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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Amelia Kashian
Amelia Kashian
Features Editor

Being passionate is one of the best parts of being human, and I am glad that writing has helped me recognize that. I have been writing stories since I was a little girl, and over...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

There is power in great music

I watched the Book of Eli over winter break, and the post-apocalyptic hero devises a way to listen to his iPod while the Mad-Max world around him burned in madness.  I’m not fond of the apocalyptic fetish, it scares me to live in a generation where zombies and a bombed-out earth are fascinating, but coping with the end of the world as we know it would be better with twenty gigabytes of music.

This neo-luddite will confess a gratification in the mass availability of music in this technological age.  When pirating was still regulated to stories, I would use the library to copy albums onto my computer and burn a CD, but now that is unnecessary with the Internet and iPod.  Today we have the largest collection of music available through computers and handheld devices.  As TV and the internet keep us busy in the winter wonderland that is Marquette, let us not forget to give our eyes a rest and find relief in melodies.

I play music almost constantly.  My favorite medium is live music as it is the most unmediated form, but vinyl sounds best in a dorm. I listen to my iPod in bed, my computer plugged into speakers during the day, and vinyl whenever I prefer the old-fashioned needle to groove route of deep scratchy fidelity.  My favorite album, Animal Collective’s Strawberry Jam, must have over 300 plays.  I’m the guy who plays what he’s listening to over and over until something better materializes.  I’m also the one sits down with a record and lyric website to maximize the poetry of lyrics, an activity brought about by the sacrificial death of the physical album and liner notes.

Music has power and energy.  It may predate language, I’m not sure, but cultures of old and new have used music to create feelings of rhythm, beat and pleasure.

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From pre-civilized percussion and vocals to Mozart to Chuck Berry telling Beethoven to roll over to the John Birch Society protesting the Beatle’s cosmic vibrations that sent people into hysteria to the synthesized and sampled dance tunes of today, music has always been vital to society as art, a form of worship or something to move to.  Music Therapy attests to this power.  Before associations of music therapy, there were slaves on ships rowing to songs and slaves in the American south singing resistance and salvation, and then the youth of America found an identity in the grooves of rock and roll and jazz during the early 1900s which has branched off into modern variations of music today.  Music can relax the mind, energize the body, and resonate in the soul. When was the last time surfing the net or watching TV did that for you?

Music should not only be reduced to background noise or awkward silence relief.  It certainly can function as that, but the power of music is found in active listening, which is the best way to respect an artist.  Following lyrics and listening to entire albums straight through is a way to do this, and in our society, so taken by the visual stimulation of screens, limiting the flood of media to the ear drums is a great way to wind down.

There’s a lot of music out now, and even more available from the past.  The accessibility of music on the Internet may swamp us in a new flood of auditory stimuli, but it allows us to tap into recordings that just 15 years ago would’ve been impossible to come across.  For the music connoisseur, like the book worm, there is no such thing as enough. Plug in the speakers, turn away from the laptop, turn off the TV and dig the jams.

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