I found this podcast about breaking out of cultural rut’s very interesting. Before listening to this I never really considered the possibility that I could be in a rut culturally. After hearing about this, however, I realized that all of the cultural content I consume is pretty much the same. I think it might be important to break out of a cultural rut because you never want to get too comfortable with something. With anything in life, it is important to switch things up and challenge yourself. It is much too easy to get super comfortable with a routine and never want to strive for more or for something better. I have definitely found myself in a similar rut when it comes to two categories: television shows and music. I am constantly just re-watching the same few show over and over on Netflix. I have probably watched every season of the show Gossip Girl at least six times through. Along with this, I am a big music person and listen to it all the time. When it comes to my music choices though I never venture out of my comfort zone. Similar to what one of the woman mentioned in the podcast, I’ve had my same playlist of pop music for about 4 years now and just listen to it over and over again. I think I’m in these ruts simply because I never really thought about it until now. In the podcast I thought it was particularly interesting hearing about the one man’s opinion about how you shouldn’t ask your friends for recommendations if you’re trying to get out of a rut. I think this is a very valid point especially for me because my best friends and I are so similar. We all love the same television shows and music, so going to them for advice on this would not help my case. I found this podcast very insightful.
Keeping this idea of a cultural rut in mind, I decided to choose a different music genre as my chosen piece of pop culture. I spent time listening to a few different songs in the jazz genre. I went on the app Spotify and from there went to the jazz genre category that they have available. This brought me to a few different playlist options and I chose the one called: Jazz Classics. The first song I listened to was “In A Sentimental Mood,” by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. The second song I listened to was “Dedicated To You,” by Freddie Hubbard. I decided to choose this piece of media because I really do love music but have been caught in a music rut for what feels like forever. I wanted to venture out of my comfort zone. Normally when I think of jazz music I would never consider listening to it. I always think of just boring music without any real lyrics when I think of Jazz, and this is why it is out of my wheelhouse.
This experience listening to Jazz music is not at all what I thought it would be like. I listened to it at around 9pm, when I was a little tired so I think this made me like it even more because of how soothing it was. My normal music is all pop and super upbeat music. When I’m lying in bed just hanging out, my normal music playlist is not something that calms me down. I really enjoyed these two songs because it was so relaxing and pleasant. It had a great melody that I wanted to go on forever. Although my personality is very outgoing and I wouldn’t think that pieces of media like this would be made for someone like me, in the end I do think that Jazz music is perfect for me after a long day. From listening to this music I learned that different music genres are good. They can be a great way to express a mood. If I feel like I just want to chill and relax I would definitely be down to listen to these types of songs.
One concept that we’ve learned about in class this semester that I found particularly interesting is the concept of structural feeling. This is the idea of the experience you feel when you consume a particular media, or what you feel during that time. As I was lying in bed listening to these two Jazz songs my emotions took me to a place I haven’t really experienced before. It made me feel warm and calm inside. I kind of felt like everything in my life was okay for the time being.
We’ve also discussed in class the ideal definition of culture. We said this was the cookie-cutter “perfect” version of culture. It holds the ideal values and what people should aspire to be. When it comes to music I don’t think there is perfect version, which is really interesting. Each genre holds something unique and different. One of my newfound favorite things about music is how it can influence your mood, which I never really noticed before. I am very glad I listened to these Jazz songs because it really did make a big impact on myself.
Ellington, D., R., M., & McDonough, D. (n.d.). In A Sentimental Mood [CD]. Vocalion.
[Recorded by F. Hubbard]. (n.d.). Dedicated To You.
Thompson, S. (2014, September 5). Pop Culture Happy Hour: Repurposing ‘The Simpsons’ And Busting Out Of A Rut [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2014/09/05/346055621/pop-culture-happy-hour-repurposing-the-simpsons-and-busting-out-of-a-rut