Friday, 16 September 2011

It's me against the music

I've been meaning to blog this for several months now, but the words just won't seem to string together coherently enough. They may not even do it this time. But here's for trying.

They say music can alter moods and talk to you
Well can it load a gun up for you , and cock it too?
Well if it can, then the next time you assault a dude
Just tell the judge it was my fault and i'll get sued
Eminem- Sing for the moment

Growing up, music and singing was always existenent in my life. From nursery rhymes, to Destiny's Child, to naats, and channel U, I'd always been exposed to a variety of songs. Our household carried on the tradition, that oddly enough, my Mother used to do with her Pakistani migrant parents- of watching top of the pops every week. We also used to listen to the radio every Sunday evening, without fail, to hear the top 40 songs and find out who was number one. In the mornings, I'd get changed to the radio as I found it made me more energised for the day ahead. I remember printing out lyrics to my favourite songs, sticking them on my wall and memorising them. I remember singing into a hairbrush with my two sisters to Atomic Kitten as if we were a girl-group; not knowing what "turn me on" meant, yet not caring. We used to buy cassette tapes before CDs came along; and then we'd buy CDs. Then along came the digital revolution, and I can still recall the excitement when I opened the box and lifted up the iPod shuffle. I was limited to one download a week- as the iTunes account was linked to my Dad's direct debit. Then along came limewire and other sources that enabled you to download music for free, which of course pleased my Dad.

The iPod went with me everywhere; I was always plugged in. Whenever I was cooking, eating, reading, doing homework; music was always there. I remember putting the radio on whenever I was washing up or doing chores; it made them a little more bearable. I became very reliant on and addicted to music. It was as if I couldn't function without it. Music has always had such a profound emotional connection with me; something that I cannot comprehend or explain fully. When I was feeling down a sad song would be on repeat, as the musician describes their sadness in a way that the listener can relate to. In the same way, a happy song could expel any negative vibes in no more than three minutes, and lift moods in a way nothing or nobody else could. The rhyming lyrics, the magical melodies and the pounding beats reflected the rhythm of life. My life.

Needless to say, like all teenagers I guess, the main genre I listened to was rap/hip-hop; but music being such a big part of my life from a very young age, I had an eclectic and varied taste in music, for which I was often complimented. Growing up, I was a very angry, confused and moody teenager; this may be "normal", but it's something I can now attribute to having a dormant undiagnosed disease; hypothyroidism. Yet no matter who let me down in life, however I was feeling; music was always there for me, almost as a shoulder to cry on.

Over the years, however, music evolved. It was integrated with foul language, innunedo's and was becoming more and more sexual. By the time I was 14, almost every song was about relationships, sex or break-ups. The industry was becoming tired and saturated. We couldn't watch TOTP as a family anymore, not without constant flicking the channel over. We now had to turn the radio off or switch the station if something "rude" played; as we now understood the different themes within music. But we were shunned from the sexualisation of music; since it was mainly in music videos in which sex manifested itself. When we moved house, we didn't bother getting any sattelite channels and therefore weren't exposed to any music videos. But of course- along came YouTube. And along came MySpace- in which I discovered alternative songs to the mainstream rubbish blaring from the speakers.

This obsession and reliance on music countinued up until I was eighteen. In short, the change came about because I discovered the "truth" about the music industry; how music is used to communicated subliminal ideologies and messages, and how we should unplug ourselves and listen to the beat of nature rather than the sythesised stuff we are all too familiar with. I also realised that music isn't exactly permissible in Islam. Since then, I tried to give up music completely- and managed to, for about 3-4 months, but of course, being the "addict" I was, I had withdrawal symptoms and often relapsed.

I now don't make a conscious effort to stop listening to music altogether, but a lot has changed with regards to my relationship with music. I don't care about who's number one anymore, I dislike mainstream "pop" music, I can do household chores without having the radio on, and I can go out without my headphones glued to my ears. I do, however, make an effort to listen to songs with real messages; Lowkey, the Narcicyst, Immortal Technique etc, but sometimes my ears prefer a mindless synthesised beat, which is fine. I always make a conscious effort not to listen to music during Ramadan at all- which has gradually become easier. I'm really happy that my little brother won't be brought up in a house where music is so important, especially since modern music contains themes unsuitable for young ears.

I now only listen to music mainly in the gym, and occasional Youtubing here and there- I am proud of myself and also glad it doesn't have such an impact on my life now as it used to.

Further links
- Seven ways music influences mood
-How music affects people's moods

No comments: