In my last article, I took up the challenge to write about a song that has a color in its title. I liked the straightforwardness of that task, as it didn’t require me to spend too much time choosing the right song. Today I am facing a more abstract question (at least for me) — which was my favorite song when I was a kid? As someone who has the ambition to write about music more seriously, I should probably think of some song that puts me in a good light. You know… so that you trust my taste. Even if I had listened to that song a lot, just one would give you a twisted perception of my music preferences as a kid, as they were all over the place. I thought I’d give you a short story of my experience with music when I was little. I hope that my small throwback will encourage you to look back to when you were discovering your taste and allow you to appreciate the joy music brought to your young self.
As a child, you have little choice but to listen to what your parents pick. In my case, there were lots of Bulgarian folklore songs, classic rock, anything from the classic Latin and Italian hits from the 80s and 90s, and some Eurodance. Back then, that was just background noise for me while I was playing with my toys. The only clear memory I have is of really loving Coco Jamboo by Mr. President (I still kinda do). The real deal, however, was undoubtedly the Disney classics! Disney movies have probably paved the way for many kids to experience music in a whole new way for the very first time. Once passed the age where catchy rhythm is all it took to like a song, those movies show how music can also follow a storyline and convey different emotions. My favorite Disney movie is Anastasia and the song I’ll start this throwback with is Once Upon a December.
Once Upon a December from the movie Anastasia (1997)
I linked the Bulgarian version because that’s what I grew up with. Chances are if you grew up in a non-English speaking country, most of your first musical influences came from songs in your native language. And as you were a kid and you couldn’t buy records, cassettes, CDs or whatever the audio format was back then, most likely you heard these songs on radio or TV. Pop music can be very detrimental to not only shaping personal music preferences but influencing entire music genres. I’d love to get into this topic a little more, but I’ll leave it for another time. The point I’d like to make now is that what was played in the charts back in the early 2000s was the music I first started noticing and selectively listening to. Back then Bulgarian TV was really focused on showcasing Bulgarian pop artists through formats similar to Billboard Hot 100. That’s why when I think of that time, I can’t help but remember those songs as some of my favorites. For anyone interested in music in more “exotic” languages and likes the soft rock vibe of the 2000s, D2 is a modern classic in the hall of Bulgarian music that you could check out.
D2–100 години (100 Years)
Rock. I don’t usually like to name one “favorite” style of music but if my life depended on it, I’d say rock. Had I chosen to write this article about one song, it would’ve been the first rock song I fell in love with. And that’s simply because it was the first time I became truly obsessed with discovering more of a certain genre. I mentioned my parents played some classic rock when I was little, but that was my parents’ music. The music charts were what introduced me to the alternative scene of the 2000s and to one of the most influential bands of the time — Linkin Park. Their song Numb was one of the first songs I had burned on a CD and one of the first that gave me this kick of adrenaline only good music can give you. Linkin Park was the band that paved the path for me towards not only discovering rock and metal but also towards a never-ending hunger to find more music that gave me the same rush as theirs did.
Linkin Park — Numb
I was lucky because right about that time the internet was just starting to make music more accessible. I started listening to Slipknot, H.I.M, In Flames… Every new group of people I hung out with, would introduce me to new exciting artists I hadn’t listened to before. At some point, I started looking back and experiencing the incredible music of bands like The Doors and Whitesnake. But as I said, I wasn’t necessarily looking to discover more rock music only, I was looking for that rush of adrenaline. Next to Slipknot, I’d play some Eminem and DMX, throw in a little Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, and why not top everything off with a bit of Emocore, let’s say My Chemical Romance. That might sound like a really badly curated playlist but being so open to music really helped shape my personality, develop my creativity, and connect to different people.
I remember it was really shameful to have such diverse taste in music. If you listened to rock, you should only listen to the best rock bands. If you liked hip-hop — you were a “fake” when you liked a Metallica song. The thing is, that’s something adults tend to do as well — they might dismiss any music that’s not in their comfort zone. I guess what I want to say with that, is that music should be experienced in all its forms — just as a lot of us did when we were growing up. You’d get to discover amazing new artists, experience a whole bunch of different emotions, maybe even get to know new cultures. If my little throwback is any indication of what’s about to come, you can be sure I’ll try to explore as many genres as possible in my next articles. Meanwhile, go back in time to listen to the songs you liked as a kid! It might get a little cringy, but it will definitely be fun.
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