Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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MUSIC AS MEDICINE

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THE SONGS OF RECOVERY

I was sitting on a bench watching as grass and flowers flowed freely through the wind. My ears were covered by James Bay’s “Let It Go,”  the perfect breakup song in late 2018:  “So come on, let it go /  just let it be / why don’t you be you / and I’ll be me.” I was remembering my ex-partner and our memories as the world went by, unnoticed. The perfect song, I thought, to end the three-year chapter with my first love. It was that song and many others that allowed me to get through my first heartbreak and truly feel understood. It was those songs and many others in my summer playlist that allowed me to adventure out and step out of my comfort zone. The music helped me face some fears like boarding my first plane in 2019.

Now that we have reached 2020, I have to ask: what are your top songs for the year so far?

How can someone not like music with all of the genres out there? I remember watching MTV and hearing my first alternative-rock song by My Chemical Romance, “Famous Last Words.” The lyrics echoed in my ears and I fell in love with the band immediately! At the time I didn’t have a phone so I was stuck watching the TV and waiting patiently for the song to repeat again. I grew up listening to many alt-rock bands and I still do. The genre became my main playlist, filled with songs from My Chemical Romance, Killswitch Engage, Breaking Benjamin, and more. The music spoke to me; the high volume of guitars and drums excited me. The meanings behind the lyrics motivated me to run at high speeds in the mornings for fun, or walk confidently to school when I didn’t want to go. Music became my guidance.

I cannot count the number of shocked remarks I’ve gotten when I tell people I prefer to listen to metal or alternative rock more than any other genres. It’s as if people uncovered a whole new personality. I like to think of it as an icebreaker, a quick introduction to a side of me that is unnoticeable to the naked eye. The type of music we gravitate towards can tell a lot about us as individuals.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve expanded my music tastes. Of course, rock music continues to dominate my playlist, but I’ve been listening to other genres like reggae, and I’ve admitted to jamming to my Spanish roots of salsa. I was not able to escape Marc Anthony’s songs on repeat on my mother’s radio every morning. I eventually found myself leaning towards a Spanish playlist on my Pandora. I’ve even picked up music by watching movies, shows, and blogs! I’ll be sitting in bed watching a show and I’ll hear some music in the background and I’ll think “Wow what a nice song, let me find it and listen to the entire thing.” It’s a habit I believe we can all relate to.

Music is everywhere when we shop, eat at restaurants, and even when we are put on hold in a phone call. I have been listening to music for as long as I can remember; it’s been there, guiding, and influencing me. This year so far I’ve taken the time to listen to the songs of my past — listening to the songs that were constantly on repeat, bringing back memories. These tones have gotten me through some tough events. We have all been there. My 2020 playlist is a reflection of my life thus far. I call it, “Songs of Saviour.” From breakups to adventures to deaths, music has always been my saviour. The words of each song have become a part of me. As music enlightens me I know that it also enlightens many others out there.

When I hear of someone listening to a song that I love I feel a small connection. I wonder how and why certain individuals like a particular song. Hearing about how it resonates with them,

allows me to get insight on who they are. We, as individuals, are constantly growing and music remains to be a key factor that helps us through whatever emotions we feel.With the help of music I’ve grown to become the person I am today. I can’t see my life without it.

Can you?