Music. Besides politics and religion, it is one of the most divisive topics in modern culture. Whether you air on the side of heavy metal or 90s pop, you almost certainly have an opinion on the subject. But is there a correct answer?

The short answer is not really. Music at its core is actually quite similar to each other. There are things that all music has in common, and the subtle nuances that change between styles are the things that we latch onto to distinguish our favorite kind of music.

For instance, you may be a hardcore classic rock fan, but your favorite song may share a key melody with a pop song that you despise. Maybe the only difference is the voice of the person singing or the instrument playing the notes, but ultimately it’s the exact same notes played in a way that appeals to a completely different demographic.

I think a lot of these opinions really stem the type of individual that we are. Just like our personality and opinions are shaped by our lives, our musical tastes really stem from those experiences.

For an extreme example, consider someone who perhaps had their life saved by the lead singer in a pop band. That person that was saved would likely find that kind of music more appealing; they now have a strong emotional and traumatic tie to that music. But it doesn’t even need to be that extreme of a circumstance.

I had my life changed just because I started playing trombone, and now I find myself very attracted to trombone ensembles even though I never even listened to them a few years ago. Music is heavily tied to our experiences but even more so our emotions.

Have you ever looked at a painting and cried? Probably not. Now have you ever heard a song that brought you to tears? That’s considerably more likely. That is because of an almost primal connection to music; it is ingrained ever since hearing our mother’s heartbeat before being born. Weird, right?

Music is so divisive because it is tied to our personality more than any other form of art from any era. Music genres may be debated as the best, but in the long run, music is art, and art demands respect from all angles.