Music: The Connection that Makes Us
May 1, 2022
Bethany Howell (she/her/hers), Low Entropy Volunteer Writer
I remember being four years old, in the back seat of my father’s old red Volkswagen. I would dance along to the songs he played, raising my arms as high as I could for the chorus “Hands up, baby hands up” while he laughed and sang along. There are few things my father and I shared, making our joint music taste all the more special to the both of us. As the years wore on and we became more distant, we could always bond over Duran Duran, Billy Joel, and David Bowie. My father and I are seldom close; but music, and the memories that came along with it, brought us together.
At age eleven, I began discovering music outside of the realm of my father’s tastes. I discovered modern rock, then alternative, then indie music. Artists such as Fall Out Boy, Glass Animals, and Vampire Weekend replaced the familiar sounds of 80s pop with which I had grown up. My father would always try to keep up, creating playlists with a mix of our favourite songs,
but I preferred listening on my own. With the new age of modern music came the disintegration of the only thing that he and I had.
I believe it was age eighteen when I finally began looking back at what I once knew. ‘Retro’ music was making a comeback and I was surprised to find myself already knowing the melodies and words to the songs being ‘discovered’ by my peers. Today I consider myself lucky to know all the lyrics to the ballads and karaoke classics. After all, it is pretty fun to shock my friends with my knowledge of classics obscured by time.
I fell in love with music before I knew what love was. All of my most cherished moments came with a soundtrack. Throughout my childhood, my love of music permeated into every piece of who I was and what I did. If I wasn’t singing made-up songs and playing make-shift instruments, I was listening to the music that surrounded me. Some would say that our political viewpoints or the people we idolize makes us who we are; others may say that the books we read or the people we love are more influential. I disagree. I believe it is the music we listen to, the lyrics we sing to ourselves while cleaning up and the tunes we aren’t afraid to butcher with our terrible singing voices. I am who I am thanks to not only my current favourite melodies, but also the songs I still somehow recall from almost two decades ago in that old Volkswagen.
My love of music still drives me today. Though I have attempted writing songs like I used to when I was a child, I find that they never live up to expectations. Lyrics and chord progressions are not my calling. I decided a few years back to, instead, focus on the rhythm and meter of poetry. This has brought me quite far, with multiple poems published and a few on the way. I know that not everyone would agree, but I believe poetry to be at the heart of music. Yes, the two have many differences, yet both are based on the same drive – the creation of something
beautiful. We all just want to create something that gets stuck in your head and moves you, whether that be literally or figuratively.
I love music for the same reasons I love poetry, film and all other artistic creations – the connection it brings us. Music brings us all closer together through sharing the same favourite songs or hating the same Top 40s artist. Music can be an agent of change and an agent of connection. In my own life, it is the connection of music that brought my father and I together and sparked my love for art that still inspires me today. I don’t believe that my work will ever make as great of an impact as John Lennon’s poignant classic “Imagine” or have the lasting legacy of Queen’s anthem “We Will Rock You”, but I do hope to make a small difference, even if it is only in my own life. I write for myself and in hopes that others may relate to the words I spill onto the page.
My name is Bethany Howell and I am a third-year university student majoring in psychology and minoring in family and child studies. I have a passion for writing and mental health, and my ultimate goal since age 13 has been to make a difference in the world through helping others, which is how I ended up here at Low Entropy!
At Low Entropy, we believe changing the world starts with changing ourselves.
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