Thoughts on music, memory and wine

Abbey Whittington, Columnist

As I sat on my “art stool” working on a project during my senior year of high school, my art teacher, Kate Bretzlaff, broke the classroom’s silence with a carefully selected playlist.

Before she revealed her personalized setlist, she said something to the class that stuck with me: “You should feel lucky to hear my music. My music tastes are like a fine wine selection.”

This comparison reflects Bretzlaff’s sassy, quirky personality, but it also speaks to how many people view their taste in music.

What we listen to is something we hold dearly because it plays into our identities. They are also attached to time periods.

Our parents play music around us, and usually this influences our taste, whether that means liking the same or opposite artists.

The love for music develops as we grow in and out of trends and simply experience life, which is really what makes each of our playlists.

Our mind holds these harmonies and lyrics for intense moments of nostalgia. One word or note can instantly take you back to a memory.

As we continue to make these memories with music as an accessory of time, we change our preferences too.

Which ties back to the comparison of musical tastes being a “fine wine.”

Music has a plethora of genres and subgenres with their own set of flavors, and each person has their “fine wine” which most likely includes a collection of personally impactful tunes.

I remember the moment I realized I had a favorite song, which I never had before. I grew up listening to a mix of genres including but not limited to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, System of a Down, “Hey Ya” by Outkast (on repeat) and a lot of Jimi Hendrix.

But the first song I selected as part of my fine wine selection was “Jane Says” by Jane’s Addiction. Even though I do not like most of their music, I wanted to turn this song inside out, over and over.

When I first heard the song, I had a much different feeling and understanding of it than I do now.

My initial understanding was somewhat innocent; I knew the song was about a woman being mistreated and trying to escape, and I was not totally wrong, but I definitely was far off.

The song is about a woman who falls in love with her drug dealer and wants to stop using, but she keeps telling herself she will quit tomorrow and stays in the abusive relationship.

I found this ironic considering my family’s background with drugs and the abusive relationships I witnessed and endured growing up.

Although I do not like the song more or less after finding this out, I find myself constantly running into the tune randomly.

Since we attach our music to memories, we protect our taste like a first-born child, which is why there is so much discourse about what music is better.

We all have our own “fine wine.”

Abbey Whittington is a junior journalism major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].