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A Letter from the Editor

Music might be one of the only art forms that is truly ubiquitous. Ethnomusicologist Bonnie Wade explains that “every known group of people in the world exercises their creative imaginations to organize sound in some way that is different from the way they organize sound for speech.”

In other words, every culture has some manifestation of music. Every last one. It’s the closest thing we have to a universal language, I think.

But despite that, or perhaps because of it, we have a diverse appreciation for music. For some, music is intellectually complex and reveals gradually unfolding structures. For others, it transports them into mental and emotional states of elevation and melancholy. Still, for others, it possesses a visceral immediacy, inspiring movement and dance. For most of us, it’s some combination of all of these things.

And though there are as many ways to appreciate music as there are genres, we know deep down that one kind of music isn’t objectively better than another. Because there isn’t an objective position from which to make such a claim. That’s revealed when people ask you about music. Because they don’t ask “if” you like music, they ask “what kind?” And whether you favor Brahms, the Beatles, or the Biebs, we can all agree on one thing: music is awesome.

Music is awesome because it provides context for a time and place in our lives. It offers nostalgia in a way that few other senses do and, through something as easy as hitting the play button, it gives us a way to explain and recreate that feeling. Music also helps us dream for the future. To aspire to things on the horizon. It also helps us lean into the present. From love to anger and everything in between, music helps us channel our emotions. To feel more deeply. Music helps us, as one of my good friends likes to say, to “feel some sort of way”.

And then at the same time, music is also incredibly tangible. It’s black skinny jeans and long hair. It’s that creaky piano in your grandma’s basement. That pickup you drove down Highway 1 the summer after junior year. That girl from Venice Beach with the leather jacket and full sleeve of ink. And the taste of her lipstick from the last time you saw her.

So, from our cover story with the incredibly talented Other Lives to making a case for why you need a great set of home speakers, our 12th issue is dedicated to those individuals, brands, and products that help us experience life more melodiously. That help us channel our inner rockstar and live with a little more swagger. That help us to slow down and breathe and remember that life is as complex and rich and emotive as music itself. Full of chaos and order. Bright melodies and big basslines. Melancholy soul and top 40 frivolity. And that no matter what comes our way, sometimes the best response is to put on your favorite album, press play, and to simply feel some sort of way.

Ian Deming, Editor-in-Chief