This was an article I wrote for a Kiss100FM competition. I made it to the final four which were published on their website, www.kissconfidential.com, but unfortunately I didn't win competition or the new laptop that went with it. I thought I was free of my broken-down old school lapper that is gurgling as I type but the blog must go on. This article also inspired the title of this blog with a a slight word adjustment- at least something good came out of it!
I first encountered music in the mid to late nineties. Whilst the housing estate was torn apart over the “Oasis or Blur” debate, us young girls fought over which member of Boyzone we loved the most. It wasn’t until secondary school that music became a way of life. Two categories separated us: rockers and chavs. I played sport and loved Metallica, so there were a few of us who sauntered in between both groups, testing the water in each to see which one suited our personalities.
Unfortunately I don’t have one of those ‘cool’ music stories whereby I stumbled across my parents’ old record collection in the attic. Instead, I had to figure it out on my own. My music taste was conflicted between that of my friends and the hip hop that was blaring from my sister’s bedroom. But no matter how brutal the music was in retrospect, it made me feel good. I could lash on System of a Down when I was in a terrible mood, or dance around to Britney when no one was watching.
The annoying thing about music is that you discover bands long after their sell by date. Split-ups, rehab and sad deaths all prevent us from seeing our favourite acts of time gone by. Luckily for me, Neil Young still had a bit of touring left in him a couple of years ago and I got to witness the master at work on three occasions (I admit that perhaps it was a bit crazed fan-like of me to go to three different countries to see him). It was only then once I had purchased my tickets and was listening to Harvest in my room that my mother announced that she would come to one of the gigs with me. She admitted that she was a big fan ‘back in the day’ and handed over her collection of old records that consisted of The Beatles, Bowie and Dylan. Instead of feeling privileged or delighted that I had original vinyls from the 1960s and 70s, I was outraged that she had never given them to me before and relieved me of hand-banging induced headaches years ago.
Music is love no matter how cliché it sounds. Everyone has a song that reminds them of someone else- be it an ex, a friend, a lover or a partner. The emotion a single lyric or melody can evoke is unfathomable. My first love introduced me to music properly the summer before university. He had had the advantage of two older brothers and he treated me as his protégé, giving me a new band every week and taking me to gigs of both new up and coming bands and golden oldies. From then on, I was hooked. Live music became quite a big part of my life, and my budget. I attended gigs whenever I could, some even required travelling around Europe. The feeling at a live concert can be electrifying, sometimes disappointing but always an unforgettable experience. Personally, music festivals are what I look forward to most every year. The diabolical living quarters and the disease infested portaloos are quickly forgotten about as soon as a band steps out on stage. Complete nirvana. You are soon catapulted back to reality however whilst searching for your tent in the dead of night having tripped over empty beer cans and broken deck chairs.
Music is for personal pleasure; to inspire, to connect people, to split up and to reunite. Music is intertwined with art and fashion, such as Studio 54 or a song the models stomp down the runway to. It also has the power to inspire the listener, intentional or not. There are so many magazines, music moguls and blogs telling people what to listen to but I think music should be your own choice, not be forced upon you. John Lennon eloquently said, “Music is everybody’s possession. It’s only the publishers who think that people own it”. People can be very pretentious when it comes to music, not listening to it because they want to but because someone is telling them too or they think it’s cool. Music also unearths an argumentative quality in people, in me too, and that makes for interesting conversations. Discussing how much Kings of Leon have sold out or who will the next big act are all well and good but music should definitely be a person’s own choice and should not be frowned upon or indeed discriminated against (even if they do still follow the Followill’s).
New music, like everything else, is more a reworked edition of what has gone before but with innovative sounds and beats. Technological advancements and financial backing have made it easier to experiment and come up with new ideas. With the grasp of the downloading phenomenon around record labels’ necks, musicians and managers alike have argued that the future of music is in danger. Record stores are being forced to close as the digital age takes hold but there is still an urge out there to buy a hard copy of a CD or vinyl, especially for die-hard music fans. There are so many different genres to listen to that will undoubtedly suit your personality and you may even find you’ve a wide eclectic music interest that will suit your every mood. I certainly have!
To quote CSS; “music is my imaginary friend”.