COLUMN:Some music fans go a bit too far

Blaine Moyle

Music is one of the few things almost everyone enjoys. The style of the music, and the particular tastes of each person vary widely on the kind of music they like, but for the most part the only reason we seem to like a song is for aesthetic reasons that we can’t describe.

Of course, tastes change as we get older. For instance, one of the more common styles of music for the typical high school student is anti-conformity music, used in a vain attempt to rage against the parents and any semblance of authority, as if teenagers needed help.

But more recently than not, there has been a tendency to become over-attached to particular kinds of music, by high school and even college students. That is, young people over-identify with either a single group or collection of groups and use their music as though it were a philosophical groundwork for the way they live their lives.

Anyone familiar with the term “emo” will know exactly what I mean. emo is short for “emotional” but it more specifically refers to bands that are trying to rebel from modern society in the most punk way possible while denying any claim that the band might actually just be a punk band.

Obviously the name of this “style” of music is a little more than laying claim that a particular kind of music has some sort of claim to music that is emotional.

According to the Web site, emo music can be broken up into a multitude of subcultures, divided by actions taken on stage such as whispering, turning the back to the audience, kicking things over on stage and my favorite, actual sobbing and crying. Let’s get one thing straight, if I want to see the singer of the band cry on stage, I’ll make sure I get up and kick him in the jimmy during a song.

More often than not, emo is music that is heavily depressing, where the singer whines about how the world is awful because women don’t like him, who after he has finished his set, walks off stage into the arms of the hordes of waiting girls.

It’s this core audience though, that has the real issues. Teenagers and the like think they too have real problems in dealing with life and need to “go emo” every once in awhile.

Excuse me a moment if I don’t shed a tear for all you children of suburbanites. I’m sure you had a rough life because daddy didn’t get the color Lexus you wanted, and that you had to attend a high school that has proper funding.

It’s these people that go a little too far in being fans. But for this I think “fan” is the proper word, as it is the short version of “fanatic.” Often trying as hard as they can to find the most retro clothing, or just well worn looking attire covered in as many patches of bands as possible.

It’s not a fashion choice that makes these people targets, but their desire to over-identify with the music, as though it speaks to them on some unique level because they too know the pain of living with teenage depression. What these kids need isn’t Prozac; what they need is a good slap in the face. They need to look around at the real world and notice there are people with real problems in this world, the least of which is that their boyfriend/girlfriend just broke up with them.

A lot of music labeled “emo” isn’t really that bad. I have nothing personal against the music. But I’m reminded of my own high school days where a small group of students were just a little too interested in listening to Marilyn Manson, so the girls and boys would wear black lipstick, dresses and heels.

Marilyn Manson has some good songs, but that doesn’t mean I feel the need to make every day Halloween and dress up like a woman.

There’s something ironic in kids believing they are outsiders that have to go and do something drastic like change the clothes they wear and in turn make them outsiders to the rest of the people around them. They are attempting to be nonconformist by wearing the same outfit and behaving in the same manner as another group of people.

Here’s a clue to high school students and even a good number of you college students: Get over yourself.

Almost everyone feels like an outsider and gets sad, from the head cheerleader right down to the captain of the debate team. So stop relying on a significant other to make you feel better. Stop believing that the music you listen to is somehow especially meant for you, and that it really gets in to your soul.

Yes, other people feel the way you do. It’s not depression, it’s called life. Go out and find a little joy in the world. Get out of your room and do something that doesn’t involve eating, drinking or seeing a band.

Blaine Moyle is a senior in English and secondary education from Des Moines.