Music x MBTI
Written by: Rebecca Yap Jia Xin (22-O1), Ashley Chean Qi Li (22-O1), Tricia Loh Qiuxuan (21-U1),
Designed by: Jovielle Bruto (22-A2)
Music is something that most people cannot live without. With apps like Spotify and Apple Music, music has never been more accessible, allowing us to listen to music anytime, anywhere. In fact, more than just a few notes strung together, what we listen to can also act as the windows into our very personality. As a matter of fact, many studies have shown that there can be a correlation between certain personality traits and the type of music you listen to. In this article, we will be looking at 6 genres of music as well as the corresponding personality types from the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) that are more inclined to them. However, to keep things fresh, we will also be comparing our findings with our very own survey conducted with Eunoians about their personality types and their favourite music genres! So strap in and find out what your favourite music says about you.
By far the most mainstream genre of this age, pop music is easily recognised by its catchy verse-chorus structure and danceable rhythms, as well as the fact that it probably makes up 80% of what you hear on the radio. This genre offers refreshing hits that become earworms fast with brains like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande backing it.
Starting out as rock and roll, Pop later became more commercialised in the late 1960s and more accessible to the general public. However, throughout the development of Pop, there was one constant that remained at the heart of it — Youths. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Pop is still popular with our youth even today. In fact, from our own in-house survey, we found that for the question of ‘what’s your favourite genre of music?’, Pop came out on top with a whopping 70.3% of respondents cheering for the genre.
As for the subject matter of Pop, a vast majority of Pop songs tend to be about relationships, especially romantic ones. Due to this universal theme, many youths are able to sympathise with the pining for a crush or the heartbreak from an ex-lover, further amplifying the popularity of Pop music.
But what kind of personality is most likely to be attracted to Pop? From our research, Pop tends to attract people who are more extraverted, perhaps because of its capability to have you singing at the top of your lungs with your best friends. As such, the biggest fans of Pop tend to be the Entertainers (ESFP), who enjoy performing as much as listening to performances, as well as the Consuls (ESFJ) and Executives (ESTJ), who enjoy keeping up with the current music trends to better socialise with others. However, Pop is not exclusive to extroverts. Adventurers (ISFP) are also avid listeners of Pop, drawn in by the emotion oozing from each song. However, people who listen to Pop have been said to be less open-minded in a Spotify study, perhaps attributed to their comfort in the general repetitive four-chord tunes in most Pop songs. As such, we hope that Pop-lovers can broaden their horizons a little and try listening to other genres of music as well!
- “Anything Taylor Swift” – at least one Eunoian we know
- September Song – JP Cooper
- What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction
- Young Blood – 5SOS
- All Star – Smash Mouth
- Drive By – Train
2. Musical Theatre/Show tunes
Known for being big, dramatic and emotional, musical theatre songs and show tunes are always the stars of their shows. Whether you enjoy belting out classics from the biggest Broadway musicals or dancing along to your favourite movie show tunes, these emotionally-charged songs are typically meant to convey the perspectives of characters as well as to move the plot forward. Musicals have been big on screen and on stage with the earliest modern musicals appearing in the 19th century. The effectiveness of telling stories through song still holds true today and even our Eunoians cannot withstand its allure, seeing as this genre was ranked the second most popular in our survey.
Far from being just an entertaining spectacle, many musicals actually have deeper meanings and complex themes ranging from bringing awareness of mental illnesses in ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ to learning to pursue your artistic passions in ‘La La Land’ to even marriage and loneliness in ‘Company’. As such, each song is threaded with rich meaning that makes listening to this genre a fulfilling experience.
With the deep emotion and meaningful lyrics packed into each song, Mediators (INFP) and Defenders (ISFJ) are sure to enjoy Musicals as their empathetic and reflective natures allow them to relate more to the characters and their motivations as well as reflect on the complex dynamics presented in each production. In addition, our Protagonists (ENFJ) also enjoy the thrill of musicals and their idealistic nature allows them to be easily inspired by these works to take action against societal issues. In fact, our survey showed that our ENFJs in Eunoia enjoyed Musical Theatre and Show tunes the most! However, these tunes may prove to be too overwhelming for the more reserved Architects (INTJ), who may prefer classical pieces that offer greater musical intricacy without so much of the dramatics.
- The Encanto Soundtrack
- Someone in the Crowd – La La Land
- I Won’t Say (I’m In Love) – Hercules
- You Will Never Know – The Theory of Relativity
- The Rum Tum Tugger – Cats (Original Broadway Cast Recording/1983)
- Disappear – Dear Evan Hansen
When we do a deeper dive into what Indie music truly represents, we start to understand the reasons behind it’s popularity.
Does this variety not strike you as quite the diverse range of sub-genres? It’s quite tough to find a genre as all-encompassing as Indie, simply because the requirements of an Indie song is much less technical. Indie is short for independent – music that is made without the support of a record label. Over the years (ever since the sixties), Indie has been appreciated for its authenticity and for batting less of an eye to commercial success. So, yes, The Beatles are just as ‘indie’ as The Arctic Monkeys and Girl in Red are.
It’s a near impossible task to go through each Indie sub-genre, but we’ll do our best to cover the more pertinent ones. Think Clairo, Lorde and Sufjian Stevens. These artists form the Indie-Pop genre, characterised by a combination of guitar pop and ‘DIY ethic’, in opposition to the style and tone of mainstream pop music. While these artists are relatively well-known among mainstream listeners, it is their eccentric style which sets them apart from the typical four-part harmony pop songs. The subdued or less energetic nature of Indie-Pop might not appeal to our fellow Entertainers (ESFP) who prefer to be updated on the latest mainstream tunes, but it does resonate with our ESTPs and ENFPs, who gravitate towards more laid-back music. Some people might not enjoy head banging to the roars of an electric guitar and would rather opt for a steady rhythm of a bass guitar. These people are most like our ISFPs, who may appreciate Indie-Rock bands. Despite being labelled ‘Adventurers’, an ISFP might find themself overstretched, leading them to drown in the more ambient guitar solos by the Arctic Monkeys. The same applies for our INFPs, who might need the dulcet drone of a stripped-down guitar to recharge their social batteries.
- Girls – Girl in Red
- Billie Bossa Nova – Billie Eilish
- Where or When – Aeriqah
- 1957 – Milo Greene
- Close to You – Dayglow
- Inside – Mother Mother
Perhaps we’re already imagining the same stereotypical album cover in our heads: Men in black leather jackets, masks and dark skinny jeans, then the scattered symbols of death, perhaps skulls or serpents. To top it all off, we have it written in a red, scrawny and almost illegible font “IRON MAIDENS”.
In a time where bubbly and melodic music is celebrated, we’re often quick to dismiss metal music as noisy and irritable. Some might even go as to claim that it’s outdated. However, let’s not be too quick to judge. While this article is for all intents and purposes, not a deep-dive into the respective genres, it is important to dispel some myths about what some call the ‘most misunderstood genre of all time’. For starters, many Metal fans grow to enjoy the dissonance as it challenges their boundaries. It’s not a surprise that fans tend to embrace change, which manifests itself in preferring music that is intense and complex. Some of you might be thinking, ‘Metal glorifies violence! How’s that excusable?’ If you find no issue with this statement, well, congratulations! You probably have a generally prejudiced and paranoid attitude towards Metal. Here’s where we turn to science, which shows that listening to heavy metal music allows for a healthy and functional way of processing anger, helping listeners enhance their positive emotions. So, the next time you think of Metal listeners, try not to get caught up in all that paranoia.
Metal is indeed an outlet for most of its fans. It verbalises the frustration or despondency of its listeners who would otherwise repress their emotions, especially introverts. Indeed, INTPs and ISTPs tend to enjoy more emotionally visceral genres. These personalities often enjoy challenging the status quo, which could provide us with a bit of insight into why they might enjoy recklessly experimental music. Yet, let’s not make a hasty generalization that all Metal fans are closeted introverts, because ESTPs can be quite the exception. These Entrepreneurs might find the fast, loud, and heavy nature of metal music to be a reflection of their energetic and action-oriented personality.
Unfortunately, most other personality types such as our INFJs, ESFJs and ESTPs do not particularly appreciate Metal. Both Fe (Extraverted Feelers) and Fi (Introverted Feelers) tend to engage in more introspection, making them more in touch with their emotions. It’s probably why they prefer the elemental purity and authenticity of indie or jazz tunes, and find Metal more jarring to listen to. Unlike our Logicians (INTP), both extroverts and feelers resonate more with music that acknowledges certain personal vulnerabilities. It is instead harmonious tunes that bring them catharsis in creating a reflective space for them.
Song Recommendations (unfortunately, we didn’t receive many.)
- Rescue Me – Day6
- Seek & Destroy – Metallica
- Enter Sandman – Metallica
- Don’t Cry – Guns & Roses
- Still Loving You – Scorpions
- Call me Sunshine – Ghost
Electronic dance music became popular in the early 2000s, and is still prevalent in our lives now. It became popular thanks to a techno-pop album by Madonna, the ray of light. It is associated with pulsating lights and large groups of people raving. In this chapter, we will dive into the genre and what our eunoians think of it.
All of us have encountered EDM, but where? EDM is often featured in the music we listen to in workout videos, with the high-tempo music pushing us to work harder. It is famous for being the music blasted in the clubs and music festivals, with its high tempo and easy melody being the ultimate track to rave to. In fact, our school’s college dance is an EDM track by Chris Brown!
EDM is indeed the ultimate party genre. Its up-tempo and energetic beat urges you to dance and can help unite people, bringing together a group with its unexpected beat drops and bass-heavy tunes. The simple, groovy beat is enough to envelope anyone and allow us to feel included, whether or not we can dance. The magic of EDM encourages inclusivity, finesse and energy for all, and is able to hype any group up.
EDM is one of the most unique genres of music, with its complex rhythms, upbeat energy, danceability, and unconventionality. For EDM lovers, it is more than just club music, but a feeling to treasure. Most of us associate EDM music with raves, for good reason– most rave tracks have some sort of EDM influence. However, EDM does have a more chill side, with a mellow tone and mid-tempo beats to calm the listener down. It still makes you want to move, but instead of raving, it makes you want to snap your fingers and sway from side to side. In addition, a little-known fact about EDM is that it is good for your brain. EDM helps to relax the body and reduce stress.
Generally, those of personality types ENTJ, ENTP, ISTJ, ISTP and ISFP liked EDM the least, making it one of the most disliked genres of music. These personality types tend to prefer the more lyrical pop music, in contrast to the lyricless EDM music. However, a considerable number of eunoians still indicated that they enjoy EDM, so do put it on your “to listen” list!
- Lean On – DJ Snake
- Get Lucky – Daft Punk
- Leave Before You Love Me – Marshmello and The Jonas Brothers
- Levels – Avicii
- Sandstorm – Darude
- Cutie Cutie – fusq
Rap is presented as one of the toughest genres of music, with people often writing it off as “not their thing”. When we dove into the lyrics, intents, and stories behind the genre and music, our appreciation for this genre grew and we hope it will for you too!
The English verb rap has various meanings; these include “to strike, especially with a quick, smart, or light blow”, as well as “to utter sharply or vigorously: to rap out a command”. The genre of rap is meant to stun its listener and to bring about an important point that they view important. The emotion behind the lyrics brings out a note of vulnerability that causes the listener to relate and empathise with them.
Rap is the battle cry of the underdog. To vastly overgeneralize, most rap songs are about a competitor thought to have little chance of winning who seizes the moment and proves his rivals wrong. This drive and hunger to succeed brings about the appeal of the genre, being a motivator for those who feel belittled, like the underdog, having a chance of success.
The ISFP personality type in particular felt strongly against rap, with the greatest number of respondents disliking the genre. It is true that this genre may not be from everyone, with some of the tracks having lack of a vocal melody throwing some people off. However, most personality types did indicate that they liked rap, although it was not the most popular genre.
- I Fall Apart – Post Malone
- Anything by XXXTentacion and Juice WRLD
- Run It – DJ Snake, Rick Ross, Rich Brian
- Love in My Pocket – Rich Brian
- Potato Salad – Tyler, The Creator and A$AP Rocky
- Earfquake – Tyler, The Creator
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT! Music is such an integral part of our lives, with many of us spending hours daily jamming or studying with it. Press presents you with EJ’s favourite genres according to our MBTI. We hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and learnt more about your friends and their music taste, as according to their MBTI! This article is merely about the trends observed based on our research, and we understand that each Eunoian has a unique music taste. Do take the time to try some of the song recommendations our peers have recommended, and to explore new genres! In fact, if you go to our press spotify page at ej.origin you’ll find 16 different playlists for each type curated by Eunoians, for Eunoians. So next time when you go home, why not just try some new songs that our Eunoians love?