There’s been some extra music in my life this week. I have had some online discussions about music I love, and in one of those discussions I defended bands I love who were being criticized by someone who hates them. And I attended a 4th of July concert in the part that made me feel somewhat relieved about the preservation of the music I grew up with.
What I learned from my defense of bands I admire but who are often attacked by people for what I think are silly reasons, and from listening to a high school rock orchestra play a mix of popular music from the past 60 years, is that it really only matters that someone likes music, not what kind of music they like. Yeah, I can be a music snob at times, but that’s usually reserved for people who only listen to whatever is popular at the moment. But sometimes I catch myself thinking people are lame because of the artists they like. I mean, Justin Bieber? Katy Perry? Demi Lovato? I could list a million others who I feel are marginally talented. But they have lots of fans out there who adore them, and their music means something to those kids for whatever reason. I grew up in the 70s and 80s, so the same thing could be said about Rick Springfield, Duran Duran, and Teena Marie. That stuff changed my life!
I never paid attention to what music critics said about anyone. I listen to what I like. I approach music with an open mind. And I do listen to the music of the artists who inspired the musicians I love. I think that’s an important thing to do. Maybe it’s just because I’m a nerd, but I really do want to know who they listened to as a kid. I like knowing that about people who aren’t musicians, too. Music really does affect us all.
When I went to the park on 4th of July to hear The Lakewood Project, I thought they were going to be a regular rock band made up of kids from the local high school. They’re actually a sort of orchestra-rock band fusion, and it really did work brilliantly. I recognized almost every song right away, and they added such a wonderful spin on some classic songs that I was really impressed with their passion for music. I am not a big Rush fan, but they did such an amazing rendition of “Tom Sawyer,” I mean, it just made sense to hear an orchestra on that song!
(Here they are performing Rose Royce’s “Car Wash”!)
The Lakewood Project also did some newer songs, like Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Britney Spears’ “Toxic” (which also sounded great with violins!), and I’ll be damned if I didn’t enjoy them, if only because I could tell the kids on that stage were having so much fun. “Call Me Maybe” was the first such throwaway song I remember them playing, and though the original version makes me cringe I really liked that they performed it as they did. Strangely enough, it gave me hope that these kids actually do like music, not just as fans but as performers. Not all of these kids necessarily want to be professional musicians, but they all want to be part of this group right now, and that’s what matters. The time they spend together creating music will affect them for the rest of their lives, no matter what they do.
(This is their rendition of “Let It Be”)
Nobody should ever tell you what music you should or shouldn’t like, whether it’s because of you age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, or just because they think your music sucks. Listen to whatever makes you feel something. Your music belongs to you, and nobody can take it away.