There comes a point in our young adult lives where we find ourselves at a crossroads with who we are and who we’d like to be. Maybe the massive ego you’ve grown from telling people you’re an engineering major is starting to wear off, or maybe there are so many vegans around Los Angeles that you no longer feel special. Stripped of personal identity, what else is there to do but fixate on something new to feign a sense of belonging in an increasingly-disconnected world? Might we recommend becoming a music person? Well here at UCLA Radio, we know a thing or two about consuming music. Here’s an easy-listening guide on how to let people know that you’re really into those vibrating molecules of air that permeate our eardrums.
1. Have Spotify as your home screen
In public spaces, Spotify should ALWAYS be the default window on your laptop. How else will everyone in Kerckhoff know that you’re listening to that <1500 listeners, dormcore-y3k-shoegaze-dreampop artist? Your Spotify profile is analogous to your astrological moon sign: it reflects your deepest, most real self – which means you need to curate it meticulously. Share your listening history with all your friends, and make sure you give your playlists detailed titles that match their vibe, like “songs that remind me I’m scared of emotional intimacy because I’ve lost every person I’ve tried to love,” and “Bossa Nova Classics.”
2. Tap your feet to the rhythm of whatever song you’re listening to, all the time
A great place for this is in the middle of Powell; the rotunda provides great acoustics and the students who are “trying to study” will definitely appreciate your sick beats. Bonus points if you do a song with a quirky time signature like Radiohead’s “15 Step.” It will demonstrate your important music skills like 1) knowing what a time signature is, and 2) listening to Radiohead.
3. Hang out around the music school campus
The built environment might be one of the most important factors in developing who you are as a person, which is why you should build your presence into the Herb Alpert School of Music’s lovely campus. Everyone knows that those music students understand music on a deeper, more special level than anybody else, so why not live like them? Read in the sunlit Music Library, grab a matcha latte from the Music Cafe, hit your Stiiizzy in the Reflection Courtyard’s all-gender bathroom, and soak in all that potent music knowledge free-drifting in the air around you. It’s a very scientifically studied process of diffusion (trust me, I’m a South Campus major).
4. Get featured on @uclafits
UCLA fits is kind of UCLA Radio-adjacent in the sense that people on there look cool and hot and use the word “esoteric” and kind of scare me (this is the part where I confess that I don’t know what esoteric means but I’m in too deep to ask). If you’re deep into Westwood indie lore, don’t be afraid to casually mention that one of the admins used to be a Radio manager. Your social media footprint will do the heavy lifting for you and people will assume that you have good music taste by proxy.
5. Go to sporting events (for marching band)
No one actually understands how football works anyways, but everyone loves the Solid Gold Sound! The Bruin Marching Band is the real star of our athletics department: they cameoed in 500 Days of Summer! They have super sick Nike Air Max backpacks! They play “Butter” by BTS! Also, there was a marching band girl in my physics class last quarter and I thought she was really cool and wanted to be her friend and if she’s reading this she should like… groupme message me please.
6. Spend your weekends at house shows
Instead of trashy frat house music soundtracking your next situationship-meet-cute, let Westwood’s very own indie scene serve as a breeding ground for romance. Trade that beer-guzzling, biz-econ frat boy for a gen-Z hipster who has read bell hook’s All About Love. Sure, he’ll still be exhibiting extreme signs of codependency while simultaneously telling you he “doesn’t really believe in commitment,” but at least he’ll be cultured and knows the words to “Need2” by MyVeronica.
7. Learn a portable instrument
Anything small enough to carry in your pocket and loud enough to be annoying will do – a recorder, a kalimba, the dirt-crusted harmonica you found in a trash bag off of Strathmore and Landfair on your nightly mental health walk. Don’t be afraid to whip out that bad boy at any time of the day: while in line for food, on date night, even right after your partner drops your hand and tells you “we need to talk” with a somber look on their face. There’s never not a good time to show off your musical finesse and play a hot tune or two.
8. Realize that music is kinda overrated
If you guys have tolerated me for this long I think it’s time to admit that in the breadth of writing this guide, I’ve actually grown quite tired of music. It’s loud and overstimulating and it talks over all the other voices in my head (I miss listening to those guys). Plus, Radio people listen to so much niche music that it’s veered into the passé. If another person recommends to me a ten-minute experimental new-age jazz track that uses chimpanzees banging Nalgenes against rocks as a “primal percussive element,” I will get violent. I think I should just join one of the other cults on campus, like the climbing team or something. Liking rocks will be my new (and entire) personality. Rocks.