Menifee Plugged In: No Matter What, It's All About the Music

Editor's note: Today we welcome Neil Kristjansson as a new columnist for Menifee 24/7. In his weekly "Menifee Plugged In" column, Neil will write about two things of interest to most of the younger generation -- music and electronic gaming. Neil has lived in Menifee most of his life. During that time, his taste in video games and music has grown and shaped his experiences in the community. He aspires to build a career in journalism around his interests.

By Neil Kristjansson

There’s something magical about the first album you get -- or the first song you learn all the words to. The ones that get stuck in your head and force you to listen to them on repeat until they’re out. It’s all music.

Music. The universal art. Well, it’s not the only one, but it’s definitely my favorite.

What defines it? In my opinion, it could be as simple as banging on pots and pans in a rhythm. As much as the metalheads hate rap or the rappers hate pop, it’s all music. That’s what’s so great about it. Genres and subgenres aside, they’re all art in their own form.

I remember being 4 years old, listening to the Backstreet Boys and just jamming out. I wasn’t some musical prodigy, I didn’t care about lyrics or chord progression – all I knew was what made me want to bob my head and memorize the words.

Backstreet’s back, alright.

Those words echoed through my head and through the walls for days straight. It was just so catchy and fun.

Of course, as I matured, so did my taste in music. Up until fifth grade, all I knew was pop. I knew whatever played on the radio. I remember my father and I would drive around listening to anything, from The Doors to Linkin Park.

One thing, I don’t know why, it doesn’t even matter how hard you try.

At the time, I had no idea who Linkin Park was, but those words stuck in my head for years. The whole song, front to back – and it’s still in there today.

By middle school, I was into classic rock: Queen, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin. I wasn’t old enough to understand it or explore it entirely, but I knew it was good music. I loved it. My taste started to dwindle after a while, though. My tunnel vision wore the rope that tied my tastes thin, and I had to venture into new territories.

System of a Down, Marilyn Manson, Linkin Park? I was certainly beginning a phase of angst.

The more I grew, so did my taste in music. I’m an adult now, but I still have so much left to explore – literally and musically. I’ve come to a point where music is music and I appreciate it for what it is. I’ve settled into the territories of whatever sounds good to me, whatever draws me in, and relates to me and my life.

It isn’t about what’s darkest, heaviest, or fastest. I don’t care about the high equalization on a kick drum, and I don’t care about the masterful picking of a guitarist. I make music of my own, it’s something to understand in order to play it, but a listener shouldn’t care. They’re there to listen and appreciate. What’s to judge?

I have my favorites now. They vary in genre, from Nine Inch Nails to David Bowie. Ambient to rap. Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” to Purcell’s “Dido’s Lament”. It’s universal. It’s art. It’s the beginning of eras and memories.

It’s music, and it’s good. Damn good.

Neil Kristjansson's "Menifee Plugged In" column will appear each Monday on Menifee 24/7. He welcomes your comments here or though email at


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