The socially acceptable addiction

Molly Cahill

A love of music is something that, in this age where people are behaving increasingly like free agents, still ties us together. No one seems to be able to agree on the origin of music, just like the beginning of many other cultural practices where the roots are lost to a time before we felt a need to keep track of such things. Our reaction to music at times almost feels intrinsic to our identity as human beings.

These days we are almost never without it, especially since the advent of portable devices. It used to be that music was a community event, one that occurred in a central location and involved everyone. Then people marched to war by the beating of drums and carried it with them as they crossed oceans and explored new lands. I heard bagpipes were once meant to convince the enemy that demons from hell were descending upon them. Music is as much a part of the world’s cultures as language and food.

Everyone has a favorite genre, and with the number available that can be just about anything. It’s probably also one of the only socially acceptable addictions out there. If people drank as often as they listened to music there wouldn’t be enough pig livers in the world to replace the ones we‘d pickle with beer and vodka. Let’s hope the highway patrol never starts giving out tickets for listening while driving.

This last week, instead of flying home I elected to stay and endure break housing– an experience I will avoid expounding on so as not to give you night terrors. My sole reason for staying local was to attend a concert in Cleveland of a band I’ve loved since high school. I don’t go to many concerts, mostly because I’m not willing to shell out 30 bucks to listen to something that I can play from a collection of MP3s.

I have been a fanatical HIM fan for so long, though, that it would have seemed sacrilegious not to go when they were playing at a venue so close to where I would actually be. International groups don’t usually tour as often in the U.S., which makes attending difficult. I did not expect to find so many other avid fans as myself and was surprised to be part of such a packed audience. To the devout fan, attending a concert can be an experience on par with a pilgrimage to the holy land. The energy created by so many people focused on and thinking about the same thing transcends stereotypes and prejudices that would normally turn them away from each other.

I found it wasn’t just the music blasting through the speakers that I enjoyed, it was the experience of being surrounded by people who shared the same purpose that I did. We were connected by a shared love and passion for what we were listening to. I realized while standing there, feet aching and sandwiched between people who I had never met and likely never would again, that this is what music is about. Music has the ability to draw in and connect complete strangers who might otherwise have nothing in common, which is what makes it such a strong unifying force.

We live so independent of each other these days that there are few things that really bring us together anymore. The love of music, whether we listen to it together or on our own, is one of the things that still retains that power.

Molly Cahill is a senior pre-journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].