Entertain your taste.
I’m 26. It’s not terribly old, but I think it’s old enough for my musical preferences to hold steady from now until the end of my days. When people suggest music to me and give me their RIYL elevator pitch, the pitch won’t matter if I’m already aware of the band and what their music sounds like. In short: dubstep is never, ever, ever going to happen.
If I love you, things change. When I’m in love, I equate my feelings to trust and faith in your intuition as you’re peering into the pith of my vitality. So if you suggest a track that’s diametrically opposed to my solidified taste graph, I’m still going to listen. Even if I don’t like the song, if I’m able to resolve why you suggested it to me in the first place, a simple song recommendation becomes a powerful learning experience. So, I’ll always listen.
But still, no dubstep. Ever.
Bombard your Gmail with songs.
When I was 17, I had Napster and somehow ended up being the only kid on my cul-de-sac with a CD-RW. I loved burning CDs for people more than anything else I could do with my computer; and curated mixes for my friends consisting of equal parts embarrassing Third Eye Blind B-sides and some of the greatest 1990s hits featured on K Records. Spreading musical goodness in this fashion was one of the only ways I could impact my peers.
Now, the mix CD is dead. It’s annoying to play a CD when you can just download or stream whatever you want, whenever you want. So if I love you, I’ll probably send you links to songs several times a week. Gmail is the modern-day mixtape. Sometimes I’ll even tell you why I picked a song, unless the rationale sounds like the plot for a Veggie Tales episode in my head. And if we’ve ever had sex and I send you a Jens Lekman song? Forget it. I’m smitten. I can’t think of a musician closer to my heart than the Swedish Paul Simon.
Listen to music during sex.
In 2005, I had sex with my then-girlfriend to a Godspeed You! Black Emperor song. Weeks later, I broke up with her after her emotional intensity took a trip to Crazytown: she emptied a block of kitchen knives, flinging them at my head with a velocity I was totally unprepared for. It took me years to untie the knot that bound together one of my favorite bands with the memory of someone I cared about trying to physically harm me. This experience has since kept me from being intimate with someone in the presence of music. I can barely make out with a stranger in a bar when “Isolation” by Joy Division comes on without being distracted by its Oedipus complex-laden lyrics, let alone have sex to post-rock. The weight of this rule is mighty, and if I break it for you, the implications are obvious.
Update my Facebook status updates with songs & lyrics.
Remember AIM profiles? Remember how you could paint them with an evocative set of lyrics that was supposed to vaguely represent whatever situation (often pertaining to the opposite sex) was doing laps in your mind? This can still happen in the form of Facebook status updates. Now, when I’m not posting photo albums of English Bulldog puppies or substantive Buzzfeed links such as “12 Squirrels Who Look Like Gotye,” I can post songs & lyrics in a status update that will cause mystery within my news feed! Amazing! If you see a status update from me bubble up to the top of your news feed and you think it’s about you, it probably is. And while this action is rooted in a semi-juvenile mannerism, it really just means I’m thinking about you.