Soul Music Developed in Parallel

At times, the modern ubiquity of music can deafen us to the beauty of sound, the often subtle interplay between voice and instrument communicating a feeling that no other medium can quite match. Moreover, with limitless availability, we also have limitless variety, a much-celebrated blessing that carries with it the curse of the “tyranny of choice,” the idea that, when faced with too many options, we become overwhelmed with the number of variables at play, and end up choosing none of the above. Awash in an ocean of music, our identities, so closely bound to our sonic preferences, may sometimes feel in danger of being drowned out by the noise.

On the other hand, the songs that cut through this static may be cherished all the more, and define us ever the more clearly, than if we had less of a surfeit at our disposal. Rather than molding ourselves to fit a small selection of niches, we increasingly have the power to carve them out anew.

Still, just as two personality types may enjoy the same genre – or an artist, or even a single song – for different reasons, it is important to remember that music must not necessarily foster division and tribalism, though it can certainly be turned to those ends. Music is a mode of communication, a means of bridging gaps in our understanding when mere words fail.

We decide who we are in part by what we listen to, but it is when we partake of the musical tastes of others, or share what we love in return, that the power of music as a vessel for ideas becomes realized. Much as our personalities are defined by how we fit with the temperaments that others possess, our musical interests are always in flux, contingent on the views, conflicting or complementary, of those we come in contact with.

How did you come to love the music you love today? How have your musical preferences changed over the years? Do you see music as being a core component of your identity? Let us know in the comments!

As soul music developed in parallel to the African-American Civil Rights Movement, it was all but inevitable that soul artists would address more politically conscious subjects in their songs. For people with the Campaigner personality type, art is often an adjunct to activism, and they very well might appreciate Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield (or more recent soul singers, like Lauryn Hill) as much for their aims as for their musicianship.

If the object of music is to communicate one’s passion as powerfully as possible to an audience – as it may be for Entertainers – then soul music may be hard to match on the scale of pure performance. Nothing seems to be held back in the performances of soul singers like Little Richard, James Brown, or Stevie Wonder, for whom showmanship is as much a part of music as the song itself.

Much of popular music, regardless of genre, is a celebration of transgression, an expression of the excess that so many listeners must keep in check, whether because of conscience or circumstance. For Executives, though, anarchy – even sublimated anarchy – is nothing to be venerated, so much so that even their musical tastes may tend more towards songs of devotion than songs of upheaval.

As with Executives, Defenders may identify with the sense of tradition and order that comes from religious music. Moreover, the natural humility of Defenders may make the outlandish posturing of so many popular performers – the self-promotion that is often as much a marketing decision as it is a facet of the artist’s own personality – seem even more ridiculous and discordant than it does for most.

Whether we join our voices in song or only acknowledge the sentiment we share with the singer in silence, music has always had the power to instill a sense of belonging, of fellowship. Nowhere is this more true than in religious music, which may explain – at least in part – the enjoyment that Consuls derive from it. Even when listening alone, Consuls can still partake in the communal spirit that such music has to offer.

While Entrepreneur personalities may enjoy the propulsive properties of electronica, Campaigners may tend to go for the other end of the spectrum, music designed more for relaxation than excitation. As a result, harried Campaigners may prefer mellower strains of electronic music, such as that produced by Daft Punk, Goldfrapp, or Portishead.