But when you start talking about individuals, instead of humanity in general, universals [regarding music] are a lot harder to come by. Much depends on culture. The emotions expressed in many of those ragas that Pandora’s experts are presently decoding, for instance, are lost on the typical Westerner. Just as we’re hard-wired to learn a language, but not to speak English or French, our specific musical understanding, and thus taste, depends on context. If a piece of music sounds dissonant to you, it probably has to do with what sort of music you were exposed to growing up, because you were probably an “expert listener” in your culture’s music by about age 6, Levitin writes.
[The Pandora] genome, quietly, doesn’t
really screen out sociocultural information. For instance, its algorithms are tweaked by genre, and the inclusion of genes for “influence” (“swing” or “gospel,” for example) brings in factors that aren’t strictly about sound.
Bright, melodic pop tunes, usually but not exclusively guitar-driven, with an implicit suburban outlook, made by bands from the American sunbelt, particularly the areas of fastest population growth, such as Florida, Arizona, Georgia, Texas, and Southern California.
E.g. Pre–Can’t Be Tamed Miley Cyrus, Jimmy Eat World, Weezer, some Pavement, New Found Glory, Kitty Pryde, Hey Monday, Hilary Duff.