Complicated to Inspiring

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CC0 Creative Commons

When I was seven years old my parents signed me up for theatre camp. On the first day me and the other campers sat with our counsellors to decide on what kind of play we wanted to do. We decided on a play about a school for superheroes. One by one each of the campers declared their favourite superhero to be their character. When it came to my turn, I did the same:

“I want to be Avril Lavigne,” I announced.

I remember my counsellor taking my statement in stride, and being very encouraging of me trying to be a pop punk princess. So my character was Avril Lavigne, principal of a superhero school. Its important that I tell this story because it needs to be understood how much I loved Avril Lavigne as a kid. To me she was the coolest person in the world and I wanted to be just like her.

However, I got older and I encountered new artists, and my interests changed and evolved. Avril fell off my radar for a really long time, and I think that had a huge part to do with the fact that she stopped making music for a few years. Not long ago I got curious and looked her up online. I found out that the reason she had been taking a break from music was because of the fact that she had been diagnosed with Lyme disease. Since then she had been battling for her life, and this battles is what inspired her newest song.

In September 2018 Avril Lavigne released Head Above Water. I can honestly say that it had been a very long time since a song had moved me that much. When music moves you it can wake up something inside of you that you didn’t know was there. Music can act as an escape, but it can also make you aware of the harsh reality around you. Not because it’s trying to be cruel, but because the listeners need a wake up call.

Avril bared her soul in this song, and in doing so she exposed the world around us. Head Above Water can be seen as a reminder. A reminder that no one in life is exempt from struggle, and because of this we are not alone. Creating such a powerful song showcasing her fight proves that Avril is an inspiration.

Avril Lavigne might be the musician that I have been a fan of the longest. When I was seven years old I saw a young Canadian woman taking on the world and I remember aspiring to do the same. For a while when I wasn’t following Avril’s work as closely I seemed to lose that drive. But when I heard Head Above Water it felt like all my dreams and desires from when I was a kid came flooding back. Avril was able to take something that was so scary and heartbreaking and turn it into something inspiring. For me I want to do the same.

 

Works Cited

 

Lavigne, Avril. “Head Above Water.” Youtube, uploaded by Avril Lavigne, 27 September 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKF6ghfcQic&frags=pl%2Cwn

 

Peele, Anna. “At Home With Avril Lavigne, Who’s Finally Back (And Totally Ready to Party).” Billboard, 18 October 2018, https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/8480271/avril-lavigne-billboard-cover-story. Accessed October 30, 2018.

Who is Stan?

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CCo Creative Commons.

Perhaps you have heard of a group called BTS. They are a South Korean boy band that has been blowing up for the past year. So I began to investigate them on social media. My advice: don’t do it. It’ll ruin your life, because the amount of overdramatic teenagers is astounding. From what I understand most of the overly obsessed fans seem to exist on Twitter. That special place where all those fans spend their time is called “Stan Twitter.”

Who is Stan, you might ask. Well friends, it is not an actual person named Stan; instead, it is a term for someone who is a stalker fan. The word “stan” is literally a combination of the words “stalker” and “fan.” The term stan might be fairly new, but the concept of crazy fangirls has been around for ages.

Does Beatlemania ring a bell? Even if you weren’t alive then like me, it’s okay because Beatlemania is something that is still talked about today. People today are actually comparing the group BTS to The Beatles, and it’s not because they have similar music.

Back in 2014, the year that celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Beatles performing at the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, Todd Leopold wrote a very interesting article about how it is not possible for something like Beatlemania to happen again today. This is because Kennedy had been assassinated only weeks before The Beatles arrived. Leopold quotes governor Mike Huckabee saying, “The Beatles brought something to America more than music. They brought hope.”

Hope. It’s something that I feel like many people are struggling to hold onto these days. The fact that The Beatles were able to give that to a country that was struggling to hold onto that hope after something so devastating truly shows the power of music.

After going back a bit I did some research into BTS’ work. In October 2017 BTS debuted their album Love Yourself: Her. It was to be the first in the three part series. Love Yourself: Tear came out in summer 2018, while Love Yourself: Answer followed soon after. This is extremely important because the entire message of this trilogy was to love oneself. With this they also partnered with UNICEF to create the campaign Love Myself where some proceeds of the album sales would go to end violence around the world. To top it all off BTS gave a speech at the UN this past September to encourage listeners to be themselves.

While all of this was happening Stan Twitter had a lot to say. There were many people saying how, until they found BTS they had been unable to love themselves. Through BTS’ music they had been able to be a little bit happier, and the world didn’t seem as dark. Very similar to what The Beatles did in their time.

What I’ve learned is that hope can come in many forms. One of those forms could be a South Korean boy band. It might be hard to see it through all the stans, but there are people who are just looking for hope. The world is a scary place, and I have a hard time watching the news without feeling nauseous. For me, music has always been an escape. So when people say that The Beatles gave them hope, I understand them, because BTS gave me, and so many other people hope. Not only that but I have learned to look for hope in other places.

I believe that hope can spread in many ways. I think that if you have found even a sliver of hope, that makes everything worthwhile, then the rest of the world doesn’t seem so bad.

Works Cited

BigHit Entertainment.  “Love Myself.” https://www.love-myself.org/post-eng/about-love-myself/.  Accessed 25 October 2018.

Leopold, Todd. “Beatles + Sullivan = Revolution: Why Beatlemania could never happen today.” CNN, https://www.cnn.com/2014/01/30/showbiz/celebrity-news-gossip/beatles-ed-sullivan-50-years-anniversary/index.html. Accessed 21 October 2018.

Wang, Amy B.  “What the world’s youths might learn from BTS, the K-pop stars who spoke at the UN.” The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2018/09/25/what-worlds-youths-might-learn-bts-k-pop-stars-who-spoke-un/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1708f5f15334.  Accessed 23 October 2018.

The Beginning of This Music Appreciation Journey

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A piano with sheet music. Creative Commons CC0.

Growing up my dad loved to share his music tastes with my sister and I. Whenever we were driving my sister and I had no control over what was being played on the radio. My dad would stick with his classic rock station and we would listen to all of my dad’s favourite artists. Artists like The Beatles, Elton John, Phil Collins, etc. The music would be blasting in the car but often my dad would take a moment to turn down the volume and share interesting facts about the artist we were listening to. This continued for most of my childhood. It even got to the point where instead of sharing facts my dad would quiz us. He’d ask, “Which artist is this?” Due to his constant barrage of information that was ingrained into my brain I usually answered correctly.

To this day my dad will continue to repeat the same stories and facts over and over again. But I find myself not really minding because I like hearing about what he enjoys. I can see how he lights up with excitement, as music has always been a huge part of his life. I can’t say exactly that I share the same taste in music as my dad, but regardless I feel like I have developed a similar fascination with music.

However, writing about music honestly makes me nervous because I feel like I should say something really intelligent and interesting about The Beatles or Beethoven. With other blogs like The Listener’s Club, I found it hard to read the posts because most of them appeared to be directed towards people who know a lot about music. Sometimes I even find the writers acting pretentious about music. It takes all the fun out of enjoying music, if you feel like you’re not smart enough to talk about music with others. I suppose that’s where my inspiration came from for writing this type of blog. I have always had a fascination with music, but have never had the courage to talk about it because I feel like I didn’t belong. Mainly based on the fact that I haven’t studied music. I think that if I take the intimidation out of it, by solely focusing on how music makes us feel, with some fun information thrown in, appreciating music could become fun again.

Hopefully, as I learn new things those who read my blog will learn with me. It feels like there are so many things to talk about, and that feels a little overwhelming. I want to do my best to do this justice as I think that there is so much to explore with how everyone around the world appreciates music.

 

Reference List

Heavy Blog. “Is Music Theory Necessary? – Awareness and Music Appreciation.” Heavy  Blog is Heavy, http://www.heavyblogisheavy.com. September 23, 2018.

Timothy Judd. “About The Listener’s Club.” The Listener’s Club, http://thelistenersclub.com/about-the-listeners-club/. September 22, 2018.

Martin Fautley. “Music appreciation – who appreciates? A lesson from history. (And lots of questions!)” drfautley, https://drfautley.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/music-appreciation-who-appreciates-a-lesson-from-history-and-lots-of-questions/