Positive escapism from present evils

Jonathan Hatchett, Staff Writer

It was a single Vine that changed it all. 

Growing up, I had little use for music. My friends and I would talk about the seven songs in rotation on the radio as if they were the only ones in existence. Based on what I had heard, I had no sincere opinion. Not that there was not a song we deemed “good” that popped up every once in a while, it was just not often enough. I thought I had heard all there was to hear. 

I wish that I remembered the day that it happened. I had come home and pulled up the beloved app Vine on my phone, as this was tradition for the end of the day. I came across a sound that, to me, was like angels descending from heaven. 

You know that scene in “Ratatouille” where Remy describes the intermingling and depth of the flavors of food that he gets to consume? Colorful wisps and undulating shapes appear to illustrate his euphoria. That is what I felt from a six-second clip of a song. I had to look it up. 

I scoured the comment section. This was before the days of TikTok and its prominent promotion of music, the names of which now scroll at the bottom of each video. Needless to say I found what I was looking for after searching for an embarrassingly long amount of time. I was determined to sail after this siren song no matter how long it took. 

My Spotify account had been collecting dust up until then, a gift from my brother that had fallen into disuse. I ran to it in this moment hoping that the entire thing would be just as good as the snippet I had witnessed. God, it was. 

This was a momentous occasion. You see, before this only movies and books had been my solace. In discovering this new sound I had discovered a new world to escape to. 

Webster’s Dictionary defines escapism as: habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine. The term is often vilified and I feel it does not get the respect it deserves. 

If one sees escapism as a daring feat, like that of Houdini, it gains an air of urgency. It is a matter of life or death. Imagine life is a tank of water and you are shackled within, to escape is to live. 

In times like this past year, it was helpful — healthy even — to escape from the present evils. Music was this escape for me.

This positive escapism has been a time-capsule among other things. For those familiar with the works of Rick Riordan, it is like in “The Red Pyramid”, where Carter Kane accesses the Egyptian underworld like a pocket dimension to store his belongings. It is as if songs can store memories. When played, each is the song that changed my world once again. 

It has been six years since then. In discovering more and more music, I have in turn discovered more of myself. For each emotion, favorite bit of clothing, ideal meal and however many more etceteras, there is a soundtrack attached to every bit of me. 

Life is definitely not all that I hoped for it to be, but music makes it better. Why be depressed when the depression of a few piano keys can make the most beautiful sound? Why be high-strung when the strum of a few guitar strings can remove every worry? Why be serious when you can make cheesy instrument puns?

Most of what I have learned from positive escapism in music is introspection. It seems that the greatest to live reached into the depths of themselves to create what made the world easier to exist in. I am far from an artist, but I now seek to know myself. I hope that, in finding who I am, that the world that I inhabit no longer needs escaping.