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OPINION: What does music mean to you?

Anthony Morris

What even is music? At some point in our timeline, we as humans decided that certain types of “ughhs” and “oohs” sounded somewhat pleasing to the ear, and then we chased this feeling to the ends of the Earth. How is it that tiny robots sing into my head and make my insides turn into putty? 

What does music mean to you? If I had any sort of impulse for outreach, I’d ask you directly. Is it words said? Is it sounds uttered? A bit of both? Is it a clashing against trash cans blasted into a microphone while a sad teenager complains through wimpy voice cracks? (I don’t mean to call out Car Seat Headrest fans). 

Do you need to be understood? Do you need a song to tell you something you already know, something you already feel? Or do you need it to tell you something you never knew and always needed?

Or maybe you’re nothing like me, in a manner of speaking. Maybe you find complete enjoyment in putting on a song and learning zero lessons from it. No catharsis, no final curtain, just a soundtrack for living. Perhaps you enjoy living enough that you don’t need a missing piece to fill in a self-created chasm. I need something like that oftentimes.

Do you obtain something no one else can? Like a memory or an association? “On this day in 2021, this song was playing during one of the most pivotal moments of my life.” Meanwhile, the song and its author know nothing of your life or the meaning you’ve attached to the work. That association is yours alone, and the lyrical content or intention of the song can’t claim that which is yours. We are all capable of this power, I think. It’s something I never find myself searching for, and in that sense I feel it’s a power that transcends even us. It happens regardless of the effort we put in.

Sometimes it’s nothing more than something to dance to. I don’t let myself enjoy the bliss of straight up grooving to a track and not trying to excise some grand meaning or finale to whatever emotion I’m dealing with. The joy of letting yourself be free and be enveloped in music is another power I’ve observed. It’s genuinely impressive to me. 

I guess my point is there is no point. Music can be anything to anybody. What I don’t want to do anymore is pull music into my realm of understanding and nowhere else. I want to know what music means to you, because I already know what it means to me. 

In prior articles, I’ve stated in a nauseating variety of ways how music impacts me. It’s something that saves me at times, and at others plunges me deeper into my worst habits. To me, it’s something of power. A power that can be used recklessly by any human on Earth.

But it’s also just really fun.

Anthony Morris is an opinion writer. Contact them at [email protected].

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