This is a different type of blog than I normally post. It started as a result of a Twitter conversation I had with a follower who mentioned that he needed to add some hard rock to his playlist. I thought about just tweeting him a few suggested songs, but it turned into this blog. I hope this helps him out and maybe a few others . . .
I grew up listening to whatever my mom was listening to on the radio or playing on the record player. Aretha Franklin. Frank Sinatra. Earth, Wind & Fire. Boston. Bing Crosby. B.B. King. Mamas and the Papas. Al Green. Joe Cocker. Mahalia Jackson. Doobie Brothers. I learned from my mom that if you like a song that’s all that matters. As a result, I do not allow genres to dictate what I listen to whether it’s hard rock, rap, punk, country, alternative, electronic dance, bhangra, salsa, trance, blues, gospel, bolero, jazz, pop classical or world.
I have been told my music tastes are all over the place. It has been described as eclectic to wacky to nonsensical. What can I say? I like what I like. I have never been afraid to admit to what I listen to though people have made assumptions in regards to my tastes based on my looks. She’s Black therefore she only listens to R&B, rap and hip hop. Yes, I do like rap, hip hop and R&B, but I can swing between a variety of music genres without batting an eye. I have gotten strange looks from people when I’m driving around in my car, windows down, listening to Sade then Tim McGraw followed by Nine Inch Nails.
One of my favorite types of music is rock/hard rock/alternative rock. I get pumped whenever I hear my ‘inner white boy’ playlist (as I jokingly call it) on my iPhone. I enjoy blasting it in on my headphones. I love hearing the vocalists yell or growl out the lyrics when they’re pissed off. When listening to the great to sometimes uneven guitar solos I wonder what the guitarists were thinking while they were recording their part. I bang my fingers to drum solos constantly wishing I could learn and play the drums like Taylor Hawkins does on the Foo Fighter’s ‘Everlong.’
I know that there are other black chicks or black guys like me whose music tastes are outside the box, but you don’t hear much about us. It’s acceptable and very cool for whites to listen to R&B, rap and hip-hop. Yet it is still viewed as odd for blacks NOT to only listen to R&B, rap, and hip-hop. If we do listen to it then we’re ‘weird’ or worst somehow ‘not Black’ – comments like these make me grind my teeth and start grumbling. Just because most white guys supposedly only listen to hard/alternative rock or metal doesn’t mean that non-Whites shouldn’t or haven’t given the genre a shot. A lot of good music gets overlooked because people stick to what they think or what others think they should be listening to instead of being open to all types of music.
Below is a list of some of my favorite ‘inner white boy’ songs to help anyone who wants to do some stretching beyond their usual music genres and tastes.
Note: I normally provide simple audio links for music listeners, but decided to go with official videos or live versions of the songs if available, just so that you can see these bands and artists in action.
So plug in your earbuds and take a listen, you’ll be glad that you did.
Updated October 5, 2016
Alice In Chains – ‘Rooster’
Alien Ant Farm – ‘Smooth Criminal’
All American Rejects – ‘Gives You Hell’
Arcade Fire – ‘We Exist’
Black Crowes – ‘Remedy’
Bon Jovi – ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’
The Clash – ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’
Creed – ‘Higher’
The Cult – ‘Love Removal Machine’
Def Leppard – ‘Photograph’
Fall Out Boy – ‘Dance, Dance’
Foo Fighters – ‘Everlong’
Green Day – ‘Holiday’
Jane’s Addiction – ‘Stop’
Jimi Hendrix Experience – ‘Hey Joe’
Journey – ‘Any Way You Want It’
Judas Priest – ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
Living Colour – ‘Love Rears Up Its Ugly Head’
Ministry – ‘N.W.O.’
N.E.R.D. – ‘Sooner or Later’
Nada Surf – ‘Popular’
Nickleback – ‘How You Remind Me’
Nine Inch Nails – ‘Ruiner (Live)’
Pete Townshend – ‘Rough Boys’
The Pretenders – ‘Tattooed Love Boys’
Prodigy – ‘Smack My Bitch Up’
Rachid Taha – ‘Barra Barra’
Radiohead – ‘Fake Plastic Trees’
Rolling Stones – ‘Gimme Shelter’
Smashing Pumpkins – ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’
Soundgarden – ‘4th of July’
Staind – ‘Outside’
They need to have their music cards revoked if you get strange looks listening to the incomparable Sade. My taste in music vary as well. I use to be heavy into Pink Floyd and Led zeppelin. For personal reasons, I stopped listening to both. Needless to say, as a black man, who attended an HBCU, this was frowned upon. Ambient music and lounge music (thievery corporation, kruder and dorfmeister, Bonobo, etc) get a lot of replay with me. At the end of the day Jazz will always have my heart. Unfortunately, seems to be frowned upon, even among black people. Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Bird, Prez, Monk, all these great musicians will never be heard. But yea, I suppose everybody has that “inner whiteboy” in them when it comes to music.
The weird looks didn’t come with Sade – it was what I was listening to afterwards 🙂 I also enjoy ambient/soundscape music such as Tangerine Dream, Controlled Bleeding and Ryuichi Sakamato. Jazz doesn’t do much for me, but I love old/stripped down blues by the likes of Blind Willie Johnson and John Lee Hooker. It’s nice to see that you’ve allowed yourself to be open to different types of music – more people should do the same. It makes music much more interesting.