“I swear, I’m only going to download a few more songs,” he says to himself.
Just before descending into the rabbit hole of a rampant downloading spree, it’s easy to convince ourselves that we have any sense of self-control. That list of songs is “manageably” scattered across an assortment of platforms and somehow “This should take no time at all!” Just four songs you Shazam’d, a gigabyte of screenshots to refer to and seven songs written down in the notes section of your iPhone; an entire playlist of ‘liked’ tracks from Spotify, and another nine Youtube videos in the ‘watch later’ section. Factor in any sidebars that are recommended just for you and we’ve got a whole lot of time to kill!
We’ve all dug ourselves into a marathon of opening tabs on the Internet bar and clicking every Up Next video in sight. The projected twenty-something songs that we started with multiply exponentially and all at once. I’m tempted to call it overwhelming but at the same time it’s too much a rush.
Music is medicine after all and that makes it a drug too.
After racking up a sizeable bill on iTunes or shamefully ripping tunes from your favorite crummy torrent (is that how people illegally download still?) you wake up on the other side of an invigorating music binge. Then comes the purge. So you put the newly acquired playlist on repeat until the next bender.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve gotten lost in a search engine seeking an insatiable supply of music. Every click feels like the last one until another temptress of suggestions appears and seduces me. Of course there are worse problems to have. Can I even consider this a problem? I’m not so sure. And I certainly don’t know what the remedy is. But I do know this.
A professor once told me, “All drugs have one thing in common – they wear off.”
So too does music. It has a way of wearing off. And if you want to make it last longer, do something meaningful with it. One might say, put some intention into it. If that language bothers you (I’m right there with you…sometimes), try asking yourself what it is you like about each song you’ve discovered. There’s no way I expect anyone to close their eyes and have a conversation with every single song they download. I know I don’t. But in some way I’m kind of suggesting…why not?
Doing something meaningful with music can be anything you want it to be. Here are a few options that come to mind.
- Find an album and listen to it in it’s entirety. Top to bottom, front to back, in and out.
- Make a playlist for a friend, a crush, or yourself.
- Burn a CD for old times’ sake. Nothing says nostalgia like a legit mixtape. And it makes for a super cute gift to the right recipient.
- Write about it! Whether it’s for personal or public enjoyment.
- Share it. Especially if it’s newly released music! Support the artists you love.
- Look up the lyrics. Study them if you feel compelled to go the length. Please, for the love of music invest in the words and connect.
- Learn the lyrics (if applicable)…AND THEN SING ALONG!
- Find music with friends.
- Dedicate a time and give your full attention to listening. Light a candle or something. Make it an experience.
- Go to shows. Bring it into your life in a way that it won’t be forgotten. Make your new music the soundtrack to something you love.
Without trying, music has a way of embedding memory into our being.
Everyone goes through phases and revisits genres or artists that remind us what it means to feel. Whether its reminiscing on the past or laughing at the kind of shit we used to like, we will always relapse when it comes to music. So maybe it doesn’t wear off. But maybe with the way music is largely experienced now, we have to try a little harder.
I download more songs than albums, more singles than EPs, more parts than wholes. Something I’ve noticed from that is it’s more challenging to remember track titles or even artists this way. Sure, loads of artists have signature sounds or unmistakable vocals, but with a lot of electronic music you’re accountable for really knowing who is who and what is what. For that reason alone, I encourage a moment of pausing and actually assigning some greater significance to the music we seek. Here’s to loving the music you listen to. Happy listening everyone!
How do you bring more meaning to music? Share in the comments below! I’d love to know 🙂