There are 4 things I need to get by on this blue coloured marble we call earth. These are food, water, shelter and a series of sound waves which combine to form what is most commonly called “music”. Sure I could survive with only 3 but can any of us honestly imagine a world completely devoid of melody? A world where listening to AC/DC is akin to robbing a green grocers or parking on double yellows? Music is a part of us. If you want to get to know me ask me a question. If you want to understand me look at my iTunes (other music providers are available).
Over the years I’ve had many heated debates about all manner of topics from Religion to Politics. Passionate and enlightening with many extreme points of view. These fade into oblivion however when compared to the debates I’ve had over the aptitude of Nickelback as professional musicians. Somehow music just feels important.
Think back to school and the various groups that formed. Sure it may seem cliché but there is certainly a ring of truth to the ‘Jock’, ‘Geek’, ‘Drama’ stereotypes even in schools on the other side of the Atlantic and within each of these is a musical identity. In my school the Jocks liked Hip Hop, the Drama Kids liked anything that wasn’t mainstream and for some reason the geeks were into Heavy Metal (because of this I’ve always wondered if Metallica secretly solve algebra to warm up for a gig). My particular group of misfits were all about Classic Rock. That’s not say I didn’t listen to the soundtrack to Moulin Rouge when in the safety of my own room but heaven forbid I’d ever tell anybody!
Why is this? What makes music seem so personal? Why do Coldplay generate a degree of hate only matched by Donald Trump and Piers Morgan?
Of all the art forms music creates an immediate emotional affect. It cuts straight through the barriers we put up and gets to the root of us. Therefore our choices create a window straight into a part of us we try so hard to keep hidden. It’s no wonder we get defensive!
I will defend Radiohead until the end of my days. I’ll talk of their originality, creativity and ability to evolve over the years. Ultimately however there’s just something about their Melancholy that speaks to the part of me that gazes up at the stars and wonders what it’d be like just to float away. Some people get that from Jamiroquai and others, the rambling tones of Mumford & Sons. Being told your choice is wrong is akin to somebody insulting your family or even worse, saying there is something wrong with you as a person.
Adding fire to the flame is the question, “So what type of music are you into?”
When? Where? What’s the weather like? Have I eaten yet? Am I hopelessly in love or convinced living life as a hermit is the only rational course of action? All these things affect my choices. Personally, I love The Smiths but I’m not going to listen to them whilst I try to lift various metallic objects in the gym. Conversely N.W.A. really isn’t a great choice if I need something soothing to get me to sleep.
The point which I am meandering to like a blind baboon trying to smell its way to an orange tree is, maybe it’s time to stop trying to define ourselves by our playlists. Let’s stop closing off genres or disregarding others opinions because “it’s just noise.” When it comes to art everything is subjective and nobodies opinion is wrong. Maybe something sounds depressing now but that may be the exact thing you need in two years time. Let’s be open and accommodating and most of all let’s argue over things that actually matter. Unless you like Nickelback of course…seriously they’re the worst.
E.M. Wragg hails from Essex, England. You can usually find him waxing poetic on the streets of London or at home watching movies with his dog. He’s currently working on his first children’s book.