I’ve been listening to music more, recently, than I have in the last year or so. It’s not that I’ve been against listening to music during that time, more that I haven’t had as much opportunity for all manner of reasons — not least of which has been the fact that I’ve been watching more television and more movies, and there’s only so much time to take in new things.
But I’ve missed music. There was a time, a long, long time ago, when music was my life — I was in my 20s and going to local record stores was a twice a week, three times a week phenomenon. This was, literally a different time, pre-internet, with me listening to the radio all the time to discover new sounds, but the record store served a similar purpose; I’d buy things with abandon based on reviews, half-listens or simply cool looking sleeves and hunker down with them, listening over and over because that was what I did. I studied music, over and over again.
That changed for all manner of reasons; my priorities changed, my life changed. There was less time and opportunity to do what I’d been doing before — I stopped living alone, and merely having conversations and co-existing with someone whose patience for new and unknown sounds was far lesser than mine was something that shifted my focus — and, sure, I missed it but there were other things to focus on, I found.
Plus, it simply got harder to listen to music, somehow; the move from CDs to mp3s and then to services like Spotify ironically paralyzed me a bit. There was so much choice that I’d find myself retreating to the familiar more often than not, and being less likely to find things I’d never heard before, or even listen to things I rarely did. I became my own greatest hits machine, unintentionally.
It was a rediscovery of old CDs that has reignited my interest in listening to music, and prompted me to want to be counterintuitive and buy new ones, burn new ones. To play them in the background again as I do the everything else of life and let the sounds sink in. Perhaps it’s another form of retreat to ways of old, but it feels like one that will let me push forward again; it feels new in unexpected, welcome ways. It feels exciting.