Be It the Ipod or the Music?

November 20, 2007
Quite often, my sister and I were playing a game we call Interview. We ask each other random, and often silly, questions using a brush or water bottle for a microphone. We also sometimes pretend we are from other countries and so we have accents. The other day while were playing this game, my sister, who is twelve, asked me this: "Do you think the iPod is taking over America?"
I thought about this for a short second, then replied with my British accent: "No, I think what comes through the headphones from the Ipod is taking over America."
My sister didn't like the answer because it wasn't very funny, but after the game was over, I got to thinking how true my reply was. Music truly is a defining characteristic of a culture, namely the American culture. I also got to thinking about how musis sometimes shapes the listener. I often hear adults saying that they listen to uplifting, sometimes Christian, music to alleviate stress. Friends of mine that would all-to-well fit under the 'gothic' label say they listen to hard core screaming music because it feels like the lyrics [in the songs] are describing their own lives. And still others listen to orchestral music just because they are in sheer awe of how a group of wooden instruments can possible make such an awesome sound.
No matter what kind of music you listen to or why, you are probably persuaded, and/or encouraged by what you choose to listen to. For example, after I started thinking about this, I purposely downloaded a bunch of songs that were what you would call dark and depressive. I listen to my Ipod quite a lot (try every day, probably every hour)for various reasons, but mainly because I myself am a musician that enjoys hearing how other fellows musicians weave instrumental music together with lyrical vocals. My music is usually upbeat, but not always positive. So this time I downloaded some songs with a slightly more negative edge. Unsurprised, I found that my attitude towards my family that day and my attitude towards my peers was a little more dramatic, a little more edgy. This proved why some adults i know listen to the uplifting genre to alleviate stress. It made sense.
So maybe Apple inc. isn't taking over the world with their razor thin iPods and other products, but your music may be. Think about it. would you guess that if a person listens to music with a lot of curse words in it that they would be more likely to use curse words themselves? Do you think a song involving lyrics about underage alcohol drinking would be very helpful to a young man trying not to give in to his peers who want him to drink with them?
Anyway, I think it is something to seriously ponder and consider. As the culture gets more pessimistic about life and more self-absorbed, the more the people around us, and ourselves, will suffer.
All this to say, you may not be what you eat, but you are what you listen to.

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ladybug31 said...
Jun. 23, 2009 at 7:07 pm
this was very well written, but i don't think that this is always the case. i personally will listen to a little bit of everything, from NPR with my dad in the car, to the hippy music (Bob Dylan and Bob Marley anyone?) that my mother blasts. but i prefer thrash metal. you might think that i would be just another drunk, stoned poser with the dyed jet black hair and clothes and the dark makeup, but i'm quite the opposite. i smile, have short (it would be a pixie if my hair weren't so curl... (more »)
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