When the weather gets warm and the temperatures increase, so does a notable uptick in listening to oldies music. During the fall when the weather turns bitter, so does the listeners mood. For this writer, personally, when the weather is warm it is time to listen to Oldies and classic rock. Songs from 60’s, 70’s and 80’s dominate much of my personal playlists during this season. This uptick in oldies music during warm weather raises the question, why does our musical taste change with the time of the season?
During a study conducted by phycologist Terry Pettijohn, he conducted a study as to the reason why our musical preferences change during the changing of the seasons. He believes that it’s not what the songs invoke in terms of lyrical themes, but with what the listeners gravitate towards during certain seasons. This pull towards certain songs helps build associations towards times of seasons. Pettijohn based this research on a study he conducted in which he studied music preferences and the environment it’s listened to in.
The research showed that in the summertime when school is out, families are on vacation, the weather is nicer and there is more interaction, people can relax and party. During this time, the listeners music choice reflects on these events. This makes the music that is listened to more upbeat and energetic. In a reverse of this, music listened to during the winter would be more reflective, introspective, and complex. This is a result of the listener not being as social due to environmental positions.
Pettijohn also describes that the lyrics also have a reflection on the time of season as well. According to Pettijohn, when times are good, usually in the summertime, there is not much in the way of meaningful content to the songs. The lyrics would reflect that and feature topics such as drinking, partying to get listeners in the mood for the season. During the fall or winter, more meaningful or culturally significant lyrics get released. This is due to listeners having more time to sit down and listen to the content of the song.
As for songs being listened to during certain seasons, if the music is upbeat optimistic and fun, it would be a summertime song. During the winter when we are more closed off, then more introspective music is what is preferred. However, since music is about preferences, then if you want to listen to moodier music in the summer as that your preference, then that is fine as well. Music is subjective and whatever gets you through the seasons is up to you. Let me know what kind of music you listen to as the seasons change?