Music Genres and Devout Fans: Evolutionary Dead Ends?


I’ve been thinking about (and occasionally dealing with) people who are completely devoted to a specific genre or era of music. I watch how they fervently talk about the history of their favorite music, name every band (and most band members), etc. and wonder something about myself. I definitely have a great love for music (I would rather go blind than go deaf) and always thought I appreciated the art form. Am I missing something by not being completely obsessed with a single genre? Is there any genre greater than all others that come after?

This train of thought eventually led me to a conclusion based on evolutionary comparisons. If you look in the wild, there are animals that adapt to very specific environments. I’m not even talking about general environments (such as the desert or the forest), but very specific environments (such as a particular area in China or one zone in the oceans). If you think about it, often these animals die out over time. Their environments might be ruined by invading lifeforms or changed as the world shifts. Either way, many of these animals become evolutionary dead ends, eventually disappearing and leaving nothing behind but fossils. Meanwhile, more adaptive animals survive to breed and continue to evolve and change. They take over the positions in the food chain left behind when the previous species went extinct.

In the end, I think it’s best if one follows this same idea in music. Be open to multiple genres and prepared to “survive in any environment”. Appreciate changes in music and “adapt to new environments”. Otherwise, those too focused on their one, “superior” genre… may end up going extinct.