Challenge Yourself with Music


Music brings a certain level of comfort that we have an impulse not to step outside of. I am guilty of this considering I didn’t listen to anything except hip hop until junior year of high school. There is something so satisfying about listening to music and having it “click” for you after a few listens. By “click” I mean make sense even if it didn’t at first. This is not the easiest sensation to describe, but it only comes with the gratification of finding a great new album or song. I think everyone should seek out this feeling and the only way to find it is by stepping out of your comfort zone in music.

My best example of this feeling is from Death Grips’ mixtape: “Exmilitary.” When I heard this album, it sounded like nothing I had ever heard before and I had no interest in it. It was hip hop, but done in such an extreme and aggressive style that it was almost unrecognizable. The harsh noise and influence from industrial music combined with yelling made it hard to listen to. While this album did not appeal to me, I was still drawn to it based on the acclaim that it received from people I respect. I just wanted to understand the appeal.

Fast-forward a few months and I end up loving the album. If I had not been open to this music, I would have never discovered one of my favorite groups. I found something so satisfying about coming back to an album and overcoming prior judgements. Not only that, but it opened me up to so much more music that I am more passionate about.

Today, I look for music that helps me get outside my comfort zone and listen to things multiple times before forming a full opinion. This is the best advice I can give to someone looking for new music: don’t be afraid to try something different. It sounds cliché, but honestly you will be a lot happier in the long run. If you don’t like jazz, try out different artists and pick out parts that you do like. If you don’t like hip hop, do the same or talk to some people who do like hip hop. Music is knowledge and trying new things will open up that world even more.


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