November 23, 2010 at 3:44 pm (Uncategorized)

There is little in this life as beautiful, as frustrating, or as enigmatic to me as music. As I sit listening to a mix of Sara Bareilles and Kanye, I wonder: what makes music good? And there is a difference between music that is technically executed well and music that touches a person’s soul, as there is a difference between music that has a catchy beat and something that leaves a lasting impression.

I think that’s my main issue with artists like Ke$ha. It’s not like I change the station when tick tock comes on the radio; it’s a fun song. But music like that seems to be just a corporate invention–plug in any blonde who can talk-sing over a beat and then autotune the he’ll out of her. Maybe she samples her own beats and writes the music, but it doesn’t seem like it. There are plenty of hip/hop and rap songs that resonate with me, but certainly there’s a lot of drivel.

Which leads me to my next thought. How do I make good music? How much do you have to love it to do music? Certainly in an unprofessional sense, but maybe in terms of trying to do something with it. I see so many of my friends trying to make music their lives, and I occasionally wonder if I’m not just a coward going into something else. I love politics, but it seems like music is an arena where you can touch people truly, and politics has a way of crippling even the most noble intentions.

Then there’s the question of what I’m good at. Something I’ve struggled with for a long time is that I’m good at many things, but not truly great at any one particular thing. I know I can write good policy and make the world a better place, but is that the best way I can improve the world? I could get better at singing and maybe touch people’s lives that way too. It’s difficult to say which one is more worthy of pursuit. The course is fairly set in that I’ll graduate with a degree in political science, and most likely get my masters in public policy as well, but I could always try my hand at music anywhere in there. When I’m singing, it’s like another side of my soul that I don’t normally get to see. I can be an expression of joy and share that with the rest of the world. I’m also at a point where I feel I have a more or less accurate picture of myself as a vocalist. I overstated my abilities in high school, and I probably undervalued them the first year and a half or so here at school. I’m a fairly talented tenor with a good, but not great range. I have my on and off days, and I think my lack of technical vocal training causes me to be somewhat inconsistent.

I know I love music, and I know I love politics. It’s hard to know how to balance competing passions, but I’m glad I know what my options can be at least. Some people I know never really figure out what they wanted to do with themselves. Having passions is important.

And that’s what I think about when a snowstorm traps me in Moscow. Also, writing on an IPhone is not ideal, so you know.



  1. Paige Holly said,

    I will always love to hear you talk about your passions. I don’t see why are can’t do both and be AWESOME at both. You’ll write wonderful policies and help people improve their lives, and share your joy of music in some way. Time will tell. You’re such a wonderful singer, and I love to listen to you. But you already knew all this. ā¤

    • Paige Holly said,

      That first “are” should be a “you.” Oopsies! Must be the medicine kicking in, because you just KNOW I never make mistakes like that. šŸ˜‰

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