By Cain Hernandez
I’ve always had a keen interest in music, ever since I listened to my mom’s collection of CDs when I was in the third or fourth grade– some of which included Weezer’s Blue Album, Pixies’ Doolitle, and The Stone Roses’ self-titled. Eventually, my taste in music grew. Then it changed. Then grew again. This cycle has been on repeat my entire life, to this very day.
I still remember the first album that I bought, or that my mom bought for me: Linkin Park’s Meteora. I was in elementary school. The very first time I heard their music was when a friend brought their older brother’s CD player, along with the “classic” album, for us to listen to. Although Linkin Park isn’t really found in any of my Spotify playlists today, their music was something that had a profound effect on my young ears. Meteora was aggressive and angry, and unlike anything I had heard before. I had to have a copy for myself. After hours of begging, my mom finally gave in and bought it for me. I had a fondness for mainstream rock in elementary school, mainly because it was easily accessible and different from what I usually heard my parents listening to.
If Linkin Park and nu metal weren’t already edgy enough, my middle school and early high school years were spent rocking Panic! At the Disco and Fall Out Boy band tees. I loved those bands at the time, but I was probably the only one in my circle of friends that listened to other genres of music.
I was first introduced to hip hop when my aunt’s boyfriend left his CD case at her house after they broke up. In that CD case were two Kanye West albums: The College Dropout and Late Registration. Once again, like with the Linkin Park album, I had heard something that was completely new to me. Kanye’s music was different than the dirty south style hip hop I usually heard people at school playing. I was completely blown away, and I thank those albums for opening me up to a genre of music I initially had no interest in.
Throughout middle school and high school, my music preferences really began to diversify. For the most part, I primarily listened to bands in the post-hardcore, pop-punk, or metal categories– or bands that tried to mix all three of those genres, like A Day to Remember. However, aside from the influence of my friends, I had begun to take a liking to folksy indie rock/pop. This music was vastly different from the bands I would see live every weekend: Iron & Wine, Jeff Buckley, Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes etc. My friends had no interest in those musicians, and at the very least they would ask where I discovered them. I used to spend hours scouring a website called Purevolume, and Myspace, believe it or not, introduced me to some truly amazing groups too– Crystal Castles, anyone? I was constantly on the lookout for something new, and although the websites I frequent have changed, that trend has continued into adulthood.
If there is one thing that has been a consistent mainstay in my life, it would have to be music… and food I guess, but that’s beside the point. As I’ve changed as a person, music has always changed with me. Music matches my own inconsistency. Just like the first two Kanye albums I listened to, there will always be some new band or artist that completely blows me away. Discovering new music has been my hobby since I was 12 years old, and that is probably something that will never change. Music is consistent and inconsistent at the same time. It never stays the same, but it’s always there when you need it.
Featured image by Cain Hernandez.