Take a chance on music outside your comfort zone

By Sandhya Sivakumar, Columnist

grew up listening to my parents’ music — all songs from old Indian cinemas illegally burned onto CDs that would always get stuck and skip right at the good part. I discovered the radio when I was 11 and YouTube shortly after. There began my inauguration into true American music, which, at the time, was Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me.”

I was astonished by the sheer range and possibility out there; I could never listen to all of the good songs. There were so many, and it was so easy to keep finding more — YouTube never stopped playing. I’m easily amused and easily captivated. It didn’t take a good song to get me hooked, just one interesting chord change, a surprising bass line or a melody that never went where it was expected.

My taste in music evolved faster than I could keep up with, and the influx of new music never stopped. I was constantly inundated with so much choice, and rather than making a decision, I decided to listen to and keep all of it.

Now, I have a weirdly eclectic music library, a monstrous amalgamation of top 50 songs and niche SoundCloud recommendations, my grandma’s favorite ’60s cinema tunes and my high school gym teacher’s favorite country tracks. There are meme songs and Kanye and this one 10-minute song sung entirely in Persian I heard waiting in line at Chipotle.

The ways in which music is made, distributed and consumed are evolving to new heights. Companies like YouTube and Spotify make it easy to explore new music without having to make the commitment of buying a CD or paying for each track. Platforms like SoundCloud and Bandcamp help give artists who aren’t mainstream or supported by a giant music label the chance to share their music with a potentially enormous audience.

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We have access to an incredible collection of media that couldn’t even have been dreamt of 30 years ago. I can pull up a song recorded in Paris in the 1920s as easily as I can listen to a song released yesterday.

Obviously, not every song will appeal to every person; your personal music taste depends on innumerable factors, and it’s impossible to put into words what makes a song good. But there are no limitations on what you can listen to anymore.

Staying to just one or two genres is simply doing yourself a disservice. Explore the vast variety of music out there.

Sandhya is a freshman in LAS.

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