Do you have an “all-time favorite” song? Me neither. I could never choose just one. Just like a welcome fragrance has the ability to transport us to moments in time, so do songs. Whether it’s the words, the beat, or the memories made listening to it, I have different favorite songs for different occasions. Some last a lifetime and some last for just a little while. Sometimes it surprises me which ones have lasted and which ones have faded away.
When I was a teenager, I remember constantly arguing with my mother over control of the stereo. This was a two-fold quarrel. Number one. It’s her car, and her stereo she would tell me. Usually followed by, “when you have your own car then you can pick what we listen to.” So aggravating at the time but I can see the sense in it now that I’m grown.
The second battle (if my sister and I did manage to commandeer the radio or disc player) was over how one was meant to listen to music. Specifically, my mother insisted that one was not supposed to “skip around” and should instead, listen to the entire album as a collective piece. This was an important lesson as well.
I wonder if it has any bearing however, on today’s young music listeners who largely only know picking and choosing. I listened to both cassettes and CDs but most of my mature listening was done during the CD era. I can recall any time I got a new CD, I would spend an afternoon listening through the entire album, carefully examining the elaborate artwork enclosed in the case, and picking out my favorites which, soon become ingrained in my head. A CD became a mash of carefully selected track numbers that I would spin through with muscle memory.
How we listen to music has changed
Obviously, my mother’s philosophy stems from her initial music experiences where there wasn’t an option to skip around. You very simply, let the music play.
Sad to say, I can’t remember the last time I bought or listened to an album in its entirety. If I do, it’s because I’ve pulled up an old favorite and nostalgia invites me to simply, “let it play.” It’s a much more relaxing way of enjoying music instead of constantly thinking about “what’s next.”
So to avoid the anxiety of an unwelcome “next up,” I will cut off the circuit entirely by looping the current favorite over and over again until the sound of it makes me want to barf.
Sometimes I wonder, if these extreme listening patterns mean a song won’t last or if it renders it a shallow placeholder. I guess only time will tell. I’ve tried really hard to not repeat my “current favorite” songs and remember my mother’s “lessons” as I’ve gotten a bit wiser but alas, sometimes I do fall off the wagon. And, when I just can’t take it anymore, the old stuff is on hand to ease my tired soul.
So here’s my “new fave” and an “old fave” that are circling around in my head these days. They’re not on repeat. I promise. I just play them more frequently than the others that I can’t be bothered with at the moment.
am I doomed?
What’s your favorite song? Or are you like me, caught in between and constantly bouncing between two ways, the old and the new, of listening to music? I wonder, if one is better than the other. What do you think?