Music, on the whole, is an all-powerful being. It can create different emotions or calm current feelings and will also send people sailing down memory lanes of good times and bad. To a lot of people, it is a close, personal thing and can shape who they are and open them to a new outlook, be it political or otherwise.
To ask someone what music means to them seems to conjure various answers but they all round-up to the same, “The most important thing I need to get through a day,other than friends and family” and “It fills my world.” Lenore, Journalist and model says, “I don’t think I could live without it and I don’t understand people who aren’t into music of one kind or another!”
These statements clearly enhance the fact that music is such a powerful tool. It is more than just a hobby or interest. It is a need, no matter what genre. It also creates divides and my own personal experience has seen huge divides between fans of music such as heavy metal and hardcore music. The crowd will literally split to either sides of the room, reminiscent of high school discos with boys on one side, girls on the other.
You only have to look at the backlash Marilyn Manson received from tragic stories like the 1999 shootings in Columbine, USA to appreciate how much people view it as an influence in society. Politicians and senators chose to blame Manson’s music. This was due to the fact the two murderers responsible were “fans” of his music. He shot back at the accusations during an interview with Michael Moore for documentary, Bowling For Columbine by stating it was an easy option to blame him because he represents everything the media are frightened of. This being due to him saying and doing what he wants.
It is incredible to think how compelling music can be. Certain individuals or groups believe that music has the control to send a message of violence to its fans. The late Bill Hicks said it best when he commented on the trial of Judas Priest, who were sued by the families of two boys who listened to their music and killed themselves, “I maybe naive but what performer wants his audience dead?” Not alone in this statement, Gavin Cope, owner and manager of Mode BMX says, “[Music is] more important than religion and politics, but also at the same time can incite even bigger arguments and opinions than both of those subjects combined!”
If a person chooses to do any harm to themselves or others then maybe we should be looking at the individual rather than the media surrounding them. I mean, wasn’t the lead villain from A Clockwork Orange a fan of classical music?
I don’t want to get too bogged down with the history and politics of using music as a scapegoat for violence but it does back up my point. My personal view, if you are interested, is that music doesn’t force anyone to kill themselves or anyone else for that matter. Whatever genre of music you enjoy, it is a form of release.
As an avid metal fan of many years, I know that the aggression is a way of letting go and can provide an angst ridden teenager with the chance to feel they can relate to something. The vocalist of death metal outfit, Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky said it best when he said, “Without metal and music, I wouldn’t be here today.” A rather extreme way to express my view but it does the job.
I recently suffered that unexplainable fear when my ITunes crashed on my computer whilst downloading something (quite legally) and, after a reset, I noticed all my music had vanished from sight. This has happened once before and if you have never had the pleasure, then believe me, it is a traumatizing experience. “Error, unable to sync ITunes library. New library will be created,” or something to that effect. I am still unable to recall all the details from the tragedy as my brain has attempted to erase it.
As the realisation sinks in, I start to think about all the music that is no longer in my possession. As a journalist, I have a hefty amount of tunes that has been sent to me in digital format from record labels, unsigned acts and friends. Some of which I would struggle to get hold of again. I hear you all cry, “Why haven’t you backed up all your music you silly sausage?” Well, I am not silly, nor a sausage. It was indeed backed up but for some reason other than it being a law from sod, I couldn’t get the hard drive to restore everything. In a fit of disbelief and rage, I turned the damn thing off and went out to cool down, fighting back the tears that are due to fall like an Amazon downpour.
Luckily, and strangely, once I return, my computer has spent enough time thinking about its bad behavior and life returns to its normal state. This could be a lesson to all of us that digital is not perfect and has a few flaws, but it is also an interesting insight into how devastating it can be to lose your entire music collection. Something, you may not have realised means more to you than at first thought. As a final point, I don’t recommend trying it as a test for your love of music. Just think about it instead.