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I love this time of year. I am reminded of sunny afternoons of my youth, speeding down the Pacific Coast Highway, all the windows down, radio cranked up and music spilling out of the car while singing my heart out.
These days, we’re not driving around much to do our part to slow down the pandemic. We have our sights on moving at the end of summer, so this is no time to be taking unnecessary risks.
Just because we don’t take our usual cruise down the highway listening to Skrillex’s Bangarang or System of a Down’s Toxicity, doesn’t mean we don’t ask Alexa to play it at home.
So what are we listening to these days?
These days, I’m going through some really old mixtapes I made in high school and college. Back then, I was a disc jockey on WZLY 91.5 and in order to save money, I would head down to the station and sequester one of the studios to record my own mixes from the station’s library of CDs and vinyl records. It was such an advancement to my high school days of recording directly from LA radio stations like KROQ 106.7.
Alas, audio cassette tapes are worthless these days, except in my case, they happen to still capture some rare vinyl tracks and more importantly some of my old shows which were named: Audio Seizure, Dub This, Next Exit, and In the Bassment. My roommate Tina and I had a 2-hour slot each semester where we played dance, techno and industrial music. This was the era of underground raves, imports from Manchester and the Italian club scene, and we largely got access to this new music through DJs at WZBC 90.3 and Boston DJs spinning at Axis and Venus de Milo on Landsdowne Street.
If you’re interested in hearing an excerpt of this, join the Serenade Wind crew and unlock the College DJ post.
Melody vs Lyrics
Back then, music was an integral part of my identity. And I grow nostalgic as I digitize the recordings from the past. I am also reminded of the age old question:
When listening to a song, do you gravitate to the melody of it first or the lyrics?
Andrew gravitates to the lyrics, while I gravitate to the melody. Such was the case as well when I first heard “Beautiful People” by Ed Sheeran, which was released June 28, 2019 (on our 5th anniversary). However, when I learned of the lyrics, I was blown away.
In this place and in this time, the lyrics from “Beautiful People” resonate with me. Fifteen years ago, this would be a nice tune and no more. Since this is a year of great change and transition for us, discarding adopted values that we no longer relate to, this song captures how I feel.
This song is about the so-called “Beautiful People,” a term for those who move in fashionable or glamorous circles.
“Beautiful People” is the title of a collaboration between English singer Ed Sheeran and American R&B singer Khalid. The lyrics of this collaboration center on one very important thing – being utterly true to yourself. The song encourages listeners to fight against the temptation of becoming one of those people whose lives center around material things. In the song, Sheeran and Khalid refer to these people as “beautiful people”.
Read more at: Song Meanings and Facts
That’s not who we are
… at least not any more. I have several closets of designer clothes, shoes, bags that would be the envy of any fashionista. If you are familiar with “Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger (perhaps you’ve seen the movie?) or “Confessions of a Shopaholic” by Sophie Kinsella, you’ll have an appreciation for the brand obsession plaguing a debt-funded demographic in the U.S. The best cars and the best houses, which follows having the best schools and the best jobs. In the early aughts, I was jetting around the world launching new businesses, giving speeches, and attending movie premieres & film festivals.
That life has a momentum of its own, but it is not self-sustainable. And the question inevitably crops up:
What is it all for? Is this what happiness looks like?
We explored this topic a few times previously:
- Redefining our relationship with money
- Realizing that happiness comes from good relationships. They keeps us healthier and happier. Period.
- Engaging in meaningful conversations by being selectively social
- Focusing as much as you can on the present, since that is the only thing you really have control over
- Finding your own purpose in life and perhaps your second mountain will bring more fulfillment to you than the first mountain
Fundamentally, we are all social creatures and want to feel a connection to others and a sense of purpose. I found that connection based on social status, brands, what or who you know felt quite hollow. Be true to yourself.
We are not beautiful people.
Thanks for reading!
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