Don’t limit your music choices

By Ashvini Malshe , Columnist

Some days I love Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do,” and some days I hate it. There is no in between. I have tried rationalizing this cycle of love and hate, but like always, my taste in music flummoxes me.

I don’t understand why I can be just as pumped up by She & Him’s “I Could’ve Been Your Girl” as I can by N.E.R.D.’s “Lemon.”

Maybe it’s because they are both great productions, but societal constructs dictate that I box myself into a stereotype and only pick one genre to consume.

This stereotype should ideally determine everything I’m interested in and every musical decision I make.

But I have come to the conclusion that these stereotypes ultimately don’t matter, and the consequent decisions I make are of little importance in determining my personality. Additionally, music is a product, and as a consumer, you have the power of choice, which is a big deal.

Corporations, including the popular musicians who they represent, infiltrate our lives. The little power we have in this capitalistic relationship is in how we choose to consume what they produce. Ultimately, we determine what is popular, and the corporations fall at our feet to give us what we want.

Yes, advertisers play a major hand in determining what products we choose to consume — my studies in mediated communication and technology have taught me that. But strive to save your dignity from the advertisers and use common sense to be picky and to demand only the best.

If corporations, advertisers and celebrities are going to make careers out of using consumers as pawns, we must be the most cunning pawns we can possibly be. Use decisiveness to make choices that actively make you more self-aware and engaged with the pop culture zeitgeist, particularly the music industry.

If something makes you happy, like listening to a song that is judged to be silly and shallow by classist guidelines, it’s important to ignore the naysayers and consume what you choose. Ignoring this can help you expose yourself to a diverse range of artistic voices — everyone from Dua Lipa to Janelle Monáe to the Sparks.

Ignore those who wish to put you in a box, ignore what the corporations tell you, ignore what the advertisers distract you with and make an effort to discover a plethora of incredible music that exists in the airwaves, past and present.

If that means you listen to Taylor Swift, listen to her. Drink up her music, but don’t limit yourself to just her; fight for more choices. Take advantage of free streaming services and go nuts.

You should know as I write this, I’m currently listening to “Look What You Made Me Do” on loop. My roommates are annoyed, but I sure can’t complain, at least for now.

Ashvini is a senior in LAS.

[email protected]