Hot Topic spreads music appreciation

Pamela Crimbchin

Hot Topic’s slogan is “Everything about the music.” That includes the spikes, skulls, multi-colored hair and extremely tight pants that come with certain bands.

When I tell people that I worked at Hot Topic, they usually respond with, “You don’t look like a Hot Topic person.” Au contraire my compadres, I am indeed a Hot Topic person because I try my best to appreciate all music. From emo to rock, pop, rap, country and back, I try them all.

I applied at Hot Topic because I believe they have something for every music-loving person – from the brightly colored Cobra Starship fan to the lady with the leopard print belly shirt, green shorts and purple cowboy hat (true story).

From one summer of working, I now know that music can shape what mood you’re in, how you dress that day and even who you choose to speak to. It is the underlying statement of who you are and one of the first things people inquire about. How many of us have added a new friend on Facebook and looked to see what music he or she listens to in order to see if there is compatibility?

I am a 5-foot-5-inch tall, dirty blonde, blue-eyed, fake baker (I’m trying to quit – one month tanning bed-free, yay!) who dresses generally toward the preppy side of my closet, but I like to think my style is as eclectic as my music choices.

While working at Hot Topic, I quickly realized the people who spoke to me were mostly females generally around the same age, usually pretty tan and usually carrying an American Eagle bag. The people who I would have to basically force to talk to me were spiky, skull-covered, tripp pants-wearing (those really baggy pants with chains) people. Or as I like to call them, the people on the second half of the Rock Wall where all the T-shirts hang.

I never realized just how much music affects how a person chooses to interact with people who prefer a different genre. I never thought that I, a little high-pitched, non-threatening girl, could instill fear in others’ eyes – especially ones hidden behind really dark eyeliner.

Were they afraid I would judge and make fun of them? Or were they just more comfortable talking to someone who looked like them? While both of these statements are probably true, I think they were afraid to experience different music.

Listen to that other band. Learn to appreciate all the different vocals, harmonics, lyrics, chord progressions, drumming techniques, etc., that come with each genre.

If everyone stepped out of his or her comfort zone and talked to people who listen to different genres (even that smelly hippie kid in the back of class who sleeps all the time), then everyone would learn to appreciate the music for what it is. You don’t have to like it, but at least appreciate and be understanding of what it means to someone else. Think about what well-rounded people we would all be. We could all relate to each other on a different level, a music level.

Obviously, this is not going to give us world peace or even make everyone get along. But at least we could communicate with different people, broaden our music taste and I could have more spike-wearing friends.

Contact all correspondent Pamela Crimbchin at [email protected].