If there’s one solid thing I’ve learned in my 19 years, it’s that not all people like the same music. There are some people whose hearts’ skip beats like scratched CDs when they hear 80’s light rock, and some people who prefer to fill their ears with hardcore rap tracks fresh out of Compton.
Some people will be content no matter what radio station is playing in the car, while some people will put on their headphones to avoid what’s playing in the grocery store. We’re all different, and really, who cares? In modern Western culture we are constantly pressured to lead individualistic lives. Our society supposedly values diversity, but if there’s another thing I’ve learned in my 19 years, it’s that you will be judged, scorned, and even belittled by others because of the kind of music you listen to.
Personally, I’m a fan of anything that makes me want to sing along. I like country tunes that strum my heartstrings along with the strings of the guitar; teen pop with auto-tuned lyrics that bring me back to holding hands with my first boyfriend; and R&B club hits that speak of situations I will probably never experience, but make me want to grind my hips anyways.
I like Justin Bieber, but that doesn’t mean I’m fifteen and hate-tweet Selena Gomez. I like Eminem, but that doesn’t mean I have 24 tattoos, a criminal record, and a gun in my closet. My iPod blasts Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift, Childish Gambino, and the 1975. Yours might not. For some reason, the combination of sound wave frequencies and rhyming stanzas that these artists produce really tickle my fancy and my eardrums. So sue me. Just because the vibrating hairs in your inner ear don’t give your brain the same pleasant feeling that mine do, does not mean that my music choices are inferior to yours.
Being told that your favorite song or genre is worthless can feel like a reflection upon your personal self. It’s hurtful, it’s annoying, and it’s downright close-minded. Should we really be proud to live in a society where the content of my iTunes library apparently speaks to my self-worth?
We don’t hate on people for liking the taste of different foods, or for having a different favorite color than ourselves, so why can’t we accept that individual perception and memories lead us to enjoy different music? The pop song you think is immature may have blared during someone’s first slow dance, and maybe the beat of the chorus still reminds them of the pounding they could feel through the shirt of their partner. The rock song you hate could have been on the burnt CD someone’s dad played in the car when they moved across the country and left everything behind. Just because something isn’t significant for you, doesn’t mean it isn’t everything to someone else.
If a song makes you feel or go numb, it is music. If a song makes you think or lets you take a break from it all, it is music. If a song reminds you, even for just 3-5 minutes, that you are alive, it is music. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.