I like repetition. I often eat the same foods for many days and weeks in a row. Venturing outside of a pre-determined list of nutrition is not my style. I love having a constant, similar daily/weekly schedule. If I had my druthers my schedule would be exactly the same, all the time. Although, I welcome the inevitable sporadic changes in plans (usually not without my own OCD-backed bout of anger)–variation is necessary to avoid complacency and to stimulate creativity and change. I’ve fallen in love with music of the minimalism neck of the woods in the past years, and there is variation within repetition in that style of music.
However, those pseudo-definitely-OCD-traits and idiosyncrasies of mine do not dictate how I consume music, even though I consume music in such a similar way.
I am not the best go-to guy to talk about new popular music. I can maybe hang on a little bit in a conversation, often having accidentally heard new artists and songs, maybe at a coffee shop or my roommates introducing me to such music. I am only slightly better, and more intrigued, to discover new contemporary non-popular music.
(That is, mostly new classical, jazz, and that weird hybrid mixed with folk and singer-songwriter. But having genre proper nouns is always another hefty ambiguous, maybe pointless, conversation.)
Instead, I listen to music I like, be it older or brand new, multiple times over. Punch Brothers’ “Blind Leaving the Blind” has probably 1,000 plays, and will continue to have many more. Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” has too. Same for music and new compositions by Gabriel Kahane, Missy Mazzoli, Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright”, Sarah K. Snider’s “Unremembered”, Coldplay’s “Sky Full of Stars” and that list goes on for a while.
Some of that music is very new. There are others that are quite old. Put Mahler’s 1st symphony on and I might click “Repeat 1.”
As a result, when someone asks me what I think of “Fetty Wap” or “Alt J” I don’t know if there asking my opinion on a new colloquialism or urban dictionary reference. And I’m not against discovering new artists. I really want to discover them. I want to discover new music, art, literature, tv shows, and movies, because I’m certain I will retain something positive from everything, even if it only shows itself to be of the importance of a grain of sand. I mean, I am trying to build a giant sand castle after all…every little bit helps.
I haven’t seen any of the blockbuster hits of tv shows or movies over the past few years. Name it, and I haven’t seen it. And I’m not going to see them. Why? Music just takes such a priority for me, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Game of Thrones (or literally anything else made in the past 8ish years) genuinely does not seem interesting enough to me to take time to watch it, when I will inherently tell myself that that time could have been better used for something musical. That’s always been me, and that’s not changing anytime soon.
Why all of this locked-in-the-closet-with-headphones mentality?
Simply put, I am just too in love with the things that hit me as “beautiful.” Things that are beautiful merit attention to detail, and hours of listening and learning, questioning and deciphering, tearing apart and rebuilding, admiring and consuming.
I will always find something new in things I think are beautiful, that I did not notice prior, and that for me is so enticing, inspiring, and educational. That is why I listen to music I think is beautiful, zillions of times. Ergo, that is why I can’t often relate to music and art within the news headlines. That is why I’ll go back to the same sections of an art museum. That’s why if I’m dating someone (so I think they’re a beautiful person) I probably want to be around them all the time. Things that are beautiful, of and for me, beckon constant consideration.
Some folk learn a vast set of creative skills by listening to lots of different types of music, by different musicians, all the time. One of my roommates listens to soooo many new artists. His advantage is seeing a large overview of trends of what does and does not “work”, having that many more opportunities to be inspired by different sounds and statements, ultimately making his pockets fatter and wider with tools.
I like to think my advantage is that I achieve the same results, just instead from meticulous analysis. So…there’s no advantage. (Because there’s no right way to consume art!) But that’s for everything I repetitively consume–Coldplay’s “Sky Full of Stars,” I pick apart from every aspect: emotional effect, contour, reasoning, simplicity, etc.
If I’ve ever gone to a buffet restaurant, I get one plate of whatever foods I want. Round 2? More or less the exact same foods. After that? Maybe I vary it with dessert. If I’m still hungry? That exact same desserts.
…I don’t really go to buffet restaurants, or haven’t in a while, but you get the point.
…ok that was a terrible example.
There is no right way to consume music. Obvi.
I’d like to know, how do you consume music, and why? Do you ascribe any importance to how you consume music (or art, literature, or any artistic medium…), or is that not even a question you decide to think about?