The Music That Made Me

Growing up, all of our relationships tend to shift over time: our favorite foods change from chicken nuggets to the overtly more mature pizza, we lose friends while gaining others, and we start to shift our focus from the future to the past. Lumped in with these shifting thoughts is our taste in music: from a young age, I have always had a strong relationship with music. I cannot remember a time where I was not singing along to the radio in the car or recording a voice memo on my iPod touch of a song I liked so I would not have to spend the $1.29 on iTunes. But with all things, my love of music has shifted over time. Having just turned twenty, I feel like now is a good time to look back on the music that made me.

Age 5: “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter

I have two very distinct memories from my Pre-K era: obsessing over yellow Volkswagen Beetles and scream-singing Daniel Powter’s iconic track, “Bad Day.” Something about the slow building piano melody with the “potent” lyricism about having a “bad day,” really resonated with me as a post-toddler child. While my affinity for yellow Beetles has been lost in the past fifteen years, I have yet to lose my interest for the first song I ever loved.

Age 10: “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha

There are a few songs that are guaranteed to get everyone screaming and dancing at a party, and Ke$ha’s breakout hit is one of them. This song was everywhere when it came out: the radio, TV shows, movies. It truly felt inescapable. There are far worse songs to put society in a chokehold, however. I always loved the pulsating beat backed by the fun and random lyrics. I distinctly remember spending hours upon hours of my blood, sweat, and tears into learning this dance on Just Dance 2 and going for the high score. I guess that paid off, because I can whip out the choreography any time the song plays.

Age 15: Melodrama by Lorde

I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing the first time I ever heard “Green Light” by Lorde. The track instantly became my favorite song of all time. At a time when I was entering high school, I felt a strong connection to the adolescent fears Lorde reveals on her sophomore album, and this was truly the first time I really noticed how writing beautiful lyrics can have such an amazing impact on music. I could go on and on about how special this album is and all of the memories, good and bad, I have with it, but I feel that the biggest compliment I can give to the album is that it truly sparked my interest in music, which I now consider one of the biggest parts of my life.

Age 20: Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers

Having just turned twenty, I often feel it difficult to look back at my time on this Earth. There have been ups and downs at every stage, and I often need ways to cope with the fact that time continues to pass me by, whether I like it or not. Phoebe Bridgers’ second album Punisher is one of the things I have consistently been turning to to help me deal with these thoughts. Marked by an avant-folk sound, Bridgers uses her words wisely to describe the fear in relationships and the pain of growing older. In a time when I am experiencing these things, there is nothing more comforting than knowing that others feel the same way.

About Brennen Thomas

Brennen is a freshman Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering student from Carterville, Illinois. He enjoys hyperpop, soft rock, and electropop, but is always willing to listen to any kind of music. While exploring music is one of his main hobbies, he also enjoys embroidery and exploring.

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