How To Be Smarter About...

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This kid is studying up on his music theory.

Let's face it: We've all been at some party where the conversation drifts to a topic you kinda sorta don't know anything about. You nod along, silently sipping your drink, hoping your pals don't call you out because you don't have a favorite proto-post rock band. Or worse, they ask if you prefer Italian, German or French augmented sixth chords. (The correct answer? Italian. C'mon.) Because ultimately, as much as we all know and love about music, everyone has at least some blind spots.

So here at Soundcheck HQ, we’re working on an upcoming series designed to help you become a more impressive conversation partner at cocktail parties and around the water cooler. It’s called How To Be Smarter About… -- and we need your help filling in those dots. When it comes to music, what do you want to be smarter about? Maybe you want to know more about bebop, or hip hop, or trip-hop. Maybe you want to better understand Captain Beefheart.

So would you like to be smarter about? Tell us here in the comments threads, reach out on Twitter at @Soundcheck, leave a voicemail at 866-939-1612.

Just to get you thinking, here are some suggestions we’ve received so far:

One listener, Shaloub, emailed us one word:


Here’s one from another listener, Christopher:

What does the word “classical” REALLY mean? Is it the style? Is it the time period? Couldn't classical mean it's just an older style of music that has been carried forward regardless of the geographical origin? Couldn't classical mean that today's rap is yesterday's griot? Can’t the meaning change? Please teach me. Thanks.

And Jonah wants to be smarter about Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention:

There is literally no other catalogue of music that is so intimidating in its breadth and depth. I need more access points and entryways, more route markers along the long and winding road that is Zappa's life and music.