The way I feel tonight
Maybe its because I’m listening to emotional music –
The harmonic bellows of two amateurs
Fresh off the ‘tube
With more talent than everyone else –
Except maybe Beyoncé –
I Love Sharing My Favorite Music
One of the greatest little things in life that – in my opinion – is very often overlooked is the aspect of sharing my love of music with others. Coming from someone who has a respectable appreciation for music, my musical journey has seen many ups and downs. Is it hard to believe that I actually did not listen to any music before 5th grade? I didn’t even know the classics, the pop artists that were then dominating the radio – Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, etc.
So when I look back and see how far I’ve come from that parochial little girl, taking note of my currently large collection of music, I’m very proud. The best moment, however, is when I share new music with my friends, and having them legitimately come to appreciate the song.
Knowing someone very well and becoming so familiar with their taste in music pays off when you can suggest a song that pertains to their style, yet suggesting one that they’ve never heard before. When someone genuinely enjoys a song, it means that you have hit the spot. It makes you feel as though you could be a professional music suggester, their new medium for finding new songs.
This seemingly insignificant little event encourages you to take larger steps. Who knows, you might start making mix tapes one day, or customized playlists.
Music, being one of the main ways that people connect, represents an important aspect of a friendship. Thus, when two people agree on an album or an artist, it creates a heart-warming sensation of mutual agreement that will further discussion.
Does anyone else feel very pretentious and hipster for knowing music before it becomes popular? I do, certainly. Momentarily, I’ll feel musically superior to someone else. It’s a feeling that also comes when I share music with my friends, because rarely does the music I enjoy ever end up on pop radio. The only emotion I’ll feel in that situation is agitation, because I know that I’ll eventually come to hate the song after the radio has ripped its originality to shreds, releasing its radio edits and fading out curse words.
A Period of Idealistic Innocence: Howl’s Moving Castle
I could listen to this music for the rest of my life and never tire of it.
As an Asian, many people would probably assume that I watch anime or read manga.
anime: a style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots often with fantastic or futuristic themes
manga: a Japanese comic book or graphic novel
In fact, I had never watched anime until about two years ago (I am almost seventeen right now) when one of my white friends suggested it to me. Manga? I’ve read one manga (Death Note) and I never even finished it. It was extremely interesting, however.
In regards to anime, I found Studio Ghibli films to be the most popular ones out there, so I started watching some of the originals:
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
My Neighbor Totoro
Castle in the Sky
Whisper of the Heart
Perhaps you have heard of some of these?
These films are comparable to Disney films, except that the method of magic incorporation is extremely different. They’re still, however, delightful.
It’s pretty strange to acknowledge that I technically did not watch these in my actual childhood. I watched them in my adolescence, over the course of a month or so. Needless to say, this month was very happy and light for me.
My favorite anime film is Howl’s Moving Castle. When I heard that Josh Hutcherson had voiced one character in the Disney remake, I decided to watch the “Americanized” version instead.
While the story line was magical, the portion that I am choosing to write about is the music.
In one scene, Sophie (the main character, a girl that has been cursed into being an old woman) and Howl (rebellious wizard) start flying over the ruckus of the town square. Sophie is terrified and overwhelmed by the whole sensation. During the whole scene, a beautiful theme that is playing swells and eventually reaches an apex.
It’s not necessarily my favorite scene.
But the theme? Oh yes, in fact, my favorite lyric-less piece ever. It has made its way onto the list of my “All Time Favorites”.
When I listen to it, I am transported to that time two years ago when I saw life through a very optimistic and childlike lens, each day filled with naive hope.
This is not to suggest that idealistic innocence is the best mentality to embrace a time like this (with college finally becoming relevant to my life), but it’s a wonderful distraction – nay, a fantastic pastime – that I long for.
Just listen to it.
Inspired by the Daily Prompt
Enjoy The Music But Nothing More
Enjoy the music. Submerge yourself in your own interpretation of the lyrics.
Bath in the rhythm.
Bask in the beat.
Do whatever you need to do to show your appreciation of beautiful music, but stop getting so excited about the artists themselves.
It’s somewhat difficult to say that I have a favorite artist. I call myself a single song buyer, because I seldom enjoy/listen to an album at a time; I’ll probably just enjoy a few songs from a large variety of artists.
When I listen to music, I listen to ONLY the music. I’ll admire the album cover for a couple of seconds and I’ll probably gawk over a pretty face but I’ll tend to focus on the music itself. I suppose that if I shifted focus, I’d probably associate a song with a certain artist instead of with a personal experience, which I prefer. I don’t know what the ultimate point of music is, but it’s not to fawn over people that we’ve never met.
I don’t care about the way the band formed. Don’t tell me about the four times they broke up. I’ll watch the music video but don’t expect me to have watched it beforehand. Why should I be concerned about the personal lives about singers, actors, and the like?
If we continue to obsess about ordinary people like this, we mentally categorize them as people who are just overall better than us, which would be a complete lie. Yes, maybe they do have better voices than us. They can probably write better lyrics than we can, but are they as fast of runners as us? Can they teach trig like my Calc teacher can? Can they knit as well as my grandma? These are just a few examples and simple ways to demonstrate that these so-called “stars” are not as special as we often designate them to be.
Inspiration is good. Having role models is an essential component of worthy success, but there comes a point when we’ve just got to stop glorifying them.
Go to a concert, if you must. It will probably help you get over your obsession, and your expectation of perfection that you have of them, as soon as you see them up on stage, sweating, singing out of tune, and out of breath.
They’ll give a quality show, no doubt, but they are in no way perfect. There’s really no reason to care about what goes on in their lives.
And this opinion of mine also spills over into the realm of celebrities in general.
Why do we alienate celebrities? Do we just assume that since they’re famous and beautiful, that they’re better than us? LIES.
Also – why do we care about their lives? I’m guilty and hypocritical because I’m often obsessed with celebrities but I still think my approach is counterproductive. I become obsessed with a certain celebrity and I’ll either want to be them or marry them. I’ll envy their life over mine when really there’s not much to envy. Why do we have reality TV shows? Is it really just for shallow entertainment, or do some people actually wish they led such lives?
There’s corruption in that system. There’s airbrushing and photoshopping. Everyday, people get paid off to promote something that they would never even consider if there weren’t some economic incentive for them.
Yet, there are actually beautiful people, people born with features so delicate and picture-perfect that you can’t help but advertise their face. There are some people out there with extraordinary talents of singing, dancing, acting, etc. We should appreciate these talents, but limit just how much we appreciate them. Don’t forget to love yourself and your quirks, abilities, and special skills once in a while. Just because you’ve never been on an ad or TV doesn’t mean you’re less worthy than them.
Except maybe Neil Patrick Harris.
Sometimes I listen to music – raging and energetic
The lyrics sound like they’re sprinting in whatever path they see
Sometimes when I write
I think about myself – commonly perceived as 100% committed and ready to go
I think about the kids in high school – moving so fast yet they don’t know where they’re going
And I wonder:
Do people actually stop and think
And maybe turn around and chase the polar opposite
Or is that just an urban myth?
Somedays I listen to music – nostalgic and lonely
The lyrics – they sound like they were written just for me
So sometimes when I write
I think about myself – so often left alone in a sea of my own thoughts
I think about the kids in high school – our perspectives so easily distorted, and by no means permanent
And I wonder:
Do people actually exist that actually know what they want
And what the future holds
Or is that just an urban myth?
On special days I’ll listen to music – rebellious and insightful
The lyrics are a call to action, illuminating the daily injustices
But sometimes when I write
I think about myself – a young person with the innocence and motivation to spark change
And I think about high schoolers – writing songs, directing plays
And I wonder:
Do we actually understand what we rant about
And do people ever actually form masses
And does social change ever really happen
Or is that just an urban myth?
Lacking the letter Z – Daily Prompt
How to Take a Successful Bubble Bath (Playlist Included!)
Everyone hates on materialists, but a bubble bath is one aspect of a materialist’s obsessions that I promise will only benefit you. Not that everyone should take bubble baths every day, but taking a bubble bath just once will change your life…though indirectly, probably. Continue reading
Welcome to the Squad Room.
When I was in junior high, I heard from my cousin (who had many debater friends) about the high school debaters that all went to the “squad room” during their free time to do work and chill and hang out and make friends. Wow, was that a misnomer. All my junior high life I had imagined the “squad room” to be a room with padded walls and cushioned floors, sort of like a wrestling room. I expected there to be tubs of evidence in neatly organized files being highlighted with actual highlighters. But I was young, and times have changed since then. I was wrong.
The squad room at our school is located near the edge of campus, in a basement of a building infamous for its strange odor. But I found that after visiting the squad room a couple of times, I was able to overcome the stench of who-knows-what. There are a couple of couches, tables and chairs to sit on, enticing you to sit and talk to your friends. Awards from previous tournaments hang on the wall, as if to remind us that we are currently occupying the space of past debaters that have long moved onto college, champions of big tournaments that set examples for younger members of the squad. Glancing at the walls will send you a subtler signal that there’s always a reason to continue working hard.
A whiteboard with a single purple Expo marker hangs on the wall, filled with all sorts of messages, whether from the debaters ourselves, or from the friendly, spirited teacher who goes around to every classroom, writing positive quotes in a quote bubble in the corner of every whiteboard.
Furthermore, it’s more or less a no-judging zone, or a safe haven, of sorts. Sure, we’re not all best friends that hold prayer sessions for each other and we don’t all share common interests and beliefs, but that just makes us more diverse and interesting altogether. We can talk about the activity that we all love without the judging eyes of our peers (that assume that debate is merely conversing about Congress) boring into the back of our heads. We’ve all been exposed to radical, philosophical literature, so we’re less likely to arbitrarily assume. It’s like in the Perks of Being a Wallflower, when Charlie and friends go to Bob’s place to be who they actually are, to express their true nature. Perhaps I’m overstating the effect of such a setting to have on a group of people, but I still like to think optimistically about our “dwelling.”
It’s not perfect. As previously mentioned, it sometimes smells weird. Lots of people don’t clean up after themselves; there’s often sticky juice on the floor and crumbs on the tables, and loose-leaf paper and textbooks everywhere, but I don’t really mind it that much. Of course, people don’t always get along and drama happens, but in general, we’re a well-functioning unit. Congregations in the squad room represent “the mixing of all grades for the pursuit of a common goal,” as a friend has so eloquently described. Wonderful relationships are formed between seniors and freshmen, between juniors and sophomores, as help and advice on topics not entirely limited to debate is exchanged.
Practice debates take place; this is the setting where people can improve their debating skills the most. Here, there is interaction between people of all levels. Information is transferred between the students themselves, which I find to be one of the best communicative aspects of the activity.
Sometimes, I will walk down the hall where the squad room is located and hear the music from three classrooms away. We were fortunate enough that someone had left a pair of good quality speakers in our humble sanctuary. Frequently, Kanye’s “Mercy” blares out of the room and annoys the class next door, but most times, we’re undisturbed, surrounded by the booms of the deep, resonating bass.
But this post is not just about our squad room. It’s not solely about the squad rooms in other debate schools either. We all have a squad room of our own. For whatever extracurricular or hobby that we enjoy, there’s a place where people with similar interests can gather and express their appreciation for said extracurricular or hobby. In my experience, I find the squad room at our school to be an overall wonderful place to make friends and learn random things. I can listen to strange, unfamiliar music or just do homework in a free period. I can watch Youtube videos and read blog posts, and I can ask questions and check up on people that I would normally not see during the day.
Do you have an abode, or a sanctuary where you can hang out with people with shared interests? Let me know! :)
Thanks to a friend for the writing prompt!
What’s in a Song?
There are infinite reasons for appreciating a song. In my experience, I’ve liked songs simply because of who it reminds me of, who suggested it to me, where I heard it, or who I heard singing it. I might enjoy just the heavy beat, the interesting music video, or the contagious and infectious catchiness.
Music represents an endless amount of ideas, and there exists a song for every mod. It can immediately add emotion and drama to any situation; it has the tendency to sooth or anger, relax or excite.
Everyone has a unique music taste of their own. You wouldn’t be able to distinguish my particular music taste just from listening to one song on my playlist, simply because I don’t think I can be defined accurately and completely with just a single song.
Music reminds me of my childhood, because there are honestly some songs out there that Ilike, but don’t know why. There are other songs that have never truly left my “favorites queue,” that I have yet to tire of.
You can dance to music; you can jump around and sing to it.
Music is used to promote, and to advertise. We use it to get revenge on others through lyrics, to express emotion, and to connect with other people of similar appreciative tastes and opinions.
What’s in an orchestra? A band, a chorus? A violin, an electric guitar, or a triangle? We wouldn’t have some of our greatest role models if instruments and music groups hadn’t been conceptualized and created over people’s mutual love of music.
Some people are just natural born performers, while others should be confined to their shower.
It’s as if you’ve taken your favorite lines of poetry, set them to a beat, and added a tune, et voila, you have a song.
It blows my mind to imagine music as an inspiration for a revolution. Of course, no one has ever stood on a podium and yelled to a crowd, “FOR THE LOVE OF DUBSTEP!” and started a massive mindset shift towards electronic dance music. What I mean by this is that some pieces have been for influential and moving that people become motivated to fight for what they believe in, and what they want. Astounding to me is the influence that people like Justin Bieber and Harry Styles can hold, because…yeah.
On the other hand, look to the Haiti earthquake in 2010. The remake of “We are the world” raised awareness of the destruction, and motivation to make donations and do service work.
In 2011, a devastating tsunami struck Japan, and a charity compilation album, “Songs for Japan,” raised over five million dollars.
Live performances are a great way for people to congregate and bond over mutual interests, because the performer knows the music backwards and forwards, sweating and crying whilst giving their best performance. It’s as if you are looking the artist/composer/singer/performer full in the face; they can’t hide behind the studio window, buried under hours of remixing and auto-tuning.
One of many of my favorite music genres is dubstep*. It’s music centered around the bass, which draws on many musical influences such as techno and reggae. Quality dubstep is just phenomenal, because no one looks cooler than someone with a big pair of headphones, dramatically bobbing their head up and down as they listen to the epic bass drum of dubstep. Whilst listening to said “dubstep,” you can’t just turn the volume down to “barely audible” and expect to receive the whole experience of what my love of dubstep is founded upon.
I used to think that I would be able to sleep to dubstep, and I did for a while. My daydreams mutated into bizarre hallucinations during the day hours, and my night dreams transformed into extraordinary illusions. The experience was…surreal.
I dramatically nod my head up and down with an obnoxiously big set of headphones, with dubstep banging in my eardrums like a raging animal. The entire experience is complete.
Ear buds are just ho-hum; if you want the full dubstep experience, you need to chuck those little ear buds out and go get yourself a quality pair of headphones.
*Warning: this recently emerged music genre is NOT for the light of heart.