We Listen to Music Everywhere We Go–More Than Ever Before


Female student jamming to her music on the subway.

Phillip Lemus, Opinion Editor

Ever notice just how many people listen to music nowadays?


This image could be thought of like this: the music we listen to emits our emotional spectrum within.

This journalist remembers taking the Metro Orange Line to the Red Line, then saw the prolifically large amount of people with headphones on in the bus. It’s crazy; until recently, I’ve never noticed just how many teenagers, kids, adults, and seniors alike have some form of headphones plugged in. It seems that now–more than ever–we as a society, prefer to listen to music on the go, on the drive, on the train, on the subway, in the car, in the wherever, more frequently. A Nielsen 360 study from 2017 still relatively holds true today: a whopping 90% of people listen to their own music, and those statistics don’t even mention whether or not they do on headphones! More recently, Beats by Dr. Dre are so commonplace a headset to wear nowadays that it’s not surprising that Dr. Dre himself is worth a jaw-dropping $770 million–practically a mogul among hip-hop stars of his generation, at least to this journalist.

Cartoon female listening to what appears to be Snoop Doggy Dogg on her phone.

I’m also guilty of listening to my own music, but for the sake of argument, my motives for doing so aren’t unique to me. Most of us have our own idea of what we like to listen to/play karaoke to, but more often than not, the psychological effects of our own “tastes” stem from what we’ve listened to more often. As a result, the music we listen to the most–this goes for all art here!–tends to be ourĀ favorite source to listen to/watch/play/create.

I listen to Billie Eilish for (probably) the oddest reason: her music appeared in my recommended section on Youtube/Google Play Music, and after listening to a few of her songs, I was galvanized, amazed, shaken, enlightened, exposed, and so many other emotions I felt. The fact that the music of our choosing provokes us (to a certain emotional degree) on command, to me, reflects how antipathetic we as a society have really become, especially in the United States.

The United States has gone through a long list of consequences and disparities, practically since the beginning of the nation. In our era, however, because we especially don’t seem to be empathic or hostile in our own regard, our culture has implicitly glorified the solitude granted with the prospect of listening to music.

I, for one, enjoy listening to my music a lot because of the emotion I interpret from the music I happen to listen to. The fact that we’ve now become less solicitous in regards to our social norms, political efficacy, and structural integrity of our mainstream culture is a real concern to worry about. Our own school is a good example of such; after all, does Birmingham have a solid, concrete, and supportive culture? Hmm. Now that really depends on how the culture is built that teachers, students, and parents create for our school environment. (Harvard Graduate School of Education; What Makes a Good School Culture? (2018)).

Our Birmingham cheer teams have a different culture. Our Birmingham Band has a different culture. Our Birmingham wrestling teams have a different culture. Our Birmingham academic decathlon team has a different culture. Our Birmingham football teams have a different culture. Our Birmingham golf teams have a different culture. Our Birmingham dance teams has a different culture. Our Birmingham swim team has a different culture. Our Birmingham volleyball teams have a different culture. Our Birmingham soccer teams have a different culture. Our Birmingham track & field teams have a different culture. Our Birmingham baseball teams have a different culture. Our Birmingham basketball teams have a different culture. Our Birmingham water polo teams have a different culture. Notice that a fat chunk of our school gets a piece of influence from our sports teams? That’s ok. Of course it is, why wouldn’t it be? Just to take school athletes as an example, it’s not surprising that they’ve developed or started to develop cognitively and socially within their extracurricular sports.

Why, though, isn’t there an overlap of academic ambition then? Shouldn’t education–a ubiquitous right in this country–be taken major advantage of then? To me, I proclaim that every athlete at Birmingham deserves their own recognition for their self-determination in their particular extracurricular sport, and that affirmation extends to everybody willing enough to express or envelop themselves in a adventitious–or familiar–extracurricular club and such; it’s a shame that our sports culture doesn’t further the ubiquitous belief to simply go to college.

Despite our school’s recent–and probably near-future– accolades, our school’s culture doesn’t reflect that. How can I expect to make a meaningful life without an education? Are sports accolades supposed to be the key to a better school? Shouldn’t our school already have its students transcend themselves to become something more than a trophy? What is our school’s shared commitment to its students? Couldn’t our sports culture also include educational strife in its beliefs? What is our school culture, then, if we have so many different cultures that haven’t sought to develop unity? Do clubs want anything? Did decentralization of our student government work toward a striving school culture? Towards a self-ingratiating one? Does pursued focus on specific extracurriculars on campus become the primary culture to emanate on our campus? Does success implicitly equal sports and extracurriculars? Do we as students need to be self-determined throughout high school? Shouldn’t our teachers continually hope for the best in us? Shouldn’t they tell us to reach for a college degree?

Listen to music and be at peace.


No. Not today.

Listening to music helps us become a different version of ourselves–regardless of the good/not so good aftermath of ours or others’ decisions. Let’s live our life and enjoy the mystery of every repercussion–with music!