Healing power of a good iTunes library

As a young and dramatic generation, we like to say we've seen some terrible times. We'd like to think that we've gone through the wringer, seen glimpses of depression and fought hardships.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I have been to rock bottom.

My freshman year as a Sun Devil was spoiled by the end of a long-distance, high school layover relationship.

More specifically, I was dumped. Hard.

I'll spare you the details. It might sound corny, but emotional tragedies like that are the defect of young hearts.

I wasn't eating, my grades suffered and my friends and family worried about me.

Two months after my "big breakup," my world was struck yet another tragedy. On Feb. 26, 2010, Jun Seba was killed on the Shuto Expressway freeway in Japan.

Jun Seba, also known by the moniker "Nujabes," was a Japanese hip-hop producer known for his relaxing style and arrangement of jazz samples into hip-hop tracks.

His untimely death shook the hip-hop community, not just in Japan but all over the world. Selfishly, I was even more devastated at the combined loss of my relationship and favorite musical producer.

For several days, I listened to nothing but Nujabes's discography. First, I was upset. Eventually, I calmed down. By the end of day three, I realized something — I wasn't just recovered from Nujabes's death, but also from my breakup. At last, I was happy again.

Maybe it was the help I got from friends or maybe it was my schoolwork keeping me busy. But to this day, I look back on the hardest time of my life and thank Nujabes for lifting me out of a three-month depression.

Music is not just a tool for entertainment or background noise, nor is it just a profession for the elite to study and perform. In terms of those without formal music education, music is the manifestation of expression.

But not just expression of its creator, mind you. Music is also the expression of the listener. It can be whatever we want it to be.

There are songs we listen to when we're excited beyond measure, when we're head-over-heels in love, when we're nervous for the future and when things are so dark we can't imagine a better tomorrow.

Whatever music we choose to hear, it will always connect us. I am thankful for what music has done and continually does for me.

Which is why every February, along with those in the hip-hop community, I remember to listen to Nujabes. I can think back to a time when things in my life weren't so great and remember how there's always help if I wind up there again.

I challenge everyone to consider their musical libraries. Is it packed with Justin Bieber, because it's catchy? Or is there an album on your iPod that has changed your life?

I know there is, for me. Nujabes, rest in peace.


Reach the columnist at mschan1@asu.edu or follow him at @MorganSukotto


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