How Do You Listen to Music?

June 23, 2008

When I’m listening to music at work, I find myself neurotically re-checking to see if my headphones are plugged into my computer properly. Sometimes I will remove my headphones just to reassure myself that the music is not being broadcast from my laptop speakers. I do this not because I’m embarrassed by my musical tastes; I’m not. I have a decent musical palate. It’s just that I listen to good music, but in the worst sort of way.

I check to see if anyone else can hear my music.

I listen to the same song over and over and over for hours on end until the song eventually blurs into a monotonous background drone. HHHHHHMMMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMM. It is not at all charming and I admit that listening to music in this tedious and unconventional fashion has devastating effects on personal relationships – hence my headphone neuroticism. I’m not always proud of this and I tend to guard my iTunes library in order to prevent people from seeing the ridiculously high play count of certain tracks. I can’t help it.

People listen to music differently. Some people make eclectic mixes, some listen by genre, some by musical attributes. Me, I exhaustively listen to a single track until I’ve acquired all of the musical nourishment I need. Then I will move on to a new song, like the Borg.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t listen to all music this way. I love the radio and I love a good album that tells a story. However, listening to a song on repeat helps me concentrate – it’s like having a motivational soundtrack to whatever task I’m working on. And you know, if I hear a new song that I really like, I just can’t help but listen the shit out of it.