Where and How?

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Where and how do you listen to music? Silly question? Or important element of if/how we enjoy music? I’ll try not too bang on too much about having kids or not having a tv cause you’ve heard it all before … BUT ….

2 years ago I listened to music on my home system first thing in the morning till I went to or started work (at home). I used to drive long distances for work. This was 50% music time 50% podcast time. Evenings were then editing photos / webbing next to Stacey while listening to music. Basically, loads of time to listen to new things. When I was working at home I listened to instrumental or foreign language tunes as lyrics distract me massively. Hip hop being the worst culprit in the distraction stakes, lyrically and skit related.

Now I have a child, a TV and a new job with less long distance driving, much less. This means I have to fight to have music in the morning vs. Igglepiggle and Makapaka searching for the pinky ponk. I still struggle to listen to vocal music when I work and evenings are often catching up with work of flaking out in front of the TV.

My point is that this change has had a big impact on my music listening. Most of my car journeys are about 20-30 minutes long. This takes away my main showcase for listening to whole albums in one go, a real luxury these days. Trying to keep a calm relaxing environment at home means that child-unfriendly hip hop has almost disappeared completely. My main stay is instrumental or ‘vocals low in the mix’ (which admittedly represents about 80% of my CD collection) music which I can listen to while I work.

I have found myself making similar critical comments across the board on this blog and think the above is largely responsible. The Issues i have with First Serve can be largely explained by the issues above. When will I listen to it? When will I choose to hear 2 grown men pretending to be teenagers in the basement while ‘sweary mamma’ curses them? The tracks I would normally listen to in the car or perhaps while exercising.

I was in London for a wedding at the weekend. I have 5 albums that I always listen to on headphones while walking around London. This is not planned, its always the same 5!

My environment/lifestyle has a huge impact on my listening / critique of music. Does yours?

3 comments

  1. David Allison

    Bloody great. Exactly what this blog is all about, Brother Joey!It’s an interesting part of getting older. What I notice is that I don’t seem to know the lyrics to stuff I like as well as I used to when I was younger – but that’s because I used to read the lyrics on the album cover religiously while listening carefully to an album over and over. Now I’m listening while working, childcaring or travelling.Thank god for ipods/phones and headphones. Still a chance to savour something properly. I didn’t get the Twin Shadow album until I listened to it in London walking around and getting on the Tube. Me, I listen in the car (a bit), while working (sometimes -not writing scripts, but other stuff like planning, structuring, admin – but even then it needs to be music that’s not too intrusive) and I have 6Music on at breakfast with the kids and in the evening sometimes. That’s about it. So many fewer opportunities.Despite that, I’m so glad that getting older hasn’t diminished my love affair with music. If anything, it’s grown even stronger. Surprised by how many friends have given up or thrown the towel in, but then maybe many of those weren’t quite as dweeby about music as I was in the first place.In short, if you’re the kind of person who needs to hear new (and old) music in your life, you’ll find a way to keep making the soundtrack.

  2. misterstory

    Agreed Brother David. I will always find time but as this time is reduced i need to increase my quality control and things that I would hace given an extended chance a few years ago now get relegated pretty quickly. Interestingly though I find re-discovering these albums a real bonus a few months later when my head is in a different space. As for not knowing the words to tracks (or for me the title of albums let alone individual songs!) as well as when you were a kid, I too have noted this and have a theory. I started buying (or asking for them as presents) albums when I was 8. This was a rare occurence as my income was limited! When washing cars etc allowed I would buy a new album. Occasionally I would be given or donated an album. Xmas and Birthday produced a relatively bumper crop … but … the number of albums I had was tiny compared to what I have / buy now. They were precious. They owned you, not the other way round. You had intimate relationships with each one. Lyrics printed so small that in order to read them you inhaled the very scent of the cover! Thats enjoying music! I think kids are spoiled (good god listen to me) these days with the volume of music that they can hear / own / steal for relatively small amounts of money (or free). They hear a Pixies track, go on Spotify and put every Pixies track on a playlist … and then … then! They fucking press fucking shuffle! Aggggghhhhhh!! I had to hunt Pixies tracks down like wild truffles!I am going for a walk. Im upset.

  3. Guy Hornsby

    I hear you brothers. Sorry for the lateness of the reply, but I’m snowed at the moment and trying to limit internetz time at work, then invariably forget when I’m home. It’s not dissimilar for me. I’ve listened to music ever since I can remember busting my dad’s massive Kenwood cans when i was about 4. Records were always on, or the radio, then when I was at (boarding) school the Walkman saved me. At that age I’d devour lyrics, albums, everything. What’s changed now? Well, for one I have a fairly hardcore day job, which means between 8.30 and 6 I rarely get any music at all. If I do, it’s got to be lyric-free or very well known so I can wash it over me, or it’ll distract me. As it’s been said, sadly, this precludes hip-hop nearly all of the time. I love it, but I just can’t listen to lyrics and also type words. This also goes for trips to/from the office, where I’ll often read as I wander/travel, so again I often let stuff play half in the background. When I’m home, I’ll often be working on music, either making it, listening to it for reviewing stuff, or just playing through promos. So that’s electronic music that dominates my home listening, so I get only 20% or so of the time for other stuff. And even then I listen to a lot of podcasts, (RA, LWE, Louche, plus spoken word stuff like The Bugle, RA Exchange etc). So even of that 20% it’s limited. Sadly, my capacity for new music and getting into an album is greatly reduced. I get round this by often submerging myself in a new one when I get it. I listened to Hot Chip’s new one about 20 times in a week, and new stuff like this very Brothers Collective, everything gets at least a few listens early on. Even if I don’t like it, it tends to disappear. Radio does impinge a bit, mostly 6Music in the mornings, and sometimes at weekends, but also 5live for the inevitable sport, but even then I don’t listen to a lot of stuff I’d love to, like jarvis, Guy Garvey, or the like. There’s just not enough TIME. So, it never feels that free. Just me trying to cram in as much as I can. So I don’t get to listen to too much new stuff. And my existing collection is so vast things often get dropped by the wayside. I do try and dig through and go back to old stuff more now, but I know I’ll never be like I was in the 90s and 00s, and that’s a sad state of affairs. I also don’t pick up track names and lyrics nearly as much. That’s the result of not seeing track names when you’re listening. Blame that on mp3 players.

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