I HATE That Song: An Inquiry into Personal Taste


Steph Ceraso
Seminar in Composition (“Pop Music”)
Summer 2012



Text: Selections from Let’s Talk About Love, Carl Wilson (2007)

“That song rules.” “This song sucks.” When it comes to taste, many people have strong gut reactions. Something is either good or bad, worthy or unworthy. Rather than taking an either/or approach in this project, we will be experimenting with what Carl Wilson calls a “sympathetic hearing.” In other words, you will need to listen to a song that you despise with open ears and an open mind. Your task is to document your journey with this song—to explore what you find unappealing and off-putting about the song, AND what might be valuable or interesting or aesthetically pleasing about the song (to you and/or others). In short, this assignment asks you to recreate “a tour of your aesthetic experience” with a song that you just can’t stand. Using a free, open-source software program called Audacity, you will be scripting and recording your narrative, which should include musical excerpts that are appropriate to your particular piece. You will receive a detailed assignment sheet and instructions about how to use Audacity in class.