Smith 1 Casey Smith Ms.

Olding ENG 200 5 February 2014 The Beats of My Life Like most, music has always been an essential part of my life. I can remember as early as fifth grade having an Mp3 player that was quickly replaced by the original IPod shuffle. Since then my musical tastes have been all over the spectrum. Since my earliest music years, Punk Rock has been a staple in my music library. The earliest form of this music that I really remember clinging to came from bands such as Fall Out Boy, Blink-182, Simple plan, and Good Charlotte. Later, as I started to get into my early teen years, my music choices turned a little more brutal going to bands like A Day to Remember and Bullet for My Valentine. Maturity soon kicked in and while most of those bands I likened to in my early years of musical fascination stuck around, I turned to a more adult version of Rock music with bands such as Nickelback, Avenged Sevenfold, and Five Finger Death Punch. As I progressed through high school, I started to appreciate my home town roots and quickly likened to my sister’s favorite genre of music; Country, with artists like Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, and Jason Aldean. Late in my high school career the electric/dance genre exploded and my fascination with Dubstep artists like Zedd and Deadmau5 began. As a young kid, finding your own individual taste in music is difficult. Riding around in your parents car you’re either listening to their “oldies” or whatever lame radio station they decided to torture you with that day. Then came the days of iTunes and the iPod; I was one of the first kids in my class to have an iPod and endless access to iTunes. This is when my personal music taste finally got a chance to flourish and grow into the complicated mess of genres it is today. Early bands such as Blink182 grabbed my attention with their in your face attitude and young persona. I have always loved my

Smith 2 music loud, really loud. The song “Feeling This” by Blink-182 has a youthful sound to it that always brought on a feeling of youth and summers doing things you weren’t supposed to be. Artists such as Blink-182 soon led me to find my all-time favorite band, A Day to Remember (ADTR). I still remember when I discovered them on iTunes and downloaded all their hit songs shortly followed by every song they’ve ever written. ADTR brings a mixture of punk scremo and rock with some really well written sing-along melodies and anthems. “Have Faith In Me” Brings out a lighter side of the band that also showcases one of their more anthem type songs. This song spoke to me even from a young age, especially while I was going through the awkward ‘discover who your friends are’ stage in every pre-teens life. Since then, ADTR has been a staple in my musical journey and will be for the foreseeable future. From this point I was heading towards the end of middle school and maturing towards high school and with that, my music tastes also matured. Nickelback was my first more ‘mature’ band. Though controversial, I believe Nickelback has a unique sound. Earlier Nickelback brought a much more mellow rock feel to their writing style, with multiple love songs and slower more meaningful songs. These love anthems helped me through my younger relationships in high school. Though many argue that a lot of their songs sound similar, I believe that is far from the truth. Each song tells an individual and meaningful story, and those who don’t hear that are those who pay little attention to lyrics. I have always been one to listen to songs for their meaning, and Nickelback does a wonderful job of telling meaningful stories through their music. “Lullaby” and “Photograph” are two of their most powerful story telling anthems. These songs both do a wonderful job of showing just how gifted they are at getting messages across through their music and how they try to touch lives through their music. Before my 16th birthday my parents had not only gifted me a beautiful Jeep Liberty, but also slammed in a damn nice sound system to boot. This is when I discovered how musicians wanted their

Smith 3 music to sound. That summer I worked many hours as a life guard as well as doing work for my dad to be able to build and even better set-up. To say the least I was hooked on re-creating the sound artists wanted us to hear. Teaming up with a local car audio guru I built an incredible competition worthy sound system that was not built to be loud and bass heavy, but to reproduce music EXACTLY how it was supposed to be heard, and it does just that! The rest of my high school career I branched out very little in terms of music, but instead went back and revisited all my old favorites through my new system and re-discovered just how talented some of these bands really were in a way that headphones and wimpy car stereos just can’t match. One of my favorite songs to listen to through my car is “Nightmare” by Avenged Sevenfold. This song is quite complex in the way that the instruments come together with the vocals, and it is hard to fully appreciate this song unless heard how it is meant to be heard. This songs’ darker tone brought out my rebellious high school tendencies and somewhat darker mind set. I am also drawn to this song and this band in general just because of their shear instrumental skill. The only exception to my musical embrace during high school was the beginning of my love for country music. I grew up in a pretty small town surrounded by farms and rural, undeveloped land (even Amish!). With that came the country boy in me. I grew up an avid wildlife enthusiast and still enjoy hunting, fishing, and just being outside in nature. Though I didn’t fully embrace my country boy side until well into my high school career, it quickly took ahold of me and came out in full force. My older sister is the main reason for my love of country music; she got me hooked on Kenny Chesney and his summertime anthems that I could listen to on repeat. “Never Wanted Nothing More” by Kenny is as close as song can get to who I was during high school summers. I had finally discovered exactly who I was and who I wanted to be, causing country music to forever be a part of that discovery. As I was graduating from high school and getting ready to start the next chapter in my life, electronic music known as Dubstep exploded, and after the first song I listened to I was hooked. I found

Smith 4 the genre in its youth and options were limited, artists like Skrillex, Tiesto, and Zedd were just starting to find lime light. Heading to college this music allowed me to discover the world of clubbing and partying before I even arrived. Still just starting out, I found the artist Zedd, a German kid creating re-mixes of American hits and creating them well. He brought in a sound like nothing I’ve ever heard and continues to amaze me with every song he creates or touches. In “Find You (feat. Matthew Koma & Miriam Bryant)” you get to fully experience the creation involved in this type of music. The artist has full creative capabilities with no hindrance of instruments since it is all done with computers and synthesizers. I fully appreciate the art these artists create and understand how much time it must take to get these works to sound right. As my love for Dubstep was growing so was my interest in what I would describe as a new wave of music. Artists such as Mumford and Sons, Imagine Dragons, Fitz & The Tantrums, seemed to take a step backwards in the direction music was headed. As most music was getting more complicated and computer based, bands such as these were trying to simplify their musical definition. Imagine Dragons exploded with their first album and I believe that is because it was unique and far from the main stream Pop that was taking over at the time. I soaked in all that I could of this new wave of ‘Alternative’ music and it took me back to my roots of music that told stories. In Imagine Dragons song “Demons” they tell a story of hiding what might harm someone close to you. Stories like this are prevalent through their first album and most have relatively deep meanings, and that means a lot to me in terms of my musical choice. By this point in my life I have figured out what I like to listen to. Putting it on paper, it is difficult to describe why I like the music I do, or why some genres mean more to me than others. In the end, I like to stay away from the main stream music and discover my own preferences. I believe my music choices have impacted the man I am today and will continue to do so the rest of my life.