Music and Musings: The freedom of emotion in electronic music

Mary Willson

A favorite musical genre says more about a person than any other cultural identifier out there. An individual does not choose their race, heritage, hometown or shoe size. Music choice is the one identifier that has the power to reveal culture, personality, passion and many additional personal dynamics.

This is a thought I have regularly as I people-watch crowds at different concerts I attend.


As a music writer and a volunteer for a local music organization, I find myself at indie rock, acoustic and sometimes metal shows regularly.

Yet, my favorite genre and the shows I choose to attend on my own are electronic DJ/producer shows. There has been much editorial comment about how electronic music is in a bubblethat will soon burst; that the genre as a whole is young, immature, and enamored by the superficial (

And while I do agree that the steady-and-true genres such as rock-and-roll have been entertaining fans, ensuing passion and giving a sense of purpose to the music industry for decades, the electronic genre can not be seen as only the champagne popping, sun glass wearing, mega-million salaried artists as the media portrays.

The genre is so much more, and it is my favorite.

Being able to project my own feelings onto a song, rather than having them set out for me through lyrics, is priceless in a world where I am being told what to feel, think and do constantly through the media.

It is a generalization, but I feel safe in saying that the majority of electronic music does not have choruses of lyrics, like most other genres. Words may be dispersed here and there, undertones of anthems come out of the beats and sometimes there are two or three verses in a song. Generally it is the synth, the beats, the tempo and other instruments implemented, and the overall emotion of a song that an electronic fan experiences.

I love that electronic music does not have lyrics, because it gives me power as a music consumer to find my own meaning. I can feel sorrow, joy, elation, or melancholy through my own personal journey at that time. I can project my self into the song, threading my experience into each beat and drop while letting myself float through the down-tempo breaks.

When I am at a rock or hip-hop show, I feel as if I am being performed at, rather than being a part of the show.

I understand the importance of all genres of music. Not only do legends such as John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Tupac Shakur and Michael Jackson inspire musicians from all genres, but electronic musicians many times remix beloved songs created by artists who came before them.

I respect all music fans. The important part about music is how it brings communities together.


When it comes to my own tastes, as a creative person, I thrive off of letting my mind and emotions have freedom in my own experiences.

Therefore, listening and thinking rather than chanting lyrics is my paradise for music consumption. All fans have their own journeys into their preferred genres, and every part of them is important.

For me, lyric-less tunes jive for me in a way that even the sweetest serenade cant.

Mary “M. Watts” Willson has a radio show also called “Music and Musings” every Sunday afternoon from 1-3 on KCSU 90.5 FM. Here she plays electronic music that is inspired from the local scene. Follow her on Twitter @mary_willsonand check out her “Music and Musings” blog at