Mochas: the gateway drug. Thank goodness they’re not illegal, or else I’d be a gangster for life. The chocolate flavoring dominates your taste buds while offering a hint of bitterness to assure you that you are a) caffeinated and b) sophisticated. No more having to drink Mountain Dew to stay awake, and no more having to order hot chocolate because it’s the only hot drink that will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Once you discover the wonder of mochas, chances are you’re well on your way to the ultimate step of maturation: coffee. You can’t get anywhere in this world without yellow teeth and bad breath, don’t ya know? Well, the point of this article actually isn’t to rag on coffee-mongers. Rather, it’s to explore 3 ways in which music can be utilized as the link between two cultures just like mochas are. And the best part (about music, that is)? It’s fat free! So, here we go.

music evolution


1) Incorporating the old in the new: Whether you’re an old head who thinks my generation has replaced real music with meaningless noise, or you’re a tatted up, pierced through, cool son of a gun who thinks Millennials have evolved music into a new and improved species, YOU’RE WRONG. Any music aficionado knows that the songs grandma and grandpa jammed out to on their record players are inextricably tied to the songs we enjoy today. Technically speaking, studies have shown that just about all melodies are composed of the same ten chords. But who cares about technicalities? Not me. The proof is in the pudding. Not only do younger artists credit their elders as inspiration, they actually incorporate their work into their own songs. So say hello to jello my friends, because I’ve got some right here…

2) Mixing genres: There are predominantly two ways in which artists mix genres:

  • A) They collaborate with other musicians. This is kind of an obvious method and easy to identify for yourself. It’s what I call the Tootsie Roll Effect. Back in the day of why-did-my-mother-do-this-to-me bob cuts, I’d suck on lollipops just to get to the tootsie roll. Before I knew it, though, I actually started enjoying the lollipop part itself as I became accustomed to the texture and the taste. On a similar note, there are several songs I start out listening to specifically for the featured artist, i.e. Payphone by Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa. The song is kind of slow and blends into the rest of mainstream pop, so typically it wouldn’t hold my attention. However, I’ve waited it out so many times until the Wiz part comes in that I’ve grown to assimilate to the rest of society and enjoy the song.
  • B) Musicians often sample other artists’ music, which I mentioned earlier in the second audio recording. These pieces are a little harder to identify, so I’ll give you an example…

3) Mash-ups: Mash-ups are created by creative listeners rather than the artists themselves. A mash-up is a combination of two or more songs and can be done on your computer with some basic software know-how. I recently discovered the mash-up page on SoundCloud, which is a site for sharing music, beats, etc., and my life was changed forever. This past January, SoundCloud actually won the “Best International Startup” of the year at the 6th annual Crunchies, which celebrates the “most compelling startups, internet and technology innovations of the year.” All this to say, I’m not the only one who finds it wonderful. Anyways, here are some of my favorite mash-ups I found on the page…

You’re probably still wondering what all this has to do with mochas, so let me offer a more direct explanation. For some people, music is just something that fills the silence, so this doesn’t really apply. But to others, music is a very personal thing. It’s like an accessory worn to create a particular look. Maybe it’s edgy, maybe it’s classy, maybe it’s just different, but whatever it is, it’s a way of expressing who you are or what you feel. Thus, it carries the power to divide individuals with different tastes. However, when you look at the 3 examples I gave, you can see how music can instead serve as a bridge between cultures separated by time or style. It can teach you how to appreciate what other people prefer, which in turn helps you appreciate them. In other words, you can enjoy the sweet taste of chocolate while learning to value the bitterness of coffee. Having summed up my main argument, I leave you with a piece of advice: Don’t burn your tongue, don’t burn music, and don’t burn bridges.

music collage