It sounds like…

When someone tells someone who’s written a piece of music ‘it sounds like…’ then three things are happening…

  1. It’s a compliment. For somehow it reminds the speaker of greatness and therefore is a compliment.
  2. It’s an insult. The musician is seen as copier whose own skill is somehow only aspirational to the ‘great’ that the speaker has alluded to. The musician’s own skill is immaterial.
  3. The speaker isn’t actually listening. Instead of listening to the ‘now’ of sound, the speaker needs to immediately refer to the speaker’s own past, own experience and own opinions rather than listen to the sound and give attention to the one producing the sound.

I’ve been on both sides.