We all have music we like to listen to, and music we hate. But have we ever stopped to wonder why music plays a part in our lives? I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and introspection recently, and have come to realise that for most of my life I’ve been using music to hide a lot of my true feelings. I’ve been using it as a crutch.
I don’t think I’ve “properly” lost my temper for most of my life. I’ve had times where I’ve been very annoyed or intensely irritated, but I’ve never really totally lost it, lost control to the extent that I’ve been shouting, or smashing things etc. It no doubt happened when I was a child and I probably had tantrums like most children, but I can’t really recall any occasions since my teens where a red mist has descended and I’ve flown into a rage, except once.
Around the time I entered my teens I discovered punk. For a while that was almost the only music I listened to, though I gradually expanded my listening to include Goth and New Wave. I find it interesting though that I focussed on only one or two bands in the various genres, rather than listening to all those I could find. Most of the bands I liked were quite melodic, with cool basslines and interesting lyrics, lyrics that for the most part spoke to me and my morals.
Towards the end of my teens I saw The Blues Brothers film and the world of blues and soul was opened up to me: I embraced that world with open arms. I was less discerning and listened to a wide range of artists.
Since then my tastes have broadened to the extent that I listen to almost anything, and have Asian and African music in my collection along with Latin, classical, reggae, ska, rap and other genres.
I can now see that when I’ve been annoyed or upset about something, rather than lose my temper I’ve listened to something loud and distracting, something with aggression built in e.g. Punk. The louder I’ve played it, and the more I’ve sung along and got into the song itself, the better I’ve felt. When I’ve felt down, listening to Goth or the blues have again helped console me. When I’ve wanted a lift, soul music has elevated my mood.
Over the course of this year, where I’ve ended my long marriage, started a new relationship and spent a huge amount of time reflecting on my life, I’ve started to realise that I don’t listen to as much music as I used to. And the main reason for that is because I haven’t felt the need to.
I’ve realised that for years I was hiding my emotions in the music I listened to. When I was annoyed or upset about something, listening to certain music would help comfort me, and I don’t feel that need now. This has actually freed me somewhat I think, and means I can listen to music anew, without having to search for something to mask my feelings. That is very liberating, and I’m looking forward to many years of exploring the sonic environment from a fresh perspective.