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I Love 70s- and 80s- Music––and I Don’t Care

Because I’m an only child, I grew up sharing a close bond with each of my parents. In many ways, it was a blessing and a curse. For one thing, I was always the center of attention. Yet on the other hand.… that meant that I could hardly ever get away with anything.

Anyway, one of the many blessings that came from my close relationship with my mother was my love for music. I grew up listening to the cool sound of Hall & Oates, the Electric Light Orchestra, and Fleetwood Mac –– just to name a few. It would have been unheard of if my mom and I cleaned up the dinner table without Stevie Wonder or Aerosmith playing nearby. My elementary and middle school teachers were always impressed when they found out that I knew who Steven Tyler was, and they’d grin whenever I sang along to every word of “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins while we line danced in gym class.

Growing up, I never thought twice about my odd knowledge of 70s- and 80s- era music. It was just something that was always there. The kitchen radio was always on whenever I was home, and it wouldn’t be our house without the sounds of Barry White or The Doobie Brothers drifting through every room.

Listening to 40-year-old music was always just the norm for me. And it wasn’t always the Rolling Stones and the Police… I’ll have you know, I use to have quite the obsession with One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer. I loved all music –– like I said, that was just the way I was raised. It was just the older stuff that I was a little more into.

Yet in high school, it finally dawned on me that not every kid had an extensive knowledge of Creedence Clearwater Revival. While I once felt proud of my unique music taste, I suddenly felt very insecure. It felt like I was walking around the school hallways with a big neon sign in my hands that read “I’ll Always Love David Bowie More Than Shawn Mendes!”

 Sure, I had ridden on the One Direction bandwagon, but that was only a fad. The fact that everyone else my age was listening to something different made me feel like an outsider.

So for a while, I tried my best to only listen to current pop hits. I did like a lot of them, and I eventually began to memorize a lot of the music they’d play at the parties I went to. For a while, that was enough for me. Yet eventually, the guilt crept in.

While it was awesome to be finally expanding my taste in music once and for all, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat in the wrong. Yes, the new tunes on the radio were pretty good, but without my favorites, I felt awful.

Because I was going without my 70s- and 80s- jams in my playlist, I wasn’t being true to myself, and I quickly learned how that’s one of the worst ways to betray who you were born to be. I was trying too hard to be like the other kids at school, and for that I was a stranger in my own skin.

Ironically, my quick switch to more pop hits wasn’t instantly boosting my popularity at school or helping me make more friends (like I had tried to imagine). Life went on the same as usual, I was just a little less myself. In my 14-year-old mind, it just wasn’t worth giving up my Steely Dan to be like someone I wasn’t.

Flash forward: Now I’m in college, and I’m embracing my love for old music like never before! I listen to it all the time, even though I know it’s not what they might be playing at all the frat parties. I’m also happy to say that I cohost an 80s- music show at my school with one of my best friends, and so far I’ve been loving every minute of it.

Music is an incredible way to express who you are and is such an amazing method to connect with friends. Sure, my taste is 70s- and 80s- hits is a little out of the norm, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Blasting the Bee Gees and Earth, Wind & Fire is one of the fastest ways to boost my mood, and I’ll never sacrifice that for anyone!

Besides, I’m not the only one who has a quirky music preference. My best friend is still obsessed with the Jonas Brothers and a lot of other good hits from the early ‘00s, and my boyfriend has a strange love for Dean Martin and Tupac. It can be a little intimidating to have a different playlist than those around you, but you should never be ashamed to head-bang to your favorite bop. Period!

Kelly Donohue is currently sophomore at Arizona State University, pursing a B.A. in Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She loves dogs, Mexican food, reading and writing, classic rock and the season of autumn. She also hopes to one day pursue a career in journalism, television or politics.
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