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February 14, 2005 | by  | in Music |
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Why You Should Listen to Music…

When I realised I was going to have to write this I immediately began to think of ways to get around this topic. Maybe I could pretend I read the question wrong, or get a friend to dictate why they listen to music and fob the answer off as my own. In the end, I figured the easiest way to say why I personally listen to music would be to consider how my life would be without it.

Now I wasn’t going to actually take music out of my life, that would just be masochistic and stupid, I was planning on just pretending and visualising what my life might be like. Fate, however, was not on my side, and in a recent flat relocation my stereo decided to break and refused to play anything; no radio, no CDs, nothing.

I only discovered this when I was weary from two days of moving, and in need of something soothing to lull me off to sleep in my new room. Upon discovery of my broken stereo I was on the verge of panic. Closer inspection, which basically consisted of me crouched before the stereo swearing at it and opening and shutting the disc tray over and over again, saw me realize the problem. Like a retard, I had left three CD’s in the stereo before the move and they were now jammed firmly in place, stopping the damn thing from closing properly. Not only did I feel hard done by because I had no music, but I knew it was all my fault, which is always hard to take.

As I tried to get to sleep I started to worry. What if the stereo was permanently ruined? What was I going to do? I tried to reassure myself, and decided that if that was indeed the case I would have no choice but to use my course-related costs to by a new, and better stereo. After all, I kept telling myself, I had had this one since form three and it was probably due for an upgrade.
In the morning I carried my stereo down stairs to be taken away to be fixed. When he heard what had happened, my flatmate first laughed at me, then pulled out his trusty screwdriver and proceeded to take the back off of my stereo. In five minutes he had removed the offending CD’s, none of which were scratched, and put the whole thing back together again, without breaking a sweat.

While this little anecdote is fairly off topic, it is an example to show just how much music means to me, (and the benefits of living with men).
While I am not going to wank on about what is great about music I will say this: music is one of things in our lives that is totally individual and unique. Sure, you may like similar bands to your friends, but you will probably like them for different reasons. You can’t help who you like, or why, you just do. The music you like is the result of a gut reaction, not an intellectual decision, well at least it shouldn’t be, and if this means you are a Slip Knot fan or an Atomic Kitten fan, God help your flat mates, but so be it.

Something I realised recently is that the music that I was brought up on as a kid is what I have found I have come back to now, and if it wasn’t for the music I was played at such an early age I don’t think music would mean as much to me as it does now. I have really vivid memories of singing at the top of my lungs with my sister to Fraggle Rock, The Beatles, Baby Baluga, The Les Miserables soundtrack (an odd thing to play a kid aged 5, but there you go), Neil Young, and most importantly a lot of female-led country and folk music, in the form of the McGarrigle Sisters and Christal Gale. As a kid I loved this stuff, I wanted to be a cowgirl, and live on a ranch, just like the singers of my favourite songs. Later, in my adolescence, I pretended I had never liked country music. I denied it, and in those days would have said “shame” if anyone had actually admitted to liking country music.

But in the last five years or so country music, or more specifically, alt-country has drawn me back in. It happened almost without me realising it. Now where is all this going? The point is this: Music is incredibly subjective. You are going to like what you like, no matter how hard you try to deny it. And that’s what makes music great, it’s an emotional, personal impulse, not a calculated decision. Its something in our lives we have no control over, but we don’t need to.

I am going to end this self-indulgent little rant with a request. If you are reading this thinking “why did they hire this girl as the Music Editor, I can do better than that”, I want to hear from you. Email me at <music [at] salient.org.nz> with your ideas for reviews, interviews, profiles, whatever, I want to hear about it. I want to hear about which music you grew up on and now just can’t stop talking about.

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