Leave your music comfort zone

Jessie Goodson, Campus Carrier News Editor

When I was in middle school, my music library was very narrow and consisted of mostly Justin Bieber and Hillary Duff, which is pretty normal for a 12-year-old girl. That changed when I found my older brother’s iTunes library. 

After loading his entire music library, consisting of thousands of songs from a range of artists, I discovered that my teenage brother had better music taste than I had originally thought. I didn’t know where to begin with all of that music so I eventually just started pressing shuffle, and before I knew it I was listening to The Beatles, Plain White T’s and The Killers all within a day. 

I wanted so badly to be as cool and impressive with music as my brothers, so I tried incredibly hard to learn as much of it as I could as fast as I could. This meant that I knew a lot of My Chemical Romance and Abba, which made for quite the conversation at family dinners. 

After I plowed through that music library I began building one of my own, but that wouldn’t have happened without me giving all of that new music a chance. 

I’ve been through just about every music phase that there is: pop, rock, grunge, indie, rap, country, R&B and folk. As I learn more music and go to more concerts, I learn just how important it is to not be limited to just one genre, but to be open to all music. I know that everyone has a favorite genre, and that’s great. But my favorite genre is simple; it’s good music. 

When you only listen to one type of music you miss out on so much. You don’t even know what you’re missing. I truly hate when someone tells me that they only listen to one genre, or that they hate a specific one. You can’t hate a genre of music if you haven’t explored it. Sure, you may not enjoy listening to a few specific country artists, but that doesn’t mean you “hate” country music. Everyone should know that Bob Dylan and Sam Hunt are two very different people. 

If you try a new Spotify playlist or radio station and you don’t like the first song, skip it and try the next one. If you find a new artist that you like, go to their related artists and listen to them, then go to their related artists and continue the cycle. Chances are, you’ll discover something you never would’ve found otherwise. 

Don’t just listen to new, popular music. I’ll be the first one to tell you that Taylor Swift’s new song is quite the bop, but I’ll also tell you about some obscure band from the 90’s that I’ve been listening to all day. Find your parents’ records and CDs and listen to them. I have found that some of my favorite artists are ones that my grandparents and parents listened to. 

You’ll also find that those classic albums and artists are what inspired a lot of the music that’s popular now. They also collaborate with each other, like Rod Stewart, a rock singer/ songwriter that was very popular in the 1970s and ASAP Rocky, a rap artist who released his first album in 2011, collaborated on the song “Everyday” which has over 150 million streams on Spotify. 

I’m the kind of person that will be listening to The Rolling Stones, James Taylor and Chance the Rapper all in one playlist. I’ve learned not to limit myself and to always accept song suggestions. If someone you know is passionate about an artist, give them a listen. You never know if it could be the next CD you buy for your car. And yes, use CDs. Your phone may die or your cellular data may run out, so don’t rely on only one form of music streaming. 

Ideally, everyone would listen to all music, but I know that’s a lot to ask. So, if nothing else, at least steal your older sibling’s iTunes password and go through your parents’ music collections in the basement. You won’t regret it. 

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