Opinion: What Music Means to Me by Sam Brookes

Time and Music are both funny things. Before I got into my first band at the age of 11 (Busted, if you must know) I would always get a strong feeling of irritation and discomfort when my mum listened to the radio.

I can’t explain my discomfort in words, (maybe it was a sense of taste as my parents listened to a lot of ‘chill out’ music. Cringe), however I do have a strong memory of Madonna‘s La Isla Bonita playing in my mum’s car as we pulled out of Asda’s carpark and just feeling annoyed by it. Fast forward twenty years and I listen to Madonna while I wash up.

I genuinely don’t think I’d have done the things I’ve done in my life if it wasn’t for the effect of music. I would never have joined the Rockhaq community, which means I would never have discovered a love for writing in a non-fiction capacity. That means no English degree, no job as a copywriter, and a completely different life for me. I decided to examine the ways that music makes an impact on my life and the lives of three of my coworkers (whose names I shall abbreviate to M, D and T).

A Crutch
Everyone has one. Some people love ice cream, others love to exercise. For me, I don’t think I could cope with the monotonous aspects of my life like driving, cleaning, going to work, or even walking from A to B, if it wasn’t for the library of music I carry around on my phone. It helps me pass the time, engages my brain and turns everything in my life into a bearable exercise.

M said “Most of the time I just listen to music in the car. I also listen to soothing music at night to help me sleep.”

A Form of Expression
Like a lot of people in the world, I was left a little surprised by some of the events that took place last year. When Trump won the US presidency in November 2016, I spent my day at work feeling nervous about the future and little angry at the condition the world seems to have gotten itself into. I’d been listening to The Smiths pretty exclusively up until that point, but I ended up switching to politically themed albums like Architect‘s Lost Together // Lost Forever and Stray From The Path’s Subliminal CriminalsAnonymous. These anti-establishment tinged albums articulated all the feelings I had, in a way that I wasn’t able to, with the only side-effect being a desire to flip my table.

When I asked D about his music habits he said; “I don’t really listen to music all that often anymore, but when I do, it’s like… wow!”

Personality
Some might consider it juvenile or shallow to consider music to be a part of my personality. In fairness to myself, I mean it in the secondary school “music is my life mum!” kind of way, not the Urban Outfitters, “Oh I didn’t realise Nirvana was a band, I thought they were a clothing company” way. A lot of the people I have been friends with is because of their music taste, everyone I follow on Twitter is related to the music scene I love, I wear band t-shirts every day and I love to talk about music with people that are passionate, like me.

T told me “If a song or album means something to you, it will always remind you of who you were and what you were doing at that time.

I wrote my first album review for Rockhaq when I was 19, and at the time I was exclusively an alt-music kind of guy. The genres in my iPod featured metal, punk, alt-rap and sub-genres thereupon. I use to think that my loyalty to my music scene was the defining quality of my personality, and that listening to anything else, especially anything from the Top 40 was like a betrayal of who I was. As I reach my 25th year, you’ll find me sitting in my car happily singing along to the La La Land soundtrack, I’m trying to learn a funk song on the bass guitar, my iPod is stuffed with 80’s bands, and whilst on my honeymoon I got way too excited when I found Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame on vinyl. Music is still a huge part of my life, but it’s changed a lot for me. I might not be as passionate as I use to be, but I still can’t go a day without untangling my headphones and putting a song on.

Not everything has changed though… I still hate the top 40.