I Don't Care - I Love It...

By Lucy Harbron - 16:47

I wonder how much of my time I wasted putting my Spotify on and off private session when I was 15. I used to click in and out of anonymity every time I changed genre from guilty to innocent, from indie to cringy. I was so worried about getting caught out listening to the hairspray soundtrack when I’d bigged myself up to be the manic pixie dream girl archetype, listening only to Foals and Bombay Bicycle Club and never ever strayed away from the Tumblr dream world. When I moved to uni I spent weeks being wary of what music could be heard through my walls, kept my voice quiet, left Taylor Swift on lock-down. Behind the scene of my playlists, I left my longest-held pleasures hidden behind my ‘cooler’ tastes. I’d forcefully roll my eyes, treat them all as ironic, I don’t realllly like them really.

I do. Pop music and musical theatre are my bread and butter, I don’t care anymore, I’ve gotta eat.

I don’t care anymore, and that’s not me saying I don’t have a big love for rock in my indie Cindy heart, but I’m letting my pleasures be completely innocent now. I’m refusing to cloak a pillar of myself, especially now that it’s getting bigger and stronger than ever for me and so many others. Pop is in the middle of a massive high point, I’m looking at people like Little Mix, Ariana, Shawn Mendes. Maybe it’s the new high for gay culture, becoming louder and prouder than ever as we see more and more LGBT+ people bursting into the mainstream. Or maybe it’s our uniting need for escapism in the face of scary politics, big life changes, and rising mental illness rates. Right now, I don’t want lyrics that are going to speak to me and remind me of my pain. While it may be the time for activism and awareness, we just don’t want that in our songs when we wake up. We want Lizzo, telling us we’re that bitch.

At least that’s what I want, recently it’s all I want. In the last year, my playlists have gone from one extreme to the other, as more and more songs have been traded out. And now, on an average day I wake up and put Lizzo straight on. In the shower I might go for the Waitress soundtrack, or Funny Girl. I wake into uni listening to my musicals playlist, and spent weeks sat in the library with headphones feeding me soundtrack after soundtrack from Amelia to Five Guys Named Moe. On the walk home, it might be Little Mix or maybe even Marilyn Monroe for old school camp. While I cook dinner, it might be old school Miley or Thank u, next. I rarely stray, I’ve become a bit scared to.

My bubble of theatre and pop is such a safety net. I know the story of Hamilton, it’s not going to suddenly plunge me into sad nostalgia, Ari won’t let me drown in heartbreak for too long till God is a Woman picks me back up. I’d been blessed and doomed with a massively sensory memory; I remember everything through clothes and songs, and within seconds I can be back somewhere I’m trying not to be. I’m the classic case of losing albums to exes and having to swear off songs forever; my bubble is safe from that. It allows me security and escape, disappearing into the chorus when I feel I need to. It’s become such an important part of my self-care and recovery routine, so I’ll no longer call that guilty. At this point in my life, the last thing I want is my music taste to feel like an attack, I want my Spotify to be a safe space so I can just zone out and bop alone. I don’t need my morning boogie to confront me or trigger me, I want it to affirm me! Build me up! Make me feel like 10/10! And I wasn’t getting that from Arctic Monkeys. And neither are a lot of my friends as our pre-drinks playlists and been swapped for Spotify’s 80s or Divas playlists, or the classic Lipsync For Your Life playlist. It says a lot that our gym playlists, the soundtrack to making ourselves feel good, are full of mainstream cheesy pop now; we just want high energy, high confidence tracks. Sue us.

I haven’t sworn off all other genres. I’m still committed to my new music Friday routine of listening to all the new albums, digging for new artists and songs, opening to taste test everything. I still go to gigs regularly, still regularly throw fuel on the fire with some sad songs. But what I need right now is the comfort of my safe songs, of the characters I know I can softly fall into, and the words I know won’t hurt me. And it feels good, dancing around my flat in my underwear while Charli XCX hypes me up.

I don’t want the hard edges each and every day. Right now, I want soft bubble gum pop with a side of cheese, and I don’t care if it’s cringe. I love it.

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