By Rikki Dubois

I’m 16 years old and I’m alone in my room. I’m sitting on my bed, doing my homework and on the record player there is Styx or Foreigner or maybe KISS. I’m listening to my music, minding my own business, when there’s a knock on my door.

I look up and then hear the screaming from my mom. “TURN DOWN THAT NOISE”.

Now, I’m annoyed. Noise? How can she call this “noise”? There are some outstanding guitar licks, exciting drum solos, a heavy bass that underlines the music and great lyrics to create a wonderful  melody.  “Noise?” I humphed to myself. She’s got a lot to learn about great music. I am truly annoyed, but I turn it down from seven to six. Hmmph.

But now, looking back, I wonder. I wonder if, when my mom listened to Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis, her mom or dad told her to “Turn down that noise.” I wonder if she was as annoyed as I was. I also wonder, is this a generational thing?

A little while ago, my partner and I were driving in my car, listening to a top 40 station, when a rap song came on. I quickly changed the channel and said, “I don’t know how anyone can listen to that. It’s just noise to me.” And there it was. I used the “N” word to describe music. I was stunned after hearing what came out of my mouth.

So, I ask again, is it a generational thing? My grandparents did not like Jerry Lee and Little Richard; my mom doesn’t like Foreigner or KISS; and I don’t like rap. But, somehow, I think that’s too simplistic. Through the years, I’ve enjoyed and purchased Tragically Hip, Nickelback, Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars. Yes, I see the pattern that they are mostly rock bands, but I also enjoy Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Meghan Trainor.

My partner is the same age as I am and she does not care for AC/DC, whereas I love them. As for KISS, she likes “I Was Made For Loving You,” but other than that, I doubt she likes anything else from them.

Here is my theory about music and noise: The Oxford dictionary describes noise as “A sound, especially one that is loud or unpleasant or that causes a disturbance.”

Using this definition, noise is any sound you find unpleasant. I may find a bird chirping in my tree at 5:30 in the morning to be pleasant, but my neighbour might find that bird to be making too much noise.  In applying this to music, to me, rock music with the electric guitars, drum solos and heavy bass is enjoyable and maybe even pleasant, whereas certain types of country music and rap are noise.

If you’re alone in your room and you’re dancing to “Uptown Funk” and somebody knocks on your door and says, “What’s that noise?”, look at them and say, “I’m too hot (hot damn), Called a police and a fireman, I’m too hot (hot damn), Make a dragon wanna retire man.”  And remember, noise is just a state of mind.


Article by Rikki Dubois, a transgendered writer from Winnipeg. Her book Muffy was Fluffy helps children understand what it means to be transgendered. Order it today from McNally Robinson.

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