The University Connecticut student body is as diverse in ideas and backgrounds as they are in music taste. Asking students at random what they’ve been listening to and why music is important to them reveals an eclectic taste, yet a common reasoning as to its importance to them.
Mercy Yalartai, fourth-semester undecided student, said that Chance the Rapper, Spazzy Rocket, Lauryn Hill, Joey Bada$$, Drake and Wu Tang Clan are on the top of her list of artists she’s been listening to. “Blind Man” by Spazzy Rocket is the number one song she’s listening to.
“I’ve got that on replay, I love it,” she said.
Yalartai is open to all kinds of music, but her main passion is R&B and hip-hop. Going back to her roots, she can better understand what people today are saying, for music serves as a different form of education for her.
“Music means so much. It’s something that, like when I’m in a bad space, or I’m just disconnected from the world — it’s something that draws me back in,” said Yalartai. “It’s a feeling that can’t be replaced, it can’t be replicated — it’s something that’s authentic.”
There is a hole in Yalartai’s life when music is missing.
“Music just provides this connection that’s just unbelievable,” Yalarti said. Her guilty pleasure is Taylor Swift for she “can’t even lie” when it comes to her love for Swift’s foot stomping, feud-inspired “Bad Blood.”
Fourth-semester pre-communications major, Olivia Blackburn said, “I’m pretty consistently down with early 2000’s pop, which is really embarrassing.”
She’s really into Britney Spears and stays up-to-date with top 40 on iTunes. Whether or not others would agree with this, she admits, “I’m like really bad with music.”
The track on continuous play for Blackburn has been “Big Poppa” by The Notorious B.I.G.
It’s “the only thing I’ve been listening to for two days…and Justin Bieber! I would die for Justin Bieber, I love him,” she said laughing.
For her guilty pleasure, she immediately answered Justin Bieber, “but not even guilty because I don’t feel bad about it because he’s great!” She considers herself a certified “Belieber.”
Jacqueline Pigano, eighth-semester communications and women’s gender and sexuality studies double major, whose guilty pleasure also consists of Bieber, listens to a lot of different music within the alternative, indie spectrum. She has been listening to a lot of Fleet Foxes, naturally as they are “one of my favorite artists ever” and The Decemberists. She’s a big fan of “folky” music.
Speaking on Fleet Foxes, Pigano said, “I think that they’re really good story tellers and in a way, it sounds really odd, but they make me nostalgic for a time that like I wasn’t even alive (during). They make me feel like I was there.”
Among other guilty pleasures, Pigano likes 80’s pop music, “which I’m not that guilty about,” she said.
Lastly, Kenneth Philipson, fourth-semester chemical engineering major, has mostly been listening to Queens of the Stone Age, which “I’ve been getting into them a lot lately,” he said. He’s also been listening to a lot of Mastodon and The Mars Volta.
For Philipson, music “helps me zone out. It helps me pass time. It makes the walk to and from classes easier, because I’ve got a long walk.” Life without music for him would be “really boring. I guess pretty bland.”
His guilty pleasure? Ke$ha. “I know all of her songs,” he said.
Gone are the days of feeling so guilty over one’s “guilty pleasures.” Maybe that’s because our generation has the ability to purchase and/or stream songs from every corner of the world, from any era and from all existing genres. It seems clear we live in an age of diverse tastes, yet with the same necessity for the music that makes people feel alive.