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My Musical Identity - Reflections of a Reformed Conformist

Here it is. The big, bad truth. My very first CD was Hanson?s Middle of Nowhere. And with that purchase, at the age of ten, I ventured out into the world of radio stations and pop videos, searching for my musical identity. After enough awkward introductions at parties and pretty much any other kind of social gathering, I'm convinced that preferred artists or bands define character and personality. They clue the outside world on who we are and what clique we fit into. So me, admit to having no musical identity? I don't think so!

In elementary school, I was forced to shrug my way through many a conversation. What did I think of Nsync's new song? Well, it was better than their last one. But my answer was never satisfactory to the cool people, and I?d soon hear those dreaded words. 

What kind of music do you listen to anyway?  

"Uh, ya know dude, everything," I was at a loss for words. But on one fated afternoon I heard Hanson and bought their album. And my life began! Because of Hanson, I now had something to say during recess discussions. 

Unfortunately, within a few months, I realized the Hanson thing was hurting my image more than helping. That was when I found my savior, Makaveli. Everyone loved him. So I decided to buy me some rap albums. B.I.G., Puffy, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and Sisqo filled my CD stand. Guests would enter my room and take just one look at those Parental Advisory albums and it was clear to them; I was a bonafide rapper!

The reality, however, was that my music taste was far more expansive than just Forgot about Dre. and The Thong Song. I actually listened to ELP, Santana, Mystic Revealers, and the Gypsy Kings . . . and that?s not even half of ?em! And yet to conform, I hid all my other interests behind my new identity as a rapper. The reality was that I had no favorites! And we teens rely on those favorites. That?s how we can judge each other right off the bat, right? Admirers of Cher are generally over fifty, right? And as my sister witheringly says, "If you liked Hanson's first album, the world can pretty much tell you're a lost cause?"

So what happens if you?re like me? If you like N'sync and Limp Bizkit and Outkast at the same time? If you defy all stereotypes, all classification, and every generalization? I thought I needed to develop a true musical identity, but what I discovered is that there is no single identity to be found! I am proud to say that I cannot be categorized. Through painstaking attempts to conform, I have realized that I am different. Unclassifiable. I?m a bit of this, a bit of that, and Ya know . . . everything.  

What are you?


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