Does your music library define you?

Since the beginning of time, the world has continued to evolve and adapt; there’s been changes in its climate, its inhabitants, technology, and even its landscape. One thing that has stayed constant, however, is music. Whether it’s the songs the birds whistle to you in the morning, or the religious chants our ancestors practised in faith. Music has been running alongside humanity since our creation. Personally, I think we all have some weird connection to music; hence why music will forever be such a big industry and is often used as an “effective form of therapy”. Due to the introduction of the internet, music and its exploration has reached new heights, both for the listeners and its creators. The things we’re able to do with music now are incredible. Music has taken so many different forms and so many different styles over a range of genres; and for anyone with a smartphone or a laptop, you now have a direct connection to literally all of it. You have your Spotify’s, your Tidal’s, your Apple Music’s and your Soundcloud’s. What’s beautiful about all these platforms is we can pick and choose whatever we want and store it directly in our own personal libraries. Libraries unique to each individual.

Personally, I feel a person’s music library reflects their soul, if I want to get deep I would take it a step further and deem it the soundtrack to their being; it can reflect their emotions, their moods, their memories, their experiences, their wants, and aspirations. Hence, why everyone’s library is unique and different to one another (although there would definitely be some overlapping songs somewhere in the mix, of course) From looking at a person’s music library you can tell a person’s character and personality type simply by the different types of music they have. You can hide who you are to the outside world, through body language and your outward appearance but I feel you can’t do that with your music library. I don’t know about others, but when people ask to see what’s in my library I’m often a tad bit resistant. It’s almost akin to entering my personal space or asking me something personal, reserved for individuals I’m close with. I know for a fact my music library defines me or rather shows sides of me that I’m sure most people would be surprised about. If I was to break down and briefly analyse some parts of my own music library and relate it to my personality, it would probably go like this.

So, if you open up my Apple music library you’ll mainly see a ton of R&B, traditional and alternative, and quite a lot of conscious lyrical rap, which makes up the bulk of my library. If I was to relate this to my personality, I would say this expresses my more emotional, overthinking side. As one who’s not that good with emotions and expressing them, R&B and very lyric-focused rap help me with expression because the content is usually from a very emotional, deep space and I feel depending on what song I’m listening to, it helps me open up and get into the space I need to be in to express whatever I need to express. Here’s an example:

You’ll also find some afro beats, both the traditional party kind and the newer generation of young Nigerian artists, like this one:

This could possibly be me just appreciating my culture as a young Nigerian man, and expressing my love for the unique sounds of my roots. You’ll probably find more songs from these new younger artists than the older artists, as I feel I can relate to them more since they’re also young Nigerian millennials and creatives like myself. The rest of my library pretty much consists of a random assortment of tracks, some crazy beats for times when I need to get pumped up, like for the gym or general fun and other quite odd additions possibly from other countries or completely different genres that I randomly came upon and ended up enjoying; which could suggest I’m open to trying new things.

This is not to say that everyone’s library can be broken down like this, different songs have different meanings for different people. Music is unique and affects people in unique ways. Because of this, I decided I wanted to share a variety of opinions in this piece, so I asked my friends their opinions on the matter also. I simply asked them “How does a person’s music library define them?” and have listed their answers below:

D – “A person’s music library defines them because it illustrates all the different parts of their personality. E.g. some high school musical can be representative of their more youthful side, whereas a slow jam or two demonstrates an individual who’s in tune with their emotional side.

My personal music library does just that. It brings out the different elements within my personality and enables my individuality to really shine through”

A – “I feel like that statement is true but only to a certain degree. There are many factors e.g. People have a go to genre for each mood they feel. However, if a person only listens to drill, chances aren’t about that life or want to be about that life but live it through the music. I don’t really think the music you listen to defines you personally but it really does have a say in influencing your style, fashion and thinking. For example, guys like me and you grew up on 90s RnB/Soul/Neo-soul it’s easier for us to straight up tell a girl we like how we feel (reenact a full music video even) as opposed to guys who grew up on straight old school hip-hop.”

C – “I think my music library is really diverse and in some ways, it does reveal some aspects of my inner self that people either don’t notice or that I don’t always share with the rest of the world. Recently I’ve found that it’s a lot of people that listen to the same “outlandish” music that I listen to, a lot of soft, slow tempos or hyper beats (usually depends on the mood). My music taste definitely depends on my mood and how I feel my life is going so if I’m in a contempt mood then I’ll listen to almost anything but if I’m feeling “sarft” I’ll listen to people like EDEN, Lauv, SZA etc.

There are lots of artists that if people listened to their music they’d immediately reject it because they don’t have the connection to the genre that I might have if that makes sense

I think it’s very easy to mask the types of music you listen to when you’re around others because majority would rule and most people enjoy the same types of music in a friendship group so until someone actually went into your library then they wouldn’t know”

J- “Music can show both a mask and what’s underneath a mask.

I play a different playlist when I’m alone or I have headphones in, to when I know other people can hear. Even the music we play when we’re in a certain mood says a lot about our personality. Some play calm music to calm them down; some play loud, harsh music with violent beats. Some even prefer to listen to music specifically because those lyrics describe how they feel.

Whenever I used to feel like an outsider or sick of my life I would play American Idiot by Green Day because that’s what that album was about.”