I’m getting to the age at which no one likes you, according to Blink-182, and what better way to make myself feel old that to look back at how my music taste has developed. Many years of discovering what I liked and didn’t like, being introduced to new artists and re-connecting back to artists that have gotten me through more than a few moments in life have truly made my music taste the way that it is today. I know that each day that passes will be another opportunity to add to my never-ending “story-of-my-life” playlist.
The Early Days:
My early music taste was very much filled with the bubblegum pop melodies of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, as well as boy bands like Backstreet Boys and NSYNC (I was team NSYNC, if you must know). My very first concert was actually NSYNC during their PopOddysey Tour (AKA the last tour before they broke up *sobs*) and I always say that my guilty pleasure for boy bands like One Direction and 5 Seconds Of Summer was caused by that, since it was what I was initially exposed to at a young age. I was also a huge fan of those Now That’s What I Call Music! compilations, and then I learned that could easily just make a CD like that myself if I really wanted to (which is probably how I ended up with a bunch of random albums from artists that I literally only liked one song on).
Like many people, I grew into my music taste in my junior high years (or I guess specifically in the middle of my junior high years). For awhile, I was very closed off, listening to strictly Disney Channel stars (Hilary Duff, Jesse McCartney, the Disneymania series), American Idol alumni (all hail Kelly Clarkson), whatever was playing on my fave shows The OC and Laguna Beach (which included Teddy Geiger and Gavin DeGraw, because they both had LB‘s Kristin Cavallari in their music videos), and following whatever hip-hop-ish music my peers were into (at least I got my love for Eminem out of it). Then one day, I heard a song called “Welcome To My Life” by a little Canadian punk band called Simple Plan and, from then on, my eyes (or I guess ears) were opened up to a world filled with pure, honest, and emotional music. It was the first time that I truly listened to what an artist was trying to say to me and it’s a moment I look back on to this very day because it occurred at exactly the time I desperately needed it.
SP opened the musical door that had been waiting to be opened and, sure enough, other pop-punk bands like Yellowcard, Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco (as well as bands like Taking Back Sunday, The Audition and My Chemical Romance *sobs*) took over my iPod like a firestorm. I was also interested in learning about those bands’ influences (Green Day, Blink-182), and gained a high respect for female-fronted bands like Paramore, Hey Monday, and Flyleaf (as well as punk rock princess Avril Lavigne). I will forever consider junior high as my own personal “musical awakening” and it’s carried on in smaller, less life-changing points of my life since then.
High school was certainly an interesting time for my music taste. While I was still riding high on all of the awesome punk music I fell in love with, I was also in a balancing act between mainstream artists like Lady Gaga, Pitbull, and Flo Rida, and also Christian rock bands like Red, Skillet, Hawk Nelson, and Relient K (yes, they can be classified as a Christian rock band). Sure, I was still into big rock bands like Linkin Park, Nickelback (don’t judge me) and Thirty Seconds to Mars, but I was also falling more in love with bands like Maroon 5, We The Kings, and Amber Pacific, while still holding on to my love for boy bands like Jonas Brothers.
The basis of my music taste in my high school years consisted primarily of Boys Like Girls (who I discovered at a small All-American Rejects concert), David Cook (who I fell in love with from his very first audition on American Idol for his raw, emotional appeal) and darker bands like Sixx: A.M. and Three Days Grace. I also got a little more into classic rock (especially Kiss and Bon Jovi), but I was very much anti-country music (like, we couldn’t be friends if you listened to it), with Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood (only really because of my being an American Idol junkie back then), and Rascal Flatts being the only artists to really break through that barrier.
College is a time for experimenting and my definition of that word happened in the form of my music taste. I somehow thought that I wanted to be a part of “the club scene” my freshman year and would listen heavily to DJs like David Guetta, Tiesto and Basshunter along with female pop vocalists like Katy Perry and Ke$ha (who just so happened to always be played in a dance setting). I was also very much into electronic-infused pop rock artists like 3OH!3, Breathe Carolina, The White Tie Affair, and The Ready Set (who I still fangirl over to this very day).
However, I realized just how much bands like All Time Low and Cartel spoke to me when I was struggling with the whole college transition thing and times when I was feeling like I just couldn’t do anything right (whether in friendships, dating, or actual schoolwork). College was also when I discovered indie bands like Foster The People, Cage The Elephant, Grouplove, Neon Trees, etc… and was hit with the full blown realization that the happiest, sing-songy hits can be about the most morbid topics (*cough cough* “Pumped Up Kicks”). Later on, I had my random-ass country phase, which I think started because ex-Hey Monday front woman Cassadee Pope won season 3 of The Voice and became a country singer. Other than that, my music taste pretty much revolved around pop-punk and indie pop throughout college.
My Music Taste Now:
Taking the time to look back at how my taste has developed over the years, I’ve learned that, while I’ve become fairly open-minded about what I listen to, I still turn back to the artists that initially started my love affair with music. I’m very much into my indie rock/pop with a twist phase (consisting of the likes Imagine Dragons, The Neighbourhood, Kongos) as well as my post-hardcore phase (Famous Last Words, Alive Like Me, The Color Morale), but I’ll pretty much try to give everything a chance at least once. I also try to support my local music scene as much as possible, and, in the City of Angels, there’s definitely a whole lot of hidden gems lying around waiting to be discovered.
I guess, in a nutshell, my top 3 favorite bands that I will forever go back to have helped shape me to be the person that I am today. Boys Like Girls taught about the beauty of falling in love and also learning to live through the heartbreak. All Time Low taught me how to believe in myself and to not give a crap about the people that try to bring me down. And Simple Plan has been there for me for so many moments in my life (whether good or bad) that I could quite literally write about a book about it. That quote about how music is what feelings sound like is so absolutely true to me, and will continue to be the number one outlet of expressing my experiences and giving everyone a glimpse at who I am as a person.
Top 5 Favorite Artists
1. Simple Plan
2. All Time Low
3. Boys Like Girls
5. Maroon 5
Top 10 Favorite Albums
1. …Still Not Getting Any – Simple Plan
2. Nothing Personal – All Time Low
3. Love Drunk – Boys Like Girls
4. Vices & Virtues – Panic! At The Disco
5. Move Along – The All-American Rejects
6. Chroma – Cartel
7. Hands All Over – Maroon 5
8. One-X – Three Days Grace
9. I Love You. – The Neighbourhood
10. The Heroin Diaries – Sixx: A.M.