Marginalized By Music: Blurring Musical Boundaries

Rather than an album or concert review, I felt this week demanded a more opinionated piece. Most days, you won’t find me giving this generation of music listeners anything but the best of reviews. Some people might dismiss much of the music nowadays as meaningless bubblegum pop songs or perhaps anti-feminist love ballads. I tend to take a different standpoint, as I am a lover of sound, of rhythm, of all music that meets my ear. 

With that said, our generation is no less judgmental about music than we are about politics, fashion or human rights violations. What music we listen to does not define us, because for most of us, our iTunes library is quite eclectic. I’m not grunge, I’m not hardcore rap, I’m not Taylor Momsen (much to my dismay). We are more than these categories placed upon us by our fellow listeners. What’s cool to listen to? The Top 40 doesn’t even seem to mean much anymore. If we don’t know what songs are on that list, then we’re ignorant. If we know that list by heart, our souls are being sucked into the depths of ghastly mainstream media. It’s okay if all we listen to is Norwegian death metal. It’s also okay if we don’t know that one independent alternative artist. Not all of us reach out to find new music; some just take what they hear on a regular basis and jam out. I know I’ve certainly been guilty of that. Does that mean Miley Cyrus occasionally blasts out of my car’s speakers? Yes, yes it does. Not just “Wrecking Ball” either, but also the playful lyrics of Old Western-inspired “4×4” and the yearning “#GETITRIGHT.”  

Icon for Hire is a lesser-known alternative pop- punk band that I personally adore, from their self-titled album to the lead singer’s hot pink hair. Their vibe is pure teenager, what with songs like “Sorry For Your Parents” and “Fix Me.” This could, I suppose, fit into a couple of other musical stereotypes, such as girl-power rock bands. This may not seem like a negative clich?e, but how often do you hear “girl-power rock band” in a sentence where the speaker isn’t making fun of it?     

Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” is a Disney chart-topper, yet you’d be surprised at the amount of people that still do not accept this as an “appropriate” song to honestly like. It won an Oscar, but do I get weird looks from passers-by when I’m belting it out? All the time (and I do mean all the time).

We place each other in categories based on the music we want to hear. I use the phrase “want to hear” because listening to a song does not mean we follow the artist or own that album. It could just be exactly what we’re looking for right then, either in the song’s sentiment, memories it evokes or simply the beating of the drums.   

This generation is not always more open to different opinions and ideas, and this applies to music as well. We shouldn’t be judged by what is on our iPods, and we shouldn’t feel the need to put down or raise up certain artists. Music is music, and I believe it deserves respect.