Listen Up, Then Listen Again

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         There are a lot of albums from 10-20 years ago that when I listen to now sound better to me than almost anything else. My theory is that it’s all in the repetition.

I once dated a girl who honestly didn’t like getting new music.  Once I bought her a new album and she was disappointed.  She said it took her too long to get used to something new.  In a way she was onto something.  Some albums click right away.  Others you have to listen to repeatedly before you love them.   But if you listen to them enough they can become part of you.

When you listen to something enough times, you really get to know it.  You begin to hear and appreciate things you didn’t hear before.  You derive pleasure knowing that a certain bass line or guitar solo is coming up.  You can’t wait for a lyric or chorus. If you listen to it on a different stereo or headphones, it’s a different, even new, listening experience.

This is the danger in listening to bad music.  If you expose yourself to something long enough, you adjust and become used to it.  After a while, you might even come to like it. One of my darkest times when I found myself working at a warehouse and being forced to listen to the Backstreet Boys over the PA over and over and coming to the realization that I had inadvertently memorized the words.  Luckily I escaped liking the music.Sometimes my mp3 player will die on me.  I’ll scan through the radio dial and a song will come on the pop station and it sounds ok to me.  A song like Umbrella by Rhianna will come on and it doesn’t sound half bad to me.  If I listened to it enough, it might become my favorite song.  That’s too frightening for me to ever allow, I change the station.

In the old days, I had limited funds and limited access to music.  I could only carry so many albums with me so the good ones would get multiple listens.  Those are the albums I love even now.  Those are the albums that I will always own even if I don’t have them any longer.  I think it’s all due to the repetition.

In today’s world it’s limitless.  I barely listen to an album twice anymore because there is just so much.  Because of that few albums really stick with me anymore.

Should I stop listening to new music and stick to what’s good?  No.  There’s still so much new music to discover.  That would be giving up. What I need to remember is that it’s not the quantity, it’s the quality, and the repetition.

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