How I learned what it means to be a music fan

Categories: Longform

Flickr user Nickolai Kashirin

The first time I met with my doula, she asked me about all of my feelings and fears about going into labor, about what was important to me. Much to her surprise, I told her one of those things was music.

But she was supportive. She told me I should make two playlists to help set the mood. One should be soft and mellow, designed to help me relax and calm down. The other should be heavy and fast, with music that would elevate my energy levels.

I thought about those playlists every day in the weeks leading up to my due date. I've always been a playlist connoisseur, starting with mixtapes and moving on to burned CDs before embracing the digital version. They're all important to me, because music has always been a central part of my life. Looking back, I tie different events and experiences to particular albums and sounds. There was the breakup where nothing seemed more appropriate than U2, the death when Pink Floyd helped sustain me, and the intercontinental move as a teenager that was punctuated with punk-rock angst and dissatisfaction. When I hear that music now, I'm not just transported to a different time and place; I also feel the same emotions I felt. I am that person once again.

Brandon Marshall
You won't have the X's forever.

I've evolved, and so has my taste -- but that's no surprise. My relationship with music has always been dynamic. Still, I thought certain things about it would always be true. I couldn't imagine a time when I wouldn't voraciously seek out new bands at small and unconventional venues. I believed I'd always care about the playlist.

And my doula and I were talking about a momentous occasion, so I'd clearly have to comb through my music library to ensure that every deserving song was included. There were other concerns: Did I want full albums, or a smorgasbord of tracks? How selective should I be? What would be the soundtrack for the birth of my child?

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I was only a child in the 90's and, unfortunately, missed out on the amazing gift of experience that the decade became for very many music lovers. But I find that I've grown with music being a part of my being since the very beginning and have experienced it very similarly to how you have described it in your article. Although I've not yet experienced pregnancy, which I know it is an experience of which there is no equivalent to, I grew up very close to an older cousin of mine (by 13 years) who now has three beautiful girls, ages 17, 12 and 5. I'm 25 and in that family I was like my cousin's younger sister but also the girl's older sister. I spend so much time with these girls and I remember as, especially the eldest, got older the more and more music would play a role between us. I would give her songs of my past and current obsessions and she would keep me up to datee on new hip music. We eventually started goung to shows together and now that she's almost 18, I'm sure many more are in our future. But as these girls grow, I find that each one of them loves a different genre of music but all three of which are influences of me and my eclectic music obsession. I find myself reliving my past and "hearing it for the first time again" when I share it with them. I have this same feeling when I share one of my favorite movies with them that perhaps without me they would have never even heard of.

I'm sorry for my rambling, but I saw myself in your article and you put into words how the importance of music to someone like us not only is but how it feels as we live it everyday. Amazing article, amazing story. Congrats on your baby, I hope you're both well and enjoying the beginning of a lifetime of amazing music together.

PS forget that guy above, it's people like him that make their "born and bred, running through their blood" hometowns look and sound obnoxious and terrible when you'd think since they claim to love it so much and are so hardcore dedicated to it


Having travelled down that path and reached the empty nest, I have been thrilled to be able to renew my love affair with music and to discover a whole new world of music. I was right there with you at the NiN concert.  Enjoy the ride!

John McLaughlin
John McLaughlin

I don't want a backbeat editor who is not from Denver, CO. If you didn't grow up here, you don't know shit about our scene. You should be asking me questions not trying to tell me things.


whoops I cut myself off but I meant to say...

"you'd think since they claim to love it so much and are so hardcore dedicated to it that they'd be trying to give it the best reputation that they could."


Wise words. I mean, every editor/writer for every publication is "from" that respective city, right? And the Colorado music scene has remained the same year after year, right? Hasn't changed a bit the last couple decades. Only a person living here since birth can share their opinion of it, right?

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