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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Memories in music

I’ve now learned that when you accept the task of writing an Inside Column at 8 p.m., the night before it prints, it’s natural to panic. It apparently doesn’t take long to go from saying, “Sure, I’ll take it!” to thinking, “I have no idea what I’m going to write about”— just about 60 seconds in my experience. So, naturally I started pulling out old Observers I have stored in my room, looking for inspiration for the column — don’t worry, there are plenty that I keep around, and I’m pretty sure I drive my roommate crazy. Once I got done looking through a few previous columns, I gave up and returned to my perch in the middle of my messy room and flipped on some music. I shuffled the playlist, and all of the sudden, I had it. Though the average person’s reaction to hearing a track by The Killers might be, “Awesome! I love The Killers,” mine happens to be a little different. You see, I had a really good friend in middle school who absolutely loved The Killers. She’s the reason I started listening to them, and whenever I hear one of their tracks, I think back to our friendship. It doesn’t matter that we went to different high schools and ended up going our separate ways — I’ll always associate my Killers fandom with her because, well, she’s the one that got me into them. As I continue to flip through my digital music library, I find more and more artists who remind me of friends of ages past. Be it a song by Pete Townshend, MIKA or The Head and The Heart, odds are I’ll be able to think of someone who was the reason I enjoy that band or artist’s music. When I was in high school, I read about something known as the normalization process, which is the establishment of unwritten rules or the creation of socially-constructed norms. Socially-constructed norms occur throughout cultures but can perhaps be best understood through example, as norms guide fan loyalties and how and where religious practices take shape. I grew up in Indianapolis, but I was born in Youngstown, Ohio — where my dad had lived his entire life. I was indoctrinated as a Cleveland sports fan by him but at the same time, grew up a Butler basketball fan due to living in the area and having friends that were also fans of the team. To be fair, we typically find our moral compass through the process when we’re young, but the effect the process has on us as we get older shouldn’t be forgotten. This process is perhaps the most peculiar thing about interpersonal relationships. I’m not an expert on the subject by any means — I’m a statistics major — but I think it’s cool that I fairly regularly ask myself if I’m human or dancer just because of a friend I had when I was thirteen.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.