Music is a friend, a medicine, a form of therapy. Music runs through me. It can bring a smile through tears just as easy as it can make me cry when I thought everything was fine. It can force me to face things I don’t want to face. It can bring back the most vivid memories and experiences.
Recently someone close to me said something rude after my mentioning my enjoyment of the Kings of Leon song that was playing, and I was surprise at how much it hurt me. It felt like he told me he didn’t like my hair or thought I was annoying. Like he was speaking negatively about me as a person. I know he wasn’t, and I understand it sounds dramatic. But when those melodies are so engrained in who you are, it becomes difficult to look past those remarks. To me, good music is music that makes you feel things. That statement is intentionally broad. Sometimes, a good song stops me in my tracks and keeps me in a daze until it passes. Sometimes, a good song makes me begin to accidentally full-on dance on the el. Sometimes, when I take a second to listen to the words of a good song for the first time, I start crying and can’t stop. Sometimes, I hear a good song, and text it to my mom, boyfriend, dad, or brother just because it makes me think of them and it made me happy.
Good music is relative. We don’t have to like the same things. In society now, it seems so “cool” to be a music snob. The “you’ve never heard of them,” or “I liked them before it was cool,” is like a currency for respect from musically obsessed peers. Then, God forbid you like the new Katy Perry song, you can’t admit it unless you confess to “only liking it ironically.” I was just talking to a BFF this weekend about how there’s no good way to answer the question, “So, what kind of music do you like?” If you can even come up with one favorite artist, an inevitable will be immediately attached to your answer. I want to, and usually do, say, “Haha, I don’t even know how to answer that. Here, check out my iPod.”
I like to think my iPod tells a story about me. 10,329 songs. Many of them shared with me from friends and loved ones over the course of my life, each of them a memory. Yes, I listen to Tupac. It brings me back to the bittersweet days of high school angst, unrequited love and adventures with the sunroof open to distant Salvation Army stores. Yes, I listen to country. It brings me memories of countless summer concerts and long drives with my Mom. Yes, I listen to Katy Perry, because I admire her and genuinely believe she’s a talented artist and strong woman. Yes, I have an over-the-top selection of pop punk. It brings me back to the moment I met my man, at age 16, visiting him in Best Buy. My mix of music isn’t anything besides a big, complicated explanation of my life and who I am.
I’m not saying sorry for or justifying my music taste anymore, just as I will resist judgment of the music taste of others I encounter in life. I don’t have to like it. But just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not good. And if I do like it, more power to me.