“Music saved my life.” This is one of the most clichéd expressions in the music scene. It is most commonly used by disgruntled emo and scene kids who are seeking attention and that very description saddens me. I am calling for reparations on that phrase. It shouldn’t be a phrase that is only used by a specific group of people. It should be usable by anybody who was in a dark place and music pulled them out of it.
A question that I always get asked is: “How does music save lives?” It does it by giving people hope. It gives something to those who have nothing to live for. It is something that people can relate to and find solace in. When you are 13/14 and you’ve been bullied for most of your life, and you’re looking for some reason not to end your life, music may be the only thing that stops you from following through with the act. Imagine that you had nobody there for you. Everybody hurt you and told you that you were never going to be good enough. This made you angry and isolated you even more from people because you would lash out at everybody. Now imagine that you found a band that sounded as angry as you did. You no longer felt so alone. There were people out there who were just angry as you are. They were singing about people who had hurt them or how they had hurt themselves. You began to feel better because it felt like they were writing these songs for you. They knew what you were going through and they wanted to support you.
Now imagine that the band’s name is Linkin Park. You then have part of my story of how music saved my life. Songs like “Papercut”, “Numb”, “Crawling”, “Breaking the Habit” and pretty much the entire Hybrid Theory album really helped me through a tough time. Two lyrics that really helped me out were: “I’m becoming this, all I want to do/Is be more like me and be less like you” and “I’ll paint it on the walls/ ‘Cause I’m the one at faults/ I’ll never fight again/ And this is how it ends.” Music gives me the motivation to face every challenge that life throws at me.
Although, there is one problem with saying music saved your life; it isn’t really a problem. It is more of an issue that people who don’t understand the concept seem to have. It is typical to the natural human state: if you don’t understand something then the next step is to be intolerant towards it. Too often do I hear slurs like “u r so gay” and “u fag” appropriated towards people who say music saved their lives. I use that abysmal spelling because these people are cowards who can’t say it to your face and have to hide behind a screen in order to preach their hate. What gives them the right to take such a thing away from people? They’ve never been at the point where music is the only thing keeping you alive because it gives you a shred of hope to live by. They presume it’s funny that somebody was at that point in their life. The irony is that these are the people who quite often get nowhere with their lives; the people who don’t bother with performing well at school because they’re too “cool” for it. That is a story for another day though.
The honest truth is that music saves lives. It isn’t an opinion or a religious statement. It is a simple fact that is justified by the sheer beauty of music. Music has the power to rock you to the core of your existence. It transcends the emotional understanding of humans. It transcends language barriers and unites us. It can tear your soul out and repair it and then put back in again. Music makes us feel. Music makes us human.