Even though social media platforms like TikTok currently rule the charts, your individual music taste can stem from more personal parts of your life.
When I was a kid, I was a sucker for elevator music. If there was an elevator, I'd be dancing. I couldn't care less if the songs had lyrics or if other people were around me. For the thirty seconds I was trapped in that giant metal box, I'd be jamming out.
My mother never understood this. She wanted me to embrace the Sponge Bob Square Pants theme song, or even Glee ... fucking Glee! And while my siblings happily practiced a stupid dance to Lea Michele's version of "Gives You Hell," I was chilling to a playlist called, "Hotel Lobby Classics."
Years later, I don't listen to elevator music on the reg. To be honest, I find it boring and anti-climatic, like the yearly birthday phone call with a relative you can't even put a face to.
Although, I'd lie if I said I didn't understand my younger self for liking this kind of music.
Now a semi adult, I enjoy sitting alone with my thoughts, and in a world that has become so obnoxiously loud, blasting Caamp, The Lumineers, and Mumford and Sons does the trick. As long as it's them singing, I don't mind the noise.
But my drastic transformation from kid who loved elevator music to a fan of chaotic folk left me wondering: where does our music taste come from. And here's what I figured out.
Who was your first music plug?
Pause for a moment and ask yourself: what was the first song I ever heard? Unless you have an incredible memory, this is an impossible task. So many parts of our childhood are forgotten by the time we get to college. But what's possible is figuring out who introduced you to your favorite artists. For me, it was my brother's friends. They'd let me hang out at their bonfires where a guitar always made an appearance. During those New Hampshire fall nights, the fire being the only light we could see, music became magic.
What was your first concert?
I went to my first ever concert when I was nine. It was a local festival with up-and-coming folk and country bands sharing a medium-sized stage in front of approximately five hundred people. My parents, two avid live music fans, put a giant pair of ear muffs on me to protect me from the loud music. Yet halfway through, I kept removing them. Event at a young age I knew this sound would never harm in any way.
When was your first crush?
The relationship between our love lives and music is one that needs no explanation. When you experience love for the first time, music becomes the one thing that can put feelings into words. For me, it was my first high school party. Packed closely inside a beer-scented basement, I saw my first crush walk in through the door.
Before Running Up the Hill saved Max from Vecna, it served as the intro song for the first person I ever fell in love with. It was an ethereal representation that truly captured the essence of first love, and despite the song alluding to a situation more dramatic than a high school crush, it fit perfectly then.
When was your first heartbreak?
When my best friend's family decided to move across the country, I experienced my first heartbreak. I think we often forget that platonic heartbreak can and will hurt more than any romantic heartbreak we experience. In a Bella Swan "New Moon" fashion, I spent the month after my friend moved in a state of sadness. I listened to The Lumineers, Parachute, and Adele way too much. In a surprising manner, the songs intensified the emotions I was feeling, which shockingly led me to recovering from that heartbreak so much faster.
When was the first time you felt like yourself?
There is nothing more powerful than feeling at home with yourself. While being a young person is a never-ending journey, there are moments in our lives where who we are feels so clear. For me, this happened after I moved away from my small town for my first adult job. I was in a new city where no one knew me. I was free to be whoever I wanted. As I began to feel comfortable at work and made friends who I specifically chose, I felt content. I was truly happy.
When I think about the songs I used to listen to during those days, I see songs worthy of a movie soundtrack. The kind that fill you with enough motivation to run that extra mile or dance like no one's watching. These are the songs I carry with me to this day because if I ever doubt myself, listening brings back those feelings of inspiration, confidence, and pure joy.
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