A recent discussion between myself and my fellow LWOS writers inspired this piece. But before I get into it, let’s begin with a story:
During the first half of 2020, I kept making excuses not to listen to music. Don’t get me wrong; I still did listen while I worked—I can’t work without music in the background—but I stopped listening. For a while, music became nothing but background noise, like the hum of a refrigerator.
“Look man, you can listen to Jimi but you can’t hear him. There’s a difference man. Just because you’re listening to him doesn’t mean you’re hearing him.”
– Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes) in ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ (1992)
I never realized the hole it left in my being.
Then, I came across a godsend of a YouTube channel back in the middle of 2020 and it felt like a piece of my soul had resurfaced. I forgot how happy music makes me feel. Even though the kind of music I love would make others think otherwise.
I forgot how music makes me whole. It’s a feeling I would never want to experience ever again.
Music is universal; it surrounds us in so many shapes and forms. From the beat of the train running along tracks to the chirping of the birds outside. Even as the wind goes on its merry way, it causes trees to rustle and various things to whistle.
We all grew up with music, in one way or another. As kids, our mothers sang us to sleep. Some of us listened to the morning radio. Music plays such a massive role in our lives, whether we realize it or not.
If I may even be so bold, I don’t believe any of us could live without music.
Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, we have a wider variety of music to pick and choose from for our enjoyment. From J-Rock to K-Pop, Finnish metal to Spanish folk. And the most beautiful thing is: we don’t need to speak foreign languages to enjoy those. Music could even be considered a language in itself. It’s a language that makes us feel—happiness, sadness, calm—sometimes without the need for words.
Music is a language that connects us; binds us. We gather in groups to enjoy the same bands or artists at a concert or festival. Mutual musical tastes spawn friendships. The lack of shared musical interest becomes a red flag while dating. Different people are drawn to different genres of music like they are to different spoken languages. They spark something in our brain the same way mint-chocolate ice cream might (or might not!).
I’m swaying in my chair, listening to Rammstein, as I type this piece. My feet can’t stop tapping to the beat. I want to dance and sing out loud, despite how dumb it might make me look. Yes, you read that right—I want to dance to Rammstein. Some of you may turn your nose up at that, but that hits my point even harder.
Music is a language of the soul. It speaks to us in different ways, and I don’t think life could be the same without it.
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