and I suppose it is. Songwriters often think of their music as a way to bring people together (think “We Are The World”), but I was reminded Wednesday night that musical tastes can also divide.
Jan and I attended a long-anticipated concert, where James Taylor, Carole King, and several of their long-time musical collaborators brought their “Troubadour Reunion” tour to Charlotte. We joined what appeared to be more than 15,000 enthusiastic fans comprised of a single demographic. Even before we ever got to the arena, we were struck by the number of aging yuppies were hanging around the hotels and fighting to get into restaurants. Not more than one in 50 people at the concert were under 50, and the audience was whiter than Gold Bond flour.
It led me to reflect on how much we are influenced by the music we choose. If we could compare the social, political, or religious attitudes of folks who love the music of people like Taylor and King with those of people devoted to country music, or rhythm & blues, or hard rock, or hip hop, I wonder what we’d learn?
With songs from the concert in mind, I wondered if it would reflect a mutual desire to “Shower the People You Love With Love” or declare “You’ve Got a Friend”? Would it reveal an affirming nation of folks who proclaim “You’re Beautiful” and “How Sweet It is”? Or, would our conclusions be more accurately represented by “Machine Gun Kelly,” “Fire and Rain” and “So Far Away”?