Wednesday, April 15, 2015

you take the cards that you're dealt

I've already written a post about my love addiction obsession with Dry the River's two albums. But I have to be pretty honest here: I haven't listened to much of anything else in the past six weeks. I mean, I haven't even had much of a desire to listen to anything else since March 7.

Now, look, this isn't really major news. I've binged on a lot of bands in my time. I have an addictive personality. (It's the reason why I don't trust myself to have children; I've loved a lot of bands that I've quickly tired of.) But a lot has been said for binging on television shows, about sitting in your pajamas on your couch for an entire weekend and watching all six seasons of Lost but where are the articles about spending an entire Saturday listening to Shallow Bed? (If there's someone else other than my best friend and I doing that, point me in their direction because clearly we need to become friends.)

Anyway, this isn't about Dry the River, they're just my band of choice right now. (I swear, I cannot start my day without listening to "Weights and Measures" lately. I tried to yesterday but after a few songs, I needed to go back to it. It was almost like an addiction.) It's about the relationship with (other) music I've had over the past six weeks. Tons of great records have been released, and some of them I haven't even bothered to listen to. I've partially listened to a handful, turning them off after four or five songs because I'm bored, or to put on "Shaker Hymns" or "Vessel." I've listened to three new records all the way through (DCFC, Sufjan Stevens, and Lower Dens, and only the latter two have I listened to more than once.) I've basically lost interest in all new music. (I do recall, however, listening to Jeff Buckley a bit...)

When I'm binging on a band or an album, it's really, really difficult to listen to my old music. It's really difficult to not just press play on that one artist and ignore all the others. I mean, it's practically a chore to listen to songs I really do love. And I've forgotten about so many of them too. It's kind of like when you run into someone you know and you really don't want to talk to him or her but you end up chatting and it's awkward. But you forget that you really love "The Woodpile" or "Terrible Love" or "Tables and Chairs" (oh, don't get me started on Andrew Bird.) You kind of even forget these songs exist. I accidentally pressed play on "Acts of Man" when I scrolling for "Alarms in the Heart" and was like, "oh, yeah, this song, right, it's...been awhile, hasn't it?" I listened to it, sure, but it just didn't give me the excitement it used to. How sad is that? I mean, "Acts of Man." Y'all know how much I fucking love that song, and what it means (meant?) to me.

Eventually I'll burn out on DtR, or I'll find a new band to obsess over, and I'll go back to listening to "Old Old Fashioned" and "Cold Day From the Birdhouse" and the like, and I'll probably never want to hear "The Chambers and the Valves" ever again. It's what I do. Binge and purge music. Even if I stop listening to you completely, there's a good chance I will see you when you announce your NYC-area show. In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw a band while I was in the midst of actually listening to them. My latest trend in concert-going is to know and like a few of your songs and decide, hey, why not, let's go see them. I guess going to see a band and then buying their music is not the correct way to do things?

And I know this is not the normal way people listen to music. Of course, I do know that people do tend to listen to songs over and over and over again and play them out and never think about them again. I also know that there are many people out there who don't listen to albums, and don't really have bands or artists they can refer to as their "favorites." And of course, there are even more people who just do not buy any music anymore. But when you listen to so much music, and especially now that so much is available to you at anytime on Spotify or YouTube, it is really so easy to forget about bands and songs. I swear, if I went to look through my vinyl collection, I'd probably be really surprised I own records by Caveman and The Morning Benders. I'd suspect that a lot of people stick to their favorite artists and don't exactly branch out to find new ones. I also suspect a lot of people don't binge on music. Am I wrong here? But I'm pretty certain that most people don't care enough about the songs they used to love to ever go back to them. I mean, for cryin' out loud, taking songs off of my iPod is a huge to-do because who knows when I'll want to listen to "Testament to Youth in Verse?" If I take it off, will I ever remember it existed in the first place? What does it matter? I'll just find a new song/band to listen to anyway.

And maybe that's how I should think about it. So what if I don't want to listen to We Were Promised Jetpacks anymore? Who cares? Does it really matter? Music, I guess, is fluid. You're not always going to want to listen to the same bands or songs. God knows I don't want to listen to Hanson anymore (what, I was like 10 years old!)

But imagine how boring life would be if we just listened to the same songs over and over again.

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