Friday 6 July 2012

Habits : Rediscovery

In a previous post, I mentioned how I tend to alter between listening to the radio and listening to my iPod, because I start to get anxious about either neglecting a collection of music I already own (and much of which I might not have heard of), or about missing out on something new. One thing that both options can offer me though, is rediscovery.

Generally, if I'm listening to the radio during the day, then I am listening to BBC's Radio 1. In terms of musical variety, the daytime shows admittedly don't offer very much; focusing primarily on what is currently considered to be a chart hit, or is expected to be successful. I am not bothered by this at all because I do enjoy a lot of accessible, mainstream music. However, some of the evening and late-night shows are less to my taste. If I happen to be driving at night, listening to the radio, and Radio 1 isn't providing me with something I like, then I'll usually switch to one of two local radio stations.

Both stations play a broader mix of music. Not so much in terms of genre, but in age. Although peppered with advertising between songs (and this is the main reason I don't generally listen to it), local radio can provide me with music from the last four or five decades.

Occasionally... very occasionally... I'll be listening to the radio and a song will begin to play that I haven't heard for a very long time. A forgotten song. And not just any forgotten song, but a song that I my have once loved. Pretty quickly I will spot that the introduction is familiar, and then I'll turn up the volume and suddenly find myself rediscovering the tune again.

For me, it can be quite a profound feeling. It's like finding a letter from long ago and, as you read through it, you begin to remember parts of it even though the details had left your memory. It's like getting a whole wave of nostalgia rush past... no specifics, no great moments from time picked out. Just a few minutes where the memory of the song is reignited again. I love that feeling.

It doesn't exclusively happen when I'm listening to radio either. If I scroll through the music I own in iTunes, there's plenty in there that I haven't yet listened to. They may be songs on a compilation album, or I may have just forgotten that I even own them at all. Regardless, shuffling through them can sometimes bring up one of those little gems.

Usually, once I've rediscovered a song, it'll then be played incessantly for some time (repeat is my friend, remember?). Then I guess time will pass. My love-affair with the song will burn out. Perhaps, a year or two later, it'll suddenly pop up once again, and we'll rekindle our affections.

All this means is that I'm pretty much feeling pulled between three musical options:

  1. Stick with my familiar and comfortable musical partners, and remain content with what they give me.
  2. Go out looking for a hot new fling: some new song that I've yet to hear, but can soon embrace.
  3. Suddenly come across an old-flame - that song I once loved - and continue where I left off.

I flick through all of these options week by week. The only conclusion I can come to is that I must be some kind of manwhore for music, but also very lucky in that option #1 always takes me back.

DISCLAIMER: My musical habits do not mirror my relationship habits :)

"Music washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life" - Berthold Auerbach

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