It’s 7:30am. You’re stuck in traffic on your way to work, still half asleep. In between all the batshit dribble being spoken by the breakfast radio announcers, an absolute banger comes on. You begin to awaken. Your mood lifts. You start bouncing to the beat. And that’s it. Now you don’t need that can of Redbull to get that morning kick.
How can music have such a profound effect on us? How can the DJ’s epic drop send a person into a state of trance and why does a solo piece on the violin leave a grown man in tears? Why do certain songs become timeless classics and why are others buried so deep never to be heard again?
I’ve always been fascinated by people’s musical choices, and curious as to why they are frustrated or angered by others. Personally, I’ve been pretty lucky from childhood, as I’ve been exposed to a variety of genres and styles of music. My mum has always been a big fan of world music, taking me to Womad Music Festival as a child. I’ve also grown up listening to the rich and inspiring notes coming from my father’s sitar. Over the years I’ve also been fortunate enough to learn the guitar and trumpet, giving my musical experience a real liquorice all-sorts feel about it.
My iTunes library is a deadset mess, with everything from world music, Indian classical, hardcore gangster rap, religious hymns, orchestral pieces, and uplifting trance. I don’t know how other people’s music collections compare, but I reckon I’ve got a decent variety going on here.
Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here is a screenshot of my iTunes library.
There is everything from Hindu Bhajans, Trance and EDM, Qawwali, Spanish guitar, Punjabi Bhangra, North African Folk Music, and a little bit of Alternative in there too.
Each genre of music serves a different purpose, and has the ability to make me feel something more. I think that’s the special thing about music, it has the ability to change our state of mind, and give us a different perspective on things.
Have you ever heard a song and then immediately thought back to a particular moment in your life? Are there some songs that you can no longer play because they remind you of something or someone? A musical piece has the amazing ability to capture our past emotions and let us relive them whenever we hear it again. Music can reignite feelings and emotions from the past that you thought were long gone, moments that you thought you had erased from your brain. I know there are certain songs that I’ve had to delete from my library just because the opening beat is enough for me to remember a time I’d rather forget.
It’s a powerful thing. It’s what keeps us sane. It’s what drives us crazy. It provides joy for some and a means of existence for others. Some find meaning in a single genre, whilst others deem categories irrelevant. Either way, there is nothing quite as emotional and inspiring as music. I can’t go anywhere without my headphones, and I certainly cannot withstand letting the radio choose what I listen to when I drive. Our musical preferences help define us as individuals and will continue to provide meaning and inspiration to our lives, even if the most recent song to break the internet was “Pen Pineapple Apple Pen.”
Be open to try new things. Look beyond what is familiar to you and discover what is really out there. You just don’t know where you might end up. The next time you’re in the car, let your mate take the aux cord and listen to what they have to offer. Open-mindedness isn’t for everyone when it comes to music, I get it. But just try it once, and see where it might take you. Maybe you’ll end up like me and start enjoying a bit of Japanese hip hop, or even some Tibetan throat singing.