When I think about different eras of my life, the type of music and even specific songs I listened to are the most vivid memories of those times. Music has always been there for the good times and celebrations, but also for the bad times and pity parties.
I can recall struggling to adjust to third grade when “In My Head” by Jason Derulo made its glorious debut in 2009 on TeenNick. Or that Big Time Rush embarked on their sensational “Summer Break Tour” in 2013 during the summer I went to sleepaway camp and woefully missed the tour but painfully learned to move on.
Music is so powerful in not only defining moments in our life, but also in bringing people together. Concerts and parties are just some of the cherished moments where we can enjoy music as fans or with friends or family.
However, while music can connect us, it is also a force of separation.
The dreaded questions for many when meeting new people are always “What kind of music do you listen to?” and “Who is your favorite artist?”
It’s hard not to feel pressure to lie for those whose choice in music doesn’t quite fit the majority of their generation’s taste.
A lot of this fear may stem from current or past experiences of being mocked for listening to anything that might stray from mainstream culture. For many people, music brings so much happiness. They don’t want to risk losing their joy as a result of others’ judgment.
It’s upsetting how despite many people’s awareness of music’s influence on our lives, some still condescendingly ridicule others’ tastes.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. I know people who switch their car playlist to a more “Top-40-esque” one when they give rides to friends. I’ve also had friends ask me if I could hear the music coming from their earbuds, admitting people hearing their choice in music is their biggest insecurity.
Music judgment is getting worse due to increased freedom consumers have in choosing the music they want to listen to. Days of the radio dictating what we listen to and MTV playing its curated selection of music videos are slowly slipping away as streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music relentlessly take over.
With more liberty to choose what we listen to, we can’t give as good of an “excuse” as to why we’re listening to one genre over another more mainstream one.
For those of us who feel they can’t share their music preferences with the rest of the world, that’s OK. I wish I had a better solution to mocking certain music tastes, but for now I say carry on with listening to your favorite songs and be inspired by your favorite artists, even if they’re unconventional.
Keep living your “main character” life and walking to class with music blasting in your AirPods to provide that bit of comfort or burst of energy before a hard class — even if it’s a song you wouldn’t dare play out loud.
Everyone is different, so everyone’s taste in music should be different. Although those around you might not approve, there are entire fan communities out there who share the same appreciation as you.
Maybe one day the world will be more accepting of those with music tastes that aren’t exactly the norm, but for now, it’s OK to embrace your songs through headphones and take in the healing power of music.
Kara Acinapuro (she/her) is a junior studying media advertising with a minor in marketing. She is vice president of Women in Media and a member of Alpha Phi Omega.