By Ezra Wallach
Over the past couple of weeks, I have spent hours and hours on genius.com, a website that analyzes song lyrics of some of the more popular songs of all time.
I wouldn’t say I am a music person, although I was addicted to “The Voice” during my freshman and sophomore years of high school and logged over 50,000 minutes of music listening on my Spotify account in 2019, but that is neither here nor there. The music I listen to is often hip-hop or pop, but other times it is emotional and deep. Before this past month, I rarely paid attention to lyrics; I knew the words to all of my favorite songs, but I wouldn’t really pay attention to what those words actually meant.
I realize this likely sounds pretty stupid and as I have told my friends this they have pretty consistently laughed in my face, but I have referred to the past month as a sort of religious enlightenment for myself. In this time, my teachers were not rabbis or priests, but artists ranging from Coldplay to Prince to Adele. As it would turn out, some of my favorite songs of all time actually contained messages that were relevant in my own life! Who would’ve thought?
But I realized something else through this time. The songs from these deep artists often contained messages relating to love, heartbreak, and so on, not one-night stands or short sexual encounters often discussed in the music coming from mainstream artists of our time, like DaBaby or Drake.
Then, over Block Break, I started watching rom-coms. They were good, but they were also sad and emotional, and told the story of two characters working through their own lives to create and commit to a relationship that was seemingly far more important than the other things going on in their lives.
Then we started watching the sequel to “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” called “P.S. I Still Love You,” and I got déjà vu.
Last year, as I was watching the first movie, I came to incredibly deep revelations about myself and the world around me and published these thoughts in my high school newspaper. In that article, I discussed myself and my generation’s reluctance to date. More specifically, our fear of becoming vulnerable, getting rejected, and essentially falling in love.
But now I am in college and not in high school and am seeing the same thing again. How naïve of me to think things would be different?
I will be extremely honest though; the movie was not very good. Extremely bad, actually. But it did remind me of how in love we are with the moments we see in movies, and how reluctant we are to experience these same things and fall in love ourselves. This is in part due to the hook-up culture of today, and the fact that many relationships are started online rather than in person.
This reluctance to date has come about from a few different places, all of which I, too, have succumbed to in the past. These range from the fact that we are in college and want to have fun to the fact that we want to be independent right now and find ourselves before we commit to anyone else. There are obvious counters to these points that say it’s good to find “the one” when you are young, and that it’s actually more fun/less stressful to date someone than to “sleep around,” but it is obviously not my place to tell you what to do.
That is, except in one instance: the fear of dating. It is one thing to not want to date, or to just want to have fun, but it is another thing to be afraid of it. And most of the time, it’s not even dating — it is just being open to the idea of dating, so that you aren’t holding yourself back from someone with whom you actually could have an incredibly meaningful relationship.
The lyrics in the songs I’ve been listening to discuss real and raw human emotions — some of them digging into the heartbreak that can come from losing a relationship that they thought would go on forever, and some of them just unbelievably sad. But these artists survive. They reached the heights of their relationships only to fall so low and write chart-topping songs about it.
None of the decisions you make now will haunt you forever, so just do what you want and follow your heart. I guess that would be my advice. Don’t be scared to experience something because of what it could mean outside of just the “now,” because there isn’t anything that exists outside of the “now” anyway.
Don’t ghost someone because you actually like them — embrace that shit. Get to understand the sad songs and cry and smile with them.