MusicIn my experience, the amount that people like music goes from "pleasant background noise" to "I just ordered a custom stylus for my turntable". My place in this spectrum has fluctuated over the years, but I've come to realize that my opinions on music have paralleled a personal evolution from self-importance to empathy. I've always wondered if others have shared this journey.
Do you like country music? I am fine with it. At a young age, my family fished out Garth Brooks' The Hits on our drives to PEI, and I'll admit to bobbing my head to Callin' Baton Rouge and solemnly appreciating its haunting conclusion, The Dance. But it wasn't long after my sister handed me a mix tape of Gen X hits that I decided I was too cool for country. Get out of here Billy Ray Cyrus, helloHello, hello, hello Oasis. Suddenly I found my jam (technically, jams), with my favourites being Green Day, the Canadian-renamed Bush X, and The Age of Electric's Remote Control. Before long I got a Sony Walkman for Christmas and pilfered my sister's copy of Dookie, and with a couple spare AAs in hand, Shania Twain was drowned out by Longview on the road. This was the best song in the world. They were allowed to swear.
I was in high school during what is now considered the golden age of emo and post-hardcore. And how fortunate to be part of this without the digital preservation of today's social media. But yeah, my CD collection was highlighted by Saves The Day, Thursday, Taking Back Sunday, Senses Fail, and Silverstein. I even played in a band, despite a lack of talent. But that wasn't going to stop me.
Perhaps even more interesting here was my frame of mind when it came to music. Here is a direct quote from my LiveJournal, circa 2003:
Have you ever noticed that music is a huge part in defining a person? I feel bad for those "I like everything" people. It's so great to have bands you love and shows to look forward to. I hate it when people just let muchmusic decide what their new favourite song is going to be. Unfortunately, this kind of music is all about "hoes and tricks" and "air force ones".So yeah, "le cringe". But this is a nice little glimpse of how music was such a big part of my identity back then. From that same post:
It's too bad that since rap is cooler than everything I like, those who like rap are cooler. I mean I've never seen Boys Night Out on muchmusic so they have to suck. What was I thinking? This was all fueled by when my sister said, "I can't believe you listen to this crap", and she then took out my CD and put in some Outkast. Thank you for saving me.Yeah I was really cool.
Here is where I quickly ate my teenage words and music was pushed more towards the "pleasant background noise" part of the spectrum, because now I had Adult Responsibilities. I still spun my favourites, but some indie rock, classical, and even jazz began to find its way into my Spotify Wrapped.Yeah, no, streaming wasn't a thing yet. But I did move from CDs to an iPod Nano! I believe dubstep was my thing for a while there. But music was something I listened to when I had a long walk to university, a long bus ride to work, or I put on in the background while studying. And sadly my guitar spent this time in its case under my bed. Sure, I didn't really care for rap or country or whatever, but I wasn't posting diatribes on Facebook about it.
Something happened to my frame of mind during the pandemic. If I were to summarize it, it would be along the lines of "be more chill". This shift has invaded my entire outlook on life. Car cuts me off? Maybe they are in a desparate rush. Dropped my lunch on the floor? Something, something, spilled milk. People love rap, country, or today's pop? Cool, just be you. I am also not so naive to think that I am alone in this transformation, or that it even has anything to do with the pandemic. Maybe it's just called getting old. My eight-year-old's taste in music is all over the place, probably because he has access to more than just a cassette of Dookie. And hey, maybe sometimes I am back in those long car rides, this time to bobbing my head to Astronaut in the Ocean, Thunderstruck, or even Justin Bieber. Not gonna lie, I genuinely like Miley Cyrus' Plastic Hearts. But there's always room for me to sit down, lean back, and let the poetry of Saves The Day's Stay What You Are take me away.
And they crawl through your legs
Slide under the back door
Rendering me freakish and dazed
Well here I am, don't know how to say this
Only thing I know is awkward silence
Your eyelids close when you're around me
To shut me out