It’s 11 PM on a Sunday night, and I’m wrapped up in my bed, jamming away to “In The End” by Linkin Park as I prepare for my last few finals of my undergraduate career. I stop for a moment to revel in the harmony of Mike Shinoda’s unorthodox wordplay coupled seamlessly with Chester Bennington’s belting screams, as the fusion of rap-rock transports me back to a time when I was carefree, without the fears of the immediate future haunting me in my waking moments and tearing at my peace of mind every time I closed my eyes.
Music has the ability to serve as a conduit to our inner machinations and allows us to relive various experiences through the fervor of our emotions, channeled by our inherent nature as human beings to bask in the tide of our most basic aspirations. Having grown with musical influences as diverse as Nas, Breaking Benjamin and All Time Low to more recent artists such as Zayn Malik (Mind of Mine was an absolutely incredible album, a far cry from the generic pop sound of the original One Direction), I was able to utilize music as a means of understanding my own continuing shift of emotions throughout my teenage years into my early adulthood. The rough guitar riffs in songs such as “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana appeals to our natural urge to rebel against our own limitations and fight back against those who would oppress our right to be, while songs such as “Yeah!” by Usher compel us towards our more carnal desires. Ultimately, music is what drives our very spirit, such that we forget the past and what will be, and learn to live in the moment.
As I wrap up my final study session of the night, I smile as the chorus to “Sugar We’re Going Down” blasts throughout my room. Music truly is an incredible gift.