There’s No Wrong Way to Enjoy Music


Getty Images/iStockphoto

Portrait of a beautiful girl listening music

Elizabeth Bordt, Editor

Music is one of the most widespread forms of art in our society. With a variety of different genres, artists, audiences, and techniques, music’s constant evolution guarantees its longevity. Popular music evolves with the times, and pop itself has changed quite drastically in the past decade alone, what with the creation of streaming services that have made music a much more insular and isolated experience. 

Music can mean different things for different people. It can be used as a way to perk up energy; get people dancing at that party. It can be a great conversation starter: discussing different genres and artists is a great way to learn a lot about someone in a short amount of time.  

Although sometimes, music can just be a way to lie down and just let your emotions out. Sometimes you just need a good song playing in the background to let someone express what they are feeling. 

Different kinds of music convey different emotions. Songs with fast tempos evoke excitement, while slower songs can create sadness or melancholy within the listener. Some music takes cheery instrumentals and pairs them with dark lyrics. A good example of this is a song called “Charlie’s Inferno,” by That Handsome Devil, which tells the story of a man sentenced to hell despite going to church every Sunday. The lyrics are dark, but the instrumental is rather bright and cheerful, including a rather catchy hook. The disparity between the music and lyrics creates a kind of confused dread in the listener that allows the inner sadness of the song to resonate. 

Most people like music, but we tend to consume completely different genres from even close friends. According to Nielsen Music’s 2017 report, the most popular music genre of that year was Hip Hop/R&B, with the most common age range of listeners being 16-24. Musicians like Drake and Kendrick Lamar were some of the most listened to artists of that year. 

But that is far from the only genre people listen to. That same report showed that despite the former genres topping stream charts, in terms of physical album purchases, rock is still one of the most popular genres of music. 

Popularity, however, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Plenty of people enjoy less popular genres, and there’s so many to choose from. The best thing about music is that anyone can interpret it and find enjoyment in it anyway they want to. The diversity of opinions about music is what makes it such a widespread form of media. It can mean whatever you want it to–and that’s amazing. So listen to whatever artist, whatever genre, through any medium you want. Let it mean however much or little you want it to–there’s hundreds of songs out there, from hundreds of artists, spanning hundreds of decades, waiting for you to listen.