Even if I don’t actually drive anywhere, I like to sit in the front seat of my car and listen to the radio – mostly because the bass in my car stereo is awesome for a system that still has a cassette slot. When I first got the car, it had six months remaining of Sirius satellite radio subscription, and that was incredible. Between Sirius and the CDs that I had, I didn’t listen to FM radio until January. Once I finally got around to listening to the radio, I discovered that UMBC is just outside of the listening area of my normal channels. So I made one of the best choices of my recent life and I started to listen to. Not only am I addicted to “Elliot in the Morning”, but I love the selection of music they play: Green Day, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Cage the Elephant, Zeppelin, Linkin Park… seriously, people, do yourselves a favor and listen sometime.
Until now, I’ve kind of been ignoring radio music (except for 106.9 The Eagle, a classic rock station that plays the same six songs a hundred times a day) because most songs on “popular” stations make me lose my faith in humanity. But today, as I was driving to the public library, I found myself singing along and embarrassingly dancing to “Pompeii” by Bastille – a song that every radio station in the world has played once an hour since the start of the year and it’s still on the iTunes best-setting singles list. I flipped to a pop station – Key 103, the favorite station of tween One Direction fangirls all across Frederick County – and found the same exact song.
At first, I was mortified, because I never thought I’d be so in love with a song that plays on a station like Key 103. But as I went to go add it to my wish list on iTunes, I realized that I was being kind of ridiculous. So what if I like a song that plays on Key 103? If I automatically trash every song that plays on a station I don’t like, I’ll miss out on all kinds of good music.
I have lots of friends out there that are like me: music “elitists”, afraid to admit that popular music is popular because it’s good. Not every song on the charts is worth its weight in musical gold but it’s also not fair to judge music by its fan base. This goes back to my argument about country music. Don’t let your preconceived notions of a type of music keep you from listening to it. Music has the power to manipulate emotion in ways we can’t really explain – I don’t understand more than five words in “Pompeii” but its energy has the power to pick me up on a bad afternoon. That’s what music is, to me: a way of expressing emotion. People just interpret it differently. Katy Perry, the devil woman of the music, makes my ears bleed while millions of people find her music “empowering”. Meanwhile, many of my friends won’t listen to LMFAO because they find their music tacky and annoying while it makes me smile (wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle yeah, ladies and gentlemen).
Music is something too powerful and too important to judge based on your friends’ opinions. Listen to a new radio station every once in a while. Maybe you’ll stumble on something that you like; maybe you’ll have the displeasure of hearing Katy Perry whine through your speakers; maybe your preconceived notions will be correct. Open up, and don’t be afraid to dance in the car – I don’t want to be the only one making a fool of myself on the highways.
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