I am a music fiend.
As I type this column, my beloved Sony noise-canceling earbuds blare a Boston Pops Orchestra rendition of The Nutcracker’s Pas de Deux and block out everything but my computer screen and the music.
My coworkers know by this point if they want my attention, they need to signal airplanes in front of my face.
But as a writer, music is critical to my job, strange as it may seem.
Without music, I’d spend half my day running around in circles saying, “Where was I again?” That perfect word to seamlessly transition from one idea to the next would forever escape me as my brain locked in on random conversations going on around me.
My music grounds me, and the words I write become narratives for the instrumentals I hear.
Only when I’m done writing and it’s time to move on to graphic work will I listen to music containing lyrics.
Music fills so many diverse niches in my life that I assume it’s only natural I’m a music fiend. And in speaking with many different people, I’ve realized that music is rarely the same thing to any two people.
And therein lies its power.
Music is whatever you need or want it to be, and if one style doesn’t suit your purposes, there are countless other styles ready to fill the bill.
When I’m angry, I don’t want to listen to Celine Dion crooning “Because You Loved Me”; I’d much rather hear Nickelback calling out “The Next Contestant.”
When I’m hanging out with friends at the lake, I probably won’t be listening to Swan Lake – try Lynyrd Skynyrd or maybe Georgia Satellites.
If I just want to chill out after a rough day, Duke Ellington never fails.
But nothing says party like Gretchen Wilson’s “Here for the Party.”
I don’t know too many people – OK, anyone – who flat-out doesn’t like music. People’s tastes in music can and do differ, but that’s what gives music its depth and variety.
Let’s face it – if everyone liked the same thing, we wouldn’t have half our current genres. And despite “purist” criticisms of hybrid styles, I say go for it.
Most recognized modern genres are already hybrids, anyway.
Ultimately, music is about expression. If an artist wants to combine rap and country to express himself, more power to him. Will people like it? Maybe. Maybe not.
If not, maybe it will plant a seed for another artist to grow more successfully.
If so, that artist just helped expand our musical landscape.
And personally, I say, “the more the merrier.”
Because every new artist, every song, helps me as a listener to better express myself.
And further cements my musical fiendishness.