Athens Review, Athens, Texas

April 4, 2014

Music helps deal with life’s situations, good or bad

Joe Elerson
The Athens Review

Athens — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”

With music, it can help us deal with tragic situations, help us deal with the loss of a loved one, make us want to dance, make us want to sing along to the words, or help us calm down after a long day of work.

No matter what type of music we are listening to, whether it be rock, pop, Christian, country, rap, techno, classical, opera or numerous other types of music, we can always find the style that is right for us.

I know when I have no idea what I want to write about, or if I need to focus on a task at hand, as soon as I turn on my music, my creative juices start flowing, and I do some of my best work.

I have enjoyed different types of music since I was born as an ‘80s rock kid. I would go to concert at a very young age seeing rock bands like Poison, Warrant, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica and listening to albums and tapes of my favorite bands.

When I went to kindergarten, I was the kid with the rat tail and a blue-jean jacket with a big rock band patch on the back of it, proud to be wearing that jacket.

I still listening to those bands to this day, and have a CD collection of nearly 200 CDs, or digital music compilations that I listen to throughout the week.

I am the one that will have the tunes up loud, and enjoy singing along to the songs I am listening to, if I am in my car or at my house.

My personal favorites are classic rock, current rock bands and Christian bands. You will hardly ever hear me listening to country music.

That does not mean that I do not like that type of music, but it is just not one that I see myself listening to on a daily basis.

I remember going to lots of festival-type concerts where you would spend between four hours or a whole day getting to see between 10-to-20 bands, and enjoying different styles during the shows.

I think one of the greatest things about music is that you can learn a lot about a person by what they listen to when you are talking with them.

It is awesome when you can mention a musical group that you like, and they have the same feeling about that band.

I know anytime I can put on my headphones, and listen to my music, is a time when I feel at-ease, and ready to tackle any project in front of me.

I have even had the opportunity in the past when I was a member of the Eastern Hills Church of Christ here in Athens, that I would listen to Christian songs to help me with a lesson that I was teaching the youth group.

Those were times when I felt like bands like Mercy Me or other Christian bands could deliver the words better than I could. That would usually be the opening to a lesson plan that I would give, either for a single night, or for a series of lessons during a summer.

I know, now that I am in my 30s, that I appreciate music a lot more than I did in my younger years. I can now figure out what styles I really enjoy listening to, and what music will help me get in a zone to work on my projects.

I think Bono, the singer of the band U2, said it best when he said, “Music can change the world, because it can change people.”

I hope whatever music you are listening to is one that can change you for the better and not for the worse.

I know what I listen to hopefully makes me a better person, since I try to see the good in everyone that I encounter.

Enjoy the day, and listen to your favorite tune.

It might just bring a smile to your face on a gloomy day.

Joe Elerson is a staff writer for the Athens Review. He can be reached at