For most people, attraction is about looks. For music geeks, it’s sounds. If you find someone who shares your love of Dixieland jazz or early Detroit techno or the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, who cares if they have cankles or a bad haircut?
Once two music nerds connect, the question becomes how they should go about getting to know each other. Concert dates can be great, but they’re pricey and not without their risks. Luckily, there are plenty of other options—some of which we outline below.
This one’s obvious, and not just because it made for a cute scene in 500 Days of Summer. There’s simply no better indicator of compatibility then combing through bins of dusty vinyl, waiting to see what strikes your prospective partner’s fancy. Here, the worst-case scenario is also the best: You come to blows over the same rare Prince single or Electric Prunes LP.
Alphabetizing/Organizing One of Your Music Collections
Remember that bit in High Fidelity where Dick (Todd Louiso) offers to stay in with Rob (John Cusack) on a Saturday night and help him arrange his albums “autobiographically?” He wasn’t just being nice. Music dweebs live for this sort of thing, and as with record shopping, it’s a chance to scope out the other person’s tastes and see what you’re getting into.
Booze-Fueled YouTube Dance Party
Uncork a bottle of red or grab some beers and take turns playing videos for each other. The idea is to mix guilty pleasures (embrace the Sugar Ray, you children of the ‘90s) with those hip new Captured Tracks bands you’re so proud of yourself for knowing about.
Another no-brainer. The type of people who think they know everything about music also tend to have strong opinions about film—typically genre (film noir) or foreign (French). Go see something with subtitles, then grab coffee and reach into your memory vaults for terms you haven’t used since Intro to Film.
Some cities are teaming with musical landmarks. Think Bob Dylan’s Greenwich Village, Biggie’s Brooklyn, Elvis’ Memphis, the Hold Steady’s Twin Cities, or—if you’re game for a trip to the Compton swap meet—Dr. Dre’s Los Angeles. But even if you’re stuck in some ho-hum burg, chances are an iconic musician (a) hails from (b) died in, or (c) wrote a song about someplace within driving distance of your home. Seek it out and marinade in your dweebishness.
Karaoke: The DIY Concert
Is this person the Kiki Dee to your Elton John? Here’s a good way to find out. Even if you don’t opt for a duet of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” you can tell a lot about a person by his or her choice of song. Some rules of thumb: Springsteen trumps Bon Jovi; “Don’t Stop Believing” is no longer acceptable; and “American Pie” is a waste of everyone’s time. If you hear R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix),” you may have just found yourself a soul mate.