What to Keep While Keeping On: Musical mementos


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I am not afraid to confess that I still have the Taylor Swift Fearless CD I received for Christmas in third grade. I am also not afraid to say that I still consistently listen to Taylor Swift. Look, I know she is not everyone’s favorite artist. I am sure that, on a campus with a highly-regarded conservatory, that may be an understatement. 

And, no, I am not using this article just to project my thoughts about Taylor Swift, though I am really tempted to just fangirl over her. I think that now, more than ever, we are all finding a connection to music. While I am sure many students had an intense relationship with music before entering a global pandemic, I think we all have found music to be a sense of comfort during these difficult times. 

I am in no way trying to say that one type of music is better than the other. That decision is entirely up to you as an individual listener. What I would like to point out, though, is that not only does everyone have a different taste in music but everyone’s comfort songs vary tremendously.  

While Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well” may be my choice of song to blast in the car when I’m feeling sad, I do not expect it to be even close to everyone’s favorite sad song. I know my music taste may be seen as inferior by some of my peers, but that is totally okay. I respect everyone’s choice of music, and all I wish is for you to do the same. 

With the Conservatory being such a large part of Lawrence’s personality, I believe there is tension on campus when it comes to music preference. Sometimes, I’m afraid to tell people what I like to listen to, expecting I may get scoffed at. But, I know this is just in my head. If I have learned anything from attending a college with a large number of musicians and artists, it’s that these students are open to exploring. 

With this in mind, I want to reach out to anyone who may be a little embarrassed by their taste in music. I think comparing music preference is only natural, as we tend to compare our tastes in many things — music just being one of the categories.  

Music, however, is crucial during this time. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t rely on music to help them process their emotions. And with so many emotions being experienced at once for many of us, I think it’s safe to say the last thing you should be beating yourself up for is the type of music you find pleasurable. Whether Bach or Rex Orange County is your go-to comfort artist, do yourself a favor and press the play button.  

Even more important, though, is to keep in mind that everyone loves music for a different reason. We aren’t all going to wear the same pair of tennis shoes, so why would you ever expect someone to have even a remotely similar playlist as you? Not only should you be kind to your music world, but others as well. 

So, do not hesitate to put on that go-to playlist, no matter how cringy you think the songs may seem to other people. Shuffle through those stacks of CDs you can’t seem to get rid of. I know we all hold onto the home-burned CDs we made as kids and titled with Sharpie markers. Take a look at those and reminisce on the music that got you through your childhood. 

However, don’t feel the need to share your music with others if you don’t want to. Music is sacred, so if you’d rather keep your Spotify hidden from the world, that is more than okay. Some things, especially during a global pandemic, do not need to be shared with everyone. Just know that when you do share your taste in music with others on campus, we’ll only support what you choose to listen to.  

Besides making fun of someone still listening to the Jonas Brothers is a very middle school joke to play on a person. Here at Lawrence, I think we should continue to embrace the love for all music. Knowing how important music is to us Lawrentians, now is the time not to act like you have superior taste or style compared to someone else. Now is the time to let people do what they need to do to feel better. And if that means crying to Evermore on repeat, then go right ahead. 

I hope you continue to listen to your music, whether on Spotify, a CD or even a Walkman. Take care of yourself by letting music feed your soul. Remember to let other people take care of themselves the way that is best for them. Let go of judgment when it comes to music and everything else for that matter. 

Also, since I couldn’t help myself, I thought I would leave you with some inspiring words from the goddess Taylor Swift herself.  

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

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