Melomania: An Abnormal Love For Music

Music for me is everything. It covers every spectrum. It can be healing, feeling more and more deeply, cheering up, hyping up. It is there for any emotion. It’s there for any day, good and bad. If I could sleep with my headphones on, I would.

I’ve always listened to music. I loved the Top 40, but I also loved raiding my dad’s CD collection because he had Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ and I remember being blown away. He also had a Pavarotti tape that I used to listen to. I had my very own CD player and I remember playing that Pavarotti tape at a very low volume with my ear against the speakers because no one else liked it.

For a couple of years I was in music school and I was learning to play the piano as well. I don’t play anymore, don’t really remember how to beyond practicing my scales or twinkle twinkle little star. That time gave me a new appreciation for classical music though and I really value that now I’m a bit older.

Then YouTube blew up and I discovered so much more. I got to know more than the usual MTV or TMF or the Top 40 played on every radio station in Belgium. I probably had the weirdest collection of liked videos.

Genre is something I don’t like to stick by. It’s too broad of a term because an artist might make an album that falls more into one genre but then over the years they develop and so does their music. I never understood the fact that fans want their favourite artist to stick to the same kind of music. It’s like only appreciating Laura Marling’s ‘What He Wrote’, without being happy and impressed with ‘Soothing’.

The hardest part, when I was a teenager and not a very brave one at that, was seeing that an artist I adored would come play in my country, but not finding anyone to go with me. At that time I was too scared to go by myself.

Then I started travelling, decided I didn’t care and started going by myself. I met so many nice people that way. It’s an incredible experience. This summer I even went to Paris by myself to go to a BTS concert. 

Going to a concert is like going to church. If the singer gets it right, the atmosphere, the fact that everyone is connected in that moment, it takes you higher places. Try listening to that song again later with your headphones in and it can make it even better, because you remember what it was like to be part of a group experiencing one big collective feeling.

Sometimes, when I’m sad I play the same song over and over and over. It’s not a way to torture myself, but it’s because at that moment all I need is that one song. I’m thinking of two in particular, ‘Sea’ by BTS and ‘A Gathering on 57th’ by The Paper Kites. Those two bring me in such a specific head space, it feels like the rough edges get softened and I can breathe again.

Now, with Spotify, YouTube and Soundcloud I’m living my best days. I’ve discovered K-pop and the entire Korean music industry, because I like to dig deep and find little jewels that are completely unappreciated and should be brought into the light. It’s almost as if I’m a miner and every day I bring out a little basket with new, shiny diamonds.

Lastly, for me at least, music is a way of connecting. It’s sharing songs with friends who appreciate different kinds of music. They might not add it to their Spotify playlist, but it gets a conversation going and one day you might find a song that you both enjoy.

Because music is meant to be shared. We all have chords within ourselves and we’re just waiting for that talented hand that is going to bring out the most beautiful melodies.

Ilse Van Den Heede
A writer with a slight coffee addiction and a tendency to find K-Indie gems in the YouTube rabbit hole.